there are days when your trust in the goodness of man is put to the test. i had one of those interesting days a couple of weeks ago when two of my friends and i visited siquijor. A and R were my girls in grad school in germany, as we were the only filipinos in the program. since i was relatively older (let’s just say they were still in grade school when we were starting college), i became their default kuya/bodyguard/caretaker/part-time cook. they called (and still call) me papi/papili. well, enough of that.
it was the first time in years that we were travelling out of town. and probably the last in a long, long time since R is leaving for london to pursue her second masters (A and I already have those, thank you very much, and are no longer foolishly young to pursue a third). i digress again. so we made it a point to go out of town for this trip, and i had the bright idea to go to siquijor, since a friend had gone there before and she said it was a very nice place. also, i have this weird interest in the occult so that sounded like a perfect place to go (the alternative was, of course, capiz).
so on the first of our three days there, right after we got onto the pier, we were met enthusiastically by this young tricycle driver named I. he was first in line (among the tricycles lining the pier) so he had first dibs on us for negotiation. we haggled and haggled until we agreed for a “pakyaw” (wholesale) tranport service that would include round-trip transfer to our hotel, a one-day around-the-island tour, and an option to go to the hills/mountains inland for a 360-degree view of the island and the surrounding islets (for an small additional fee on top of the agreed price). we were hesitant about going to the highlands given the island’s reputation for pambabarang (witchcraft) but he had us hooked on a spell when he said the magic words: perfect for taking pictures of a beautiful sunset.(and you know how crazy pinoys are with taking pictures, especially on vacation trips.)
we were winding up the day tour of the island’s beautiful beaches and churches when we decided, what the heck, let’s go to the viewing point and enjoy the sunset from there. we left the beaches around 4pm so we can catch the sunset at 5 and be safely back in our resort at 6. or so that was the plan. however, we didn’t realize that the journey in our rickety tricyle will take far longer than expected, and that when he said, into the forest, he really meant into the woods (let’s just say, think tropical forest, where you can literally feel the temperature drop at least 5 degrees when you enter). and then it started to rain…