I went back to the province last week to attend to my ailing father. It was at once something that necessitated agility and stamina, as the demands of his situation were first priority.
Unlike previous visits, I did not bother to bring a single camera, save for the ones in my smartphone. I knew I had to be light and quick, as I had no firm idea what the next few days might bring. I packed my bag with just the right amount of essentials, plus my MBP, an extra battery pack, some IDs; and then that was it.
My son and my wife were still sleeping when the car that will take me to the airport arrived. It was a smooth ride, and despite the close call (I arrived just a few minutes before boarding gates were about to close), I made it to the queue. To keep the overpowering sleepiness at bay, I started taking pictures.
Under the pre-dawn darkness, the airport’s artificial lighting system provided just the right amount of light. However, the camera’s output showed astonishingly high noise reduction levels that leaves artificially smooth photos. This has its pros and cons, but I personally find it preferable to leave a balanced mix of texture, detail, and chroma noise reduction.
The flight went without a hitch, and arrived at Laguindingan on time. Previously, a van would take you to a small station at the corner of the access road and the national highway. Yet to my surprise, we went a bit farther inland, where a dedicated bus terminal was already operational, helping travelers and bus companies meet.
The bus assigned to bring passengers to their destinations was still on its way when we arrived. Rather than sleep inside the comfortably large and air-conditioned van, I took out my phone and started taking pictures outside.
There was a certain atmosphere in the place. At that time, it was quite empty, and a morning fog still hugged portions of the place. It was also evident that there was rain the night before. I could barely hear any AM radio blaring (always a common feature in Philippine provinces), and a cock’s crow rarely punctuated the still silent morning air.
I wish my niche in Metro Manila was this nice and quiet. It would be very nice. A garden here, and veranda there, plus a gazebo and a fountain. My reveries were getting more pleasant when it was interrupted with the barker’s harsh voice proclaiming: “Hoy kadtong para Iligan! Para Iligan!”
The bus for Iligan arrived, passengers boarded it, and when I finally found a good seat, I started thinking again about the itinerary to maximize the brief amount of time I have to attend to my ailing father.
The important part of the trip has started.