Normally I’m not a city person. I come in by necessity, and then I’m out as soon as possible to seek the peace, quite and beauty of the natural realm and to escape the noise pollution and overcrowding of the manmade one. But they have a saying in
But as nice as the people in Davao are, I get tired of the hardware district where I’m staying, which smells of dried fish oddly enough, and I’m ready to check out the famous surfing island of Siargao, which lies to the north of Mindanao. So I catch an early morning jeepney to the bus terminal, and hop on a bus headed for Surigao, the so-called gateway to
As I’m suffering I take in all sights of
It’s beautiful country, green and lush. Everywhere there’s fields of rice, bananas, corn, pineapples, fruit trees. It’s all easy to grow, although the work can be hard for sure, especially in the rice fields. To be sure there are poor people everywhere I go in this country, but in the countryside, it seems like it’s easier, happier even. There the people are laid-back, relaxing, smiling. Whenever we pass through a small town, everyone’s hustling to sell something; a ride, bottled water, peanuts, pork rinds, roasted corn, cell phone minutes, fruit juice, dried bananas…anything. And so, without wanting to, I end up pitying the people in the city and identifying with the people in the country. Perhaps I do the same thing at home?
It’s a long, long dusty ride, but I enjoy watching the countryside go by and the different people who get on and off of the bus, endlessly. We pass through some striking scenery, some still forested mountains, a huge lake. There’s not enough passengers going to Surigao so I have to get off in a smaller town about two hours away, and a man from the bus pays my fare in a small van to my destination. We reach the terminal there and I jump on the back of a jeepney to ride through the dusty and noisy streets of Surigao, which seems to be full, overflowing, with tricycles. I’m too tired and dirty to wander around looking for a good, cheap hotel, so I settle for a good one, overextend my budget a little ($22 per night), take a heavenly hot shower and wander back outside. I skip straight past the hotel restaurant and find a road-side food stand, where I eat rice and longaniza (spicy sausage) for a dollar, then wander over to the boulevard, which runs along the northern coast. I wander around, turn down a few offers for karaoke, drink a few san miguels as I gaze longingly off into the distance, where I know my island destination lies. I stumble back to my room, and easily doze off, dreaming of perfect waves….cloud nine.