Lost in the island of Leyte
Trip Start May 11, 2010
27Trip End Aug 01, 2010
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I just got a deja-vu writing this, have I already written a bit about this in one of the earlier entries? If this seems familiar then skip to the next bit... Anyways, journey from Camotes Islands to Ormoc, then Tacloban was quite interesting. As soon as I'd sat down on the boat, a friendly local came over to ask if I'm a missionary (this is the third or fourth time this happened, seriously what is it? I think I need to re-consider my travel wardrobe! Or maybe I am smiling too much and looking a little bit too delirious/enlightened, but it's difficult not to when all the locals are all smiles and so friendly themselves!)
In the port town of Ormoc I hopped on a mini-van to the other side of the island of Leyte, and ended up sitting next to a very talkative man called Rene. As usual, he stroke up conversation by asking if I'm single, and was very surprised to hear that I am. "Really? Why? Did you use to have a boyfriend? Why not anymore? Maybe because a misunderstanding?" He went on to say that if I was a Philippino woman of my age, I would be very worried and depressed to be single still - "are you worried?" (Umh, I wasn't until you put it that way...) But he then went on to comfort me by saying that if he was my brother, he would punch my ex boyfriend for being so stupid, and that I would have no problem at all finding a new boyfriend or perhaps husband if I wanted in the Philippines. In fact, if I wanted any help he might have some suitable neighbours, friends or colleagues and one of them might just be the one.
Similar thing happened when I was having dinner in Tacloban the following day - I had just ordered a meal, when two men asked if they could join me, saying that no one should eat their dinner alone
I kickstarted the following morning by trying to organise my return travel to Manila - a few hours and three trips to a travel agency later, I finally had my flight booked. By the time I came in for the third time I was getting a wee bit worried about whether I would actually be able to get on the flight - helpfully, the agency had a little sign at their desk reminding me to "relax, God is in charge".
I spent most of the rest of the day wandering around the town and the market sampling local mangos and other delicacies - you'd be amazed at just how many different kinds of treats it's possible to make out of rice! My favourite was probably sweet sticky rice with chocolate, wrapped in a banana leaf; although sweet sticky rice with coconut and some sweet sugary syrup tasted absolutely heavenly too. I also took a jeepney (a sort of local mini-bus) to another town nearby which was the landing site for the Americans who liberated the country from the Japanese occupation at the end of the World War II, to see the larger than life size statues of general McArthur and his men, which were quite impressive.