My recent trip to Dumaguete taught me all about patience and friendships.
I was supposed to go through Tagbilaran that day because I have to get swatches and sample baskets for our meeting in Dumaguete. But when I arrived Tagbilaran and ready to purchase a ticket for Dumaguete, they were not issuing any because the port there was closed due to some labor problems and a riot just ended that day. Whew!
My bosses from Manila and DTI were calling me frequently to push me to do jump to that city and bring my designs and props intact. So I hitched the earliest float back to Cebu and took the long and rigorous three-hour trip to Liloan, Santander and a 15-minute boat ride to Sibulan, Negros Oriental and a 10-minute ride to the city proper! What a trip, indeed.
But all my worries were gone when I arrived the city of gentle people. I was treated like a VIP the moment I arrived at Sibulan pier. My hosts from the Negros Oriental Investment Promotion Center (Tetsi and Cindy) and DTI (Ms Bing) made sure I felt at home in this beautiful place.
I stayed at HCPPI (hwatever that means I didn't ask), a big convention facility where rooms were unbelievably cool and easy to the budget. My room, a dormitory type that could accommodate 8 people was air conditioned and very clean. Even the comfort room is tactfully clean and well-stocked (shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, soap, tissue). And for only P350 a night. Cindy from NOIPC made sure I was alone in that room. I was tempted to find someone to stay with me but conscience told me not to.
I met several people there and made instant friendships. Being a drinker gave me an advantage to meet people, a positive note on drinking hahaha. One cute guy we met told us he was a PBB candidate belonging to the top 8. Whatever that meant, he must be enjoying the limelight. He asked for my number so I could show him around Cebu when he gets there for a taping with Channel 23. A Janina-wannabe also basked the attention from us. She would be on the spotlight during the Ms. Teen Philippines in Dumaguete. Charlie, an online friend, made sure I was comfortable in his motorbike and show me the city at night, from the Boulevard to Mahayahay and made sure my beer was icy-cold at Happy Fred's. And these friends made sure I bloated in fullness. When they see me they would always ask if I have eaten and offer lots of food I could no longer take.
When I bid farewells, they also fed me to the brim. Ms Nanet insisted that I ate because I am supposed to be traveling.
What a warm and hospitable people they were! I was wondering why there has to be a riot at their port when these people in fact were gentle people.