Sachi was such a great host. She rarely comes home. So she was sincerely excited to explore her hometown, visit relatives, and talk Mandaya—their own dialect that has a trace of Bisaya but not quite. The word most vivid in my head is “ampan.”
Sachi’s old house was uprooted, wrecked with hundreds of houses and trees during Pablo. I witnessed how she almost did a karoshi (I’m just exaggerating) to amass funding for the building of their new nest. She is your perfect daughter. And I play the demonic ate at work.
Cateel River is rather long, wide, and alive. Some fishermen were net-fishing. We were on our way to Tina, when we spotted this atong (dodong in Cebuano) across the river. It is his job to ferry locals living across for five pesos a person. It has been a while since Sachi rode one, while I just had one the day. So we had an instant river cruising.
The walking umbrellas amused me. I was talking with Nong Orpheus (Sachi’s father, the one holding his grandson) when these umbrellas passed by. The fence used to be the house’s roof. But it was too Pabloed for a roof.
We went to Santa Fe, the closest sea from their new place. These kids found the water delightful. They sometimes chased small fish. Sachi found the heat intolerable, so she walked around with a hood in a freakingly hot day. We found two men net-fishing, and Sachi shouted if they could get us some fresh “lato” (a type of edible seaweed.) A man resurfaced with a handful of “lato!” We had it for lunch.
While Sachi had her nails done by the bakery, I walked around looking for ice cream and banana cake. I saw this kid outside a beautiful pastel house. He seemed crying. On my way back, he was still there with his head down.
It has been seven months already since Pablo wrecked Cateel and the neighboring towns. But its terror could still be seen and felt here and there. This house is by the park, still far from completion.
This boy was just somewhat goofing around inside the church. The priest performed a religious ceremony for a funeral. During the “Amahan Namo,” a song that requires one to hold hand with the other churchgoers or to have one’s hand heavenward, this boy straightened up.
I love how this vine drooped on the window. It looked like a natural curtain.
So I asked Sachi to take some frames of me here. Before I knew it, she directed my posture, my smile. Haha! I recently wore correctional braces, so my smile usually came off. I love this! Despite my duck face!
This sight is common in most parts of Mindanao. During my Surigao del Sur’s trip, the habal-habal driver said that these trees called falcata were actually farmed and harvested. But it is still heartbreaking to see a lot of trees like that: dead.
One of the farmers we met at the roadside. We were riding motorized (Cateel’s word for tricycle), when we saw farmers harvesting rice one dying afternoon. They actually loved posing in front of the cameras. But I wanted candid ones! Haha! Sachi tinkering my phone, waiting for me to finish my shutter craziness. The rice we eat looks like this. Beautiful.