Friends of mine (David Robinson and his wife Jendy .. featured picture) that live in Gandara Philippines on the island of Samar asked me to come to their annual fiesta. He’s a pretty cool friend and his wife is a great cook (plus nice to look at) so I decided I would go. Besides, the last time he asked me, I didn’t go. I do not have a vehicle here in the Philippines, so I have to depend on others or public transportation. There is a ton of public transportation, but I don’t always feel like going places too far away because the roads are in such bad shape, and you bounce around too much. Christian was also going, so I just rode with him. Another guy, Randy, and his wife, Gloria, also went with us.
Something interesting about this trip is that none of us knew exactly where the house was. We were just “winging it”.
Eventually we got to Gandara, it’s about a 45-minute drive from where we are in Calbayog. Full-fledged fiesta going on. Banners up, people everywhere, extra stands put up for selling whatever they could and lots and lots of traffic. The roads are already small, but with all this, it was pretty difficult to drive through in some of the spots.
Still trying to figure out where the house is, one of Christian’s employees showed up at the window. She knows where the house is because she from that area and she saw him go home before. We followed her (and her passenger, Mila, the lady that likes to make our food extra hot (when we ask her to) and then laugh at us when it burns our mouth) and she went straight to the house, no problem. We did have to park up the road a piece, but that’s fine. When we get in the house, we then had to walk up 2 flights of stairs. That’s where the foreigners were having their little party. There were a lot of Filipinos on the ground floor having a good time. It’s fine with me because I don’t know any of those people on the ground floor, except the host, his wife and one of their little daughters (Margret).
Most of the food there I don’t like, I’m kind of picky, but some of it was good. The one thing I was making sure I got was a piece of that apple pie. It was only the 2nd apple pie she ever made (the first one being the day before) but she did a good job considering that she could not find the correct apples to make it with. I only had one piece while there. There was some tequila, but I have sworn off hard liquor, especially tequila after my incident that gave me the infection that spread to both my legs, and I was wondering if I was going to get to keep both legs for a while there.
Anyway, it was a nice party, I ate a lot of grapes and drank a lot of water. Just being there for my friend was my main goal and whether I liked all the food or not was not an issue.
So, after a lot of yakking, some eating (I’m trying to learn not to eat so much anyway) and checking out some of the ladies, it’s time to go home.
Getting down the stairs was harder than going up for me. My legs are still not used to all the exercise, so they are a bit sore. I made it down without incident though. I had to wait while the host wife made a take-out for my wife. Right about the time she finished, Christian pulled up and we all got in to go.
There is only 1 road in/out of there and it wasn’t so bad, until we got to the downtown area. It slowed down ALOT when we got there and then, it stopped. It stopped for a little over an hour, I watched the clock in the car. If it wasn’t for a few Filipinos taking charge and clearing the area out, we might still be there. If we were still there, we’d be out of gas. The tank was already on empty, gas pump light shining, and we were sitting there with the air conditioner on. We tried to turn the car off and just sit there, but the humidity made that near impossible.
At first, one of the big problems was that motorcycles did their normal Filipino thing and tried to pass everyone up on the left (into oncoming traffic). Next thing you know, cars can’t come though, even if they did find room because the motorcycles were blocking the road. There were about a dozen motorcycles out there blocking.
Finally, a guy decided to help out and we saw a couple of policemen show up. They worked for a while, moved stopped motorcycles and a tricycle off the side of the road and finally got a little action going. Naturally, 98% of the action was coming from the traffic going the other direction. We just sat in the car hoping the gas would not run out.
What I had a hard time understanding is that the road was blocked by a couple of large vehicles stuck in the mess but when they finally got out, we still did not move. Traffic going the other way was moving well. Why couldn’t they let us go some also?
Finally, after about an hour and ten minutes, we were moving. Slow at first, then faster. I thought we were going to get stuck again, but that didn’t happen. When we finally got out of the downtown area, we headed straight for the first gas station. Then someone tried to cut in front of us at the pump. That wasn’t happening. The gas at that station was quite a bit more than some of the other stations down the road, but we couldn’t take the chance.
We did make it back. We passed by my house to bring Randy and Gloria home first because Christian wanted company on the drive back through downtown. Plus, they are both older than we are, so I figured they needed to get home first.
On the way back, Christian and I were talking and he zipped right by my house again. No matter. His house is at Mango and it’s a short walk from there to my house. I was awfully tired, but I managed to make it home without falling down or sleepwalking. I did get to sleep shortly after getting into the house though.
It was an experience and one that I doubt will be repeated. At least not if I see it coming first.
I hope this was somewhat entertaining and will make you come back for more.