First Visit to Barugo, Leyte

Everyone has places they’ve never been to; travelers are not excluded. There’s always that one place where you say, “This is my first time here.” I had that kinda moment today, in a place called Barugo.

I woke up to the sound of a voice calling my name. It was Ate Lyn, informing me that I have a phone call. While I was hesitant to get up, I couldn’t really ignore it. I got up reluctantly, answering as polite as I always do, regardless of my mood. It was Daphne, telling me to rise and shine. She gave me more details about the fiesta over at our friend Gillian’s house. She also reminded me that we had to rendezvous at McDo at around 10am. But seeing as though we’re Filipinos, Filipino time was unconsciously practiced.

JJ and I arrived at McDo just a few minutes after Daphne. Add in a few more minutes and Kevin showed up, completing the group. The other two: Jessa and Jea, were nowhere to be seen. They were supposed to meet up with us at McDo, but they found it more convenient to wait where they were, at that time. Jessa was already at Tacloban’s New Bus Terminal, where we would have to look for a bus that would take us to Barugo. Jea, on the other hand, took the liberty to wait near her house at Apitong, as the bus would just stop by where she were, provided we inform the bus driver.

The terminal was scorching hot. And all the people gathering did not help. We saw Jessa standing under the shade, evading the heat rays. We did well to follow her. Kevin and I bought bottled water for refreshments. I made sure to check-in at foursquare, but Kevin had already done it before we even saw Jessa. I am such a check-in freak.

We spotted a Carigara/Barugo bus a few seconds after it started its engine. We were lucky to have caught it before it left. We made sure to inform the bus driver about Jea.

The bus was huge and old-looking. Kevin noticed Korean writing, which hinted its Korean origins. All seats were occupied. Jessa was lucky to acquire the front seat. Jessa has a way with old people. Daphne barely got a seat in between two seats. JJ got a seat near the exit, occupying it until Jea arrived. Kevin and I were left standing near the exit, holding onto a bar of some sort. I was lucky to have a bended metal bar at my back, providing me with a painful but slightly comfortable chair. Jea was happily waiting near her place, calling my name after she hopped in and sat. The trip took more or less an hour. My butt had to endure the pain until I was able to sit. I thanked the passenger silently for getting off and giving me ample time to let my butt recover. Before we knew it, we were already at Gillian’s. We have reached Barugo, where rumors of a drink called Tuba is supposedly famous. In our excitement, we almost forgot Jessa, who was the Queen of the World, sitting conveniently at front. We couldn’t help but laugh and tell her she didn’t have to hop off. She kept giggling for minutes.

We arrived at this beautiful house along the road with white tables readied for guests. The people were staring at us, wondering if we were lost. We kinda felt that we were. Gillian was nowhere in sight. Only her presence could confirm that we were at the right place. Luckily, the people were very accommodating, letting us in. That’s when we saw Gillian. Her reason: “I was at the toilet”. Oh.

Not a minute was wasted as we were urged to start eating. It is a celebration of a Fiesta after all. We filled our plates and positioned ourselves in front of the T.V. We started eating as soon as we got a seat.

We did a little catching up as we don’t get to see each other that often anymore. Non-stop laughing, picture-taking, reminiscing, and even dancing took place. Daphne was so random. She started dancing and singing to those Mexican songs that Gil’s relatives were so in to. We were amazed at her knowledge of the songs. She claimed that those songs were her lullaby songs. It was so fun that we didn’t notice how many hours passed. Gil wanted to show us around, waiting for the weather to cool down. Well, it didn’t. We headed out anyways.

Barugo is very beautiful. The lush greenery stretched to the horizon. Pollution was very minimum. The air was very refreshing. It is an ideal place to settle down. I can’t believe I just visited it now. I missed out on a lot of things. We passed by a bridge with “H” as its name. I forgot. Below was a river that housed a skeletal framework of a boat. It’s not everyday I get to see something like that.

Next was an old church situated near Barugo Elementary School. Inside was a magnificent architecture – a hidden gem. The altar was so beautiful. The colored glass windows illuminated the interior. We offered our prayers wholeheartedly. We gazed one last time before leaving.

As we made our way to the bus stop, a group of drivers kept saying, “No more buses”. Our only option was to head over to Carigara then ride a van to Tacloban. We rode a slightly different tricycle, able to accommodate 12 people, or so they say. I got the seat at the back of the driver. Bad choice. While the others were busy talking, I was busy trying to stay on the seat. A few more bumps in the road and I would have fell. Seriously. But my friends kept me laughing all the way.

We hopped off at Carigara’s Public Flea Market where a van fetched us. On the way home, there was this couple who stood out. The woman kept shouting, letting out her rage. She cried while doing so. Apparently, they had a fight or something. What happened next changed my perception. The woman started singing randomly. Afterwards, she suddenly wanted smooching with her man. A lot. Talk about PDA. Then, she reverted back to her angry state, sharing her colorful vocabulary of bad words. A feeling of relief filled the atmosphere as they hopped off.

Kevin and Jessa’s stop was at Palo Cathedral. Jea, JJ, and Daphne hopped off at Robinsons Place Mall. I went straight home as I was tired. I rested on my bed as I relived the day in my mind.

Being at a place for the first time may be hard, but with good friends, one can never feel lost. I want to have more of these moments in the future. Until then.

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