IT'S ALWAYS THE UNPLEASANT STICKY FEELING on the skin that reminds me I'm home. The stickiness, which I suppose is a mixture of sea moisture and air, is augmented by dust and smoke from jeepneys waiting at the pier. The ferry has just docked in Odiongan a couple of hours before the break of dawn, an ungodly hour when everyone in the island, except those people at the wharf, is asleep. In this sleepy town, the monotony of the night is occasionally broken by the ship's signal - whistling, wailing, howling - as it makes its way to the docking area.
While I enjoy the respite that Looc provides from the churning pace of Manila, I always hate all the inconveniences associated with traveling to this town. The constant threat of waves, the danger of ferry travel, and the long ship ride make getting here almost a nightmare.
|My favorite merienda.|
The sun peeks in the mountains. We are about to reach our destination. I check the time - it's 30 minutes past 6 in the morning. I welcome the cold breeze as it hits my face rather forcefully. Outside, we pass by electric-green rice fields and carabaos pulling wooden carts. In the distance, there is smoke emanating from a small hut, possibly breakfast is being prepared. The thought of freshly cooked fish and smoking hot rice makes my stomach grumble. Few minutes later, the jeepney turns left ready to roll up the slope into a much narrower road. Fishermen on their way home from the sea turn to gawk as we pass. I collect a few curious stares as I rub my face vigorously with a handkerchief to remove the stickiness and the dust off my face.
I smile. It's great to be finally home again.