Going Home: Seven Years After

I just realised that it’s been seven long years since I last went home. Yeah, I’m going to spend the weekend in the countryside with my family and close relations. I’m boarding Cebu Pacific Flight 5J 457 bound for Iloilo.  And it’s Good Friday.  I had a hard time getting a cab to Terminal 3. On my way to the airport, one thing significant is that there weren’t much traffic. Well, thanks to less cars! I arrived at the airport about two hours before my flight. Nonetheless, I checked in my baggage for less hassle. Waiting for about an hour and half until the boarding time wasn’t that really boring. Thanks to the free wi-fi.

It was a pretty smooth flight, save for a few  little bumps.  Looking out through the window, a sea of clouds scattered around. An hour and five minutes later, the plane landed at the Iloilo International Airport located in Cabatuan, Iloilo, approximately 19 kilometers from the city proper.

Getting off the plane, I proceeded to the departure area, waited for my baggage and headed outside to get a ride to the city proper.  It was almost 6pm.   Since it’s a holiday, and Good Friday at that, there weren’t any shuttle vans (where you can reach the city proper for Php70.00), save for the cabs which charges exorbitant fees. A guy came up to me offering me to take a cab for Php600.00! I think that was too pricey.  Looking at some options, I waited for a little more than half an hour. Then I met a woman probably in her 60’s. Her name’s Mrs. Fajardo. She accompanied me to one of the information desks for Light of Glory cab company. She was able to get me a cab to take me to a bus terminal in the city for a pretty reasonable price of Php350.00. We were assisted by Tyra who works for the cab company. She was really heaven sent. I can’t thank her enough!

On the way to the city, we passed by a procession of the Catholic devotees. According to the cab driver, the place is called Pavia. Reaching the city, SM City Iloilo and practically almost all business establishments were closed.  The cab took me to the bus terminal for Antique bound buses. Unfortunately, at a little past 7pm, there were no more available trips to San Jose. As it was already dark, I had no other option but to stay in Iloilo for the night.  I called my friend Jeannith where I can stay for the night. I was able to get a room at Eros Traveller’s Pensione (that’s across St. Paul hospital). And they have reasonable room rates.

Tired and hungry, I asked the staff if there’s any available fastfood that’s open. Thank God Chowking was open. I had my usual food – chicken supreme lauriat and nai cha. The streets were so barren as there were barely cars. The evening air brings a little chilly breeze, despite that it’s already summer.  Walking back to the inn, I was thinking if I’ll go on a night run since there weren’t much vehicles.  When I got to my room, I was supposed to just get a much needed nap, then change into my running gear.  But the moment my back touched the bed, I immediately dozed off. It was already 3 in the morning when I woke up. I got myself ready and took a cab to the bus terminal.

It was a two hour travel to San Jose. Well, I wouldn’t know I was already in San Jose terminal if the bus conductor didn’t inform me.  I could have gone far north. He helped me with my bags and hailed a trike that will take me to the jeep station going to the town proper. It was a Saturday and there were less passengers. So, I waited for about half an hour until the jeep was ready to leave.

Although the town looks very familiar, except for the new buildings, businesses, and roads that were built and for some that have been taken down, not having gone home for seven years still made me feel like a total stranger. I rode a tricycle to take me to the house, which was fairly three kilometers from the town. I can see the rice fields all green and golden brown. Some were ready to be harvested. The sun shining bright brought some warmth on the Saturday morning. The air was fresh. The rustic environment was enough to bring back the nostalgia of my childhood, and growing up in the countryside. Sad and happy memories started rushing through  my mind.  What if I had not dropped out of college and left? What could have been my life then, and what could it be now? Too many questions. But no answer came up.

Getting off the trike, I know that I’m finally back home. Seven years after.


8 Responses to Going Home: Seven Years After

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