What a week! For the first time in my life, I traveled by (Cebu Pacific, about 4:30 PM) air. But of course, I was not alone; I went with my kin and church mates. Although I had no earlier apprehension whatsoever, the reality of possible mechanical trouble hit me as the stewardesses demonstrated the how-to’s of using the life jacket and the oxygen masks. I had a momentary bout of terror as I looked out the window and saw that we already soared above the first cloud layers, the landmarks still clearly visible below.
But all’s well that ends well. Besides the initial panic and the pain in the ear and headache as the plane soared and dipped, the ride was comparative to riding the rollercoaster as the plane rose, tilted and dipped. It was an hour-long trip, and the second 30-minutes was smooth as silk. My seatmate, Dinky, who initially was seated by the window (we exchanged seats halfway through) clicked away with Coni’s camera, capturing images from the plane’s window.
As the plane approached Puerto Princesa, and as I saw the roofs of houses on the city, I felt exhilaration upon the thought that Ruthie was just a few moments away.
Touchdown: through the plane window, I scrutinized the Lounge door in the distance, trying to figure out whether Ruthie was gazing at us. I later learned that the Lounge is inaccessible to non-passengers. Then, as passengers alighted, we remained in our seats (to let all others rush out) and watched Doc Nanding, Ate, Bethel and Feric walk away from the plane while we remained seated. Ah, wait some more, Yute.
The place is a far call from the high tech NAIA terminal. We walked to the arrival area where we were supposed to wait for our luggage. I already caught a glimpse of Brenda outside the arrival area across the street carrying Marc. And saw Ruthie standing beside her. I waved, they saw me and Brenda waved back. I walked towards the far end of the area and they were a road-width away from me. We waved and waved to Ruthie, but the bashful kid just looked, ahh. Ate Belinda and Bethel exited immediately and hugged them while we remained for our bulk of belongings; we brought medical supplies and Aerol’s large Yamaha Keyboard for the Medical Mission and upcoming Concert at the church.
As we walked to where our van was waiting, I scooped Ruthie immediately and hugged and kissed her. I realized that she is really oh, so far away from her previous home, our home. But of course, Marc the baby bro is something else. He had grown fast and moves as quickly as boys his age.
Night had come unnoticed and we ate at a quaint Tree House-inspired resto. Of course, Ruthie ate beside Bethel & me. She was getting used to us, and started responding to our presence. Even showed her new wristwatch her mother bought for her. Ah, what joy this reunion bestowed upon me. Thank God I finally made it here. I’m sure we all felt the same.
We had a long land travel ahead of us, so we did not linger any longer. We travelled fast on the rugged roads of the land; and marveled at the strength and speed of our van. Often, we heard large rocks collide beneath us. But the driver seemed unperturbed and looked like a very seasoned chauffeur, so we all relaxed and enjoyed the ride. Of course, we prayed now and then. God delivered us. But we missed the terrain to the darkness of the night.
I got Ruthie on my lap, we bonded long enough until she fell asleep like Marc. Halfway through the journey, I had to give her to Ate Belinda as I grew very uncomfortable because I have been sitting on a fold-out seat with a low back support near the door. (The two kids have fallen asleep and never woke up until the next morning.)
To while away the time and length of journey, my young companions Dinky & JM counted the bridges as we passed by them. Counting only the bridges with (ton) capacity signage, we counted 60 of them, at the same time comparing one with the other as to the build, the design, and whatever else is peculiar with each.
We dropped seven of our companions to Sharon’s (Pastor Jezer’s sister) rented resort rooms about 100 meters away from where we will be staying-at Pastor Jezer’s house. It was a long journey but we managed to chat the night away till about 11 PM. After, a while I decided to take a shower. As I finished bathing, I learned that everyone had tucked themselves to sleep. So I did the same. Finding the very comfortable rattan sofa bed unoccupied, with kumot and unan (beddings) available, I stretched out, whispered a prayer and dozed off. Thank God. 🙂
For the complete set of pics at Multiply: Click Here.
(All photos courtesy of Bethel Faye)