Wednesday, May 11, 2005

this is the FUSS time i'm gonna say i love you

It was an episode straight from Survivor, sans the bickering and psycho-emotional torture. The location was picturesque Quezon Island, one of the most frequented islands among the one hundred dotting the seas of Pangasinan.

Since it had Spartan amenities, we were forced to eat our dinner—de-boned milkfish and eggplant (grilled to mouth-watering perfection by RR, Lawrence, and Lester) squid adobo, steamed shrimps, rice, and mangoes—under the dying light of a kerosene lamp. After which, we washed our soiled hands with nothing but brine and sand.

Because of dark, waterless bathrooms that stunk to high heavens, the women did their peeing in the sea. Gail even had the luxury of having spotlights trained on her while she was peeing—one from JP’s flashlight and the other from some bozo up on the pavilion (I swear, Gail, it wasn’t me! It was JP and that perverted guy). As for us, guys, we had no choice but to relieve our bladders like dogs in dark, nondescript spots. JP, who had the misfortune of feeling the call of nature after dinner, had to defecate and endure the stench of the bathroom up on the rocky hill. I hate to think how he washed himself after that, if he did wash at all.

We had also been given a handful of challenges to hurdle:

1. Take off your wet clothes and change into dry ones on the beach, in front of each other, using a flashlight, a sarong (a long, tie-dyed piece of thin fabric), or a towel.

2. Find out how you could cramp yourselves (we were six) inside a small tent and spend the night there like tuna soaked in salt water.

3. Try to sleep sound as shrieking monster-children scurry after a blasted talangka (tiny crab) that seems to be unexplainably drawn to your tent.

4. At two in the morning, try to sleep in peace as that same freaky talangka seeks refuge under your sheets and crawls its way to salvation from the shrieking monster-children.

5. Without using soap or shower gel, rinse the sand, sweat, and seawater off your body with just five cups of distilled water brought in from mainland Pangasinan.

6. (I’ve got an immunity charm from this one) Have a good night’s sleep while Chris angelically snores his lungs out inside the tent.

7. (This one’s just for JP) Hold your breath as long as you could while you shit inside the stinking bathroom and die of lack of oxygen. Or inhale with gusto the putrid smell of shit and die of suffocation.

We also had self-inflicted challenges courtesy of that time-tested, weather-beaten, intellectually challenging game, Truth or Consequence. It made Licel seek out pebbles in the dark and sent Nikki to the task of pulling our huge and heavy distilled water container from the tent up to our spot near the sand bar (with some help from her sweetie-pie JP, after much prodding from us). I, on the other hand, was ordered to find a stranger and introduce him to our group. This amid riotous laughter, teasing, and ribbing from all of us, most especially from RR and Lester who had gotten the Dolphy-Panchito routine down pat.

The game also led to RR’s confession regarding his feelings for Adie. Good thing she was back in the tent at that time, enabling RR to pour his heart out to us. When she finally returned, we knew what to do.

If it weren’t dark, I’m sure I would’ve seen Adie blush as we teased him to RR, who, as the night waned and as the alcohol took hold of his tongue-with-a-built-in-subwoofer, became increasingly bolder in hinting at his feelings for Adie (do I smell professions of love this early?). The next morning, when Adie lost her slippers to beach thieves, he graciously offered his own and tiptoed his way on the boiling sand. Ahh, the things one would do for love!

The rest of our night was spent waiting for shooting stars while Lester and RR provided entertainment through their non-stop Dolphy and Panchito antics. If RR has a built-in subwoofer, Lester has a whole sound system down his throat; you could hear these two whisper ten kilometers away.

I had a natural high swimming the morning after. Only Gail, clad in an oversized orange life vest and snorkeling goggles, was gutsy enough to join me in the deep part of the sea. Most of the time, though, I unconsciously left her as I swam farther to even deeper waters. Because of this, we became known as the tandem, Aqua Man and Goggle Girl, whatever the hell that means.

The corals in these parts were rather drab and gray. And the fish, too, seemed to be of the dull hue. Upon further inspection underwater, I found out that the boats docked on the beach were anchored on these same corals. I hate to think what would be left of them after a few years.

After a quick early morning swim, we went back to our tent to have ripe mangoes as breakfast. They were so sweet I devoured around three or four in one sitting. We personally picked some of these from mango trees in Tilbang (did I get the name right?) the day before.

Rewind to Tilbang, one day before…

Using Nikki’s pick-up, we drove to Tilbang to pick some fresh mangoes. It was a good thirty-minute drive from downtown Alaminos. In the car, we started talking about the liters of sunblock I poured on myself but somehow ended up talking about Star for A Night champion Sarah Geronimo’s latest hit (This is the FUSS time, I’m gonna say I love you/It’s the FUSS time I’ve ever felt so helpless deep inside.)

Which got me thinking. Why don’t we have something like Search for the Star Phonetics Teacher of the Night? The champion could win, among other prizes, a five-year contract as speech coach of the winners of singing competitions like Search for a Star or Star for a Night so they can learn to pronounce "first" properly. Just a thought.

When we got to Tilbang where a stretch of parched, dried-up farms lay side by side, we turned right at the exact spot where lazy, loose-skinned cows were hanging around. The cows mark the spot, said Nikki. Once you see those cows, it’s time to turn right. True enough, when we turned right and drove ahead, we found the site. Good landmarks, these cows.

Amid two circular ponds were duhat and mango trees. JP and Nikki led the mango picking with their long bamboo stick. I tried picking mangoes myself but gave it up after I got only three and an army of hantiks (huge red ants). So we, Adie, in her prayer-meeting outfit, Licel, Gail, and I just contented ourselves in posing for the camera.

Fast forward to Quezon Island…

Where was I…Ok, so back to Quezon Island…So there we were, fresh off the sea, ready to jump into the boat and go back to Alaminos when they discovered that they lost their slippers—Adie, Licel, Nikki, and JP. If Gail hadn’t chosen garish, shockingly hot pink slippers that naturally repel thieves within a five-kilometer radius, she, too, would have gone home barefoot. Well, at least, Licel didn’t lose her chopsticks, otherwise she would have nothing to clip her long, rich, frizzy, wiry, Nuestra-Señora-de-Antipolo hair with.

Before we left for the bus station on the morning of May 2, we dropped by Lucap Wharf to check out a concert marking the end of Le Tour de Hundred Islands. Contrary to what I had expected, it wasn’t jologs epicenter after all. With cans of beer and servings of bininghoy (sweet, sticky rice stuffed inside halved bamboos), we enjoyed listening to Bob Marley covers, reggae music, and other standards.

As we went up the bus to go home, I don’t know if it was just me or I really did see some pain in RR’s eyes. Could this be the FUSS time he’s ever felt so helpless deep inside? I don't know. I can't tell. I’d rather not fuss about it.



At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bwahahahahahaha!!!! =)) =)) =))

If only the blogger developers would integrate the YM smilies here, tatadtarin ko ng =)) =)) itong comment ko!

Am I ever so glad I did not go with you guys. I would die dun sa accommodations nyo, or the lack of it, sa Quezon Island! =)) =)) Grabe, di kayo naligo? Bwahahahahaha! Shet!

Although I would've liked hearing RR's (he is the one we call the little mayor, right?) confession of undying love for Adie. Naks. =))

At 1:38 PM, Blogger slim whale said...

hehehehe, ay naku, panalo yung si RR (yup he's 'little mayor'). kulang na lang talaga ipagsigawan nya na love na love niya si adie hehehe! ilang na ilang si adie, sobra. (hhmmmm, di kaya type din niya si RR?hehehheeh)

dapat sumama ka no! ang saya. ang ganda pa ng island, kahit na medyo di pa developed. ok na rin. mas maganda kaysa sa pinuntahan nyo

At 1:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ang masasabi ko lang... kahit swanget ang beach ng Eguia, at least MAY POSONG PWEDENG IGIBAN NG PAMPALIGO at PANGHUGAS NG PWET! =))

If I know baka may creepy crawlers pa dun sa so-called banyo na mabaho. :D

Ilag lang talaga ako sa mga ganung place pramis. Di ko kaya yang ginawa nyo. Sa totoo... Well siguro kaya, pero ayoko ng overnight dun.

At 12:17 AM, Blogger Jules said...

nice article... very descriptive and consistent just like the pahiyas article.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger slim whale said...

thanks julsitos!


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