Friday, January 17, 2003

I do believe this is the first time I've ever answered one of these things.

Which Ringwraith are You?
By Lisa

Am in Iloilo right now. Been here since Wednesday afternoon. The trip began badly because I lost my ticket and had to pay twice what I was going (and ready) to. Damn. Still, it's been tremendous fun. I'm here with Neva and PJ, one of my best friends from high school. As soon as I arrived we went to the local SM. Wow. Anyway, played some really old high-school-era arcade games, and I got PJ to buy a book that I will probably buy myself when I have the time, Donna Tartt's The Secret History. We also checked out this exhibit of various tribal costumes, which wasn't too interesting. However I did enjoy the adjacent exhibit, which featured all sorts of Sto. Ninos. There was a black one, a fat one (the creepiest, he looked like he'd eaten another poor Sto. Nino), even a female! Then all of us had a monster dinner, watched the Blue Roast videos from our respective batches, and went to sleep.

The next morning we went to Neva's family's mango farm in Guimaras, then another monster lunch, shot pool, and hit the beach for a couple of hours. Beach was fantastic: strong wind, coffee-mate sand, strong waves, freezing cold water that becomes better after a minute or two. best of all, practically secluded. After that we went to the Trappist Monastery, the only one in the country. There a decidedly gay monk gave us a tour, and we kept asking typically ridiculous questions. They're vegetarians who only eat once a day (you can choose the time), cannot leave the compound unless it's urgent or necessary, and cannot speak when inside the grounds proper (which is off-limits to visitors). The gay priest was quite proud of his order, showing off their two chapels (one donated by a couple who lost their only child in an accident when he was aged 27), pointing out how the bricks were made from Guimaras's natural limestone, etc. After all that, we went back to Neva's farm, had another monster dinner, talked and drank 'til 11 PM.

It's good to see PJ again. I miss his jokes, unfunny or successful. He told us about the people he's met in San Diego, the things he misses about the Philippines, the fears and wants we have for our future. As he said, "I can't remember the last time I had an intelligent conversation!" Must've been the beer.

We slept at the farm. It was unexpectedly cold, Baguio-cold, and we were wearing nothing but shorts and flimsy excuses for shirts. So we slept in the fetal position, under blankets, scared of the wind which would snap tarps against the windows every now and again. Of course, this being the province I should mention that the moon was bright as hell, like a spotlight bright. You could see the craters. The stars were also out in force, since there's no light pollution, and especially past 9 PM, when pretty much everyone on the island is asleep, you could walk outside without bringing any light. And the wind was so strong, you could actually watch clouds zoom past. Amazing.

And I forgot to mention that we of course had the sweetest mangoes for dessert. Mine had a hint of tanginess to it, but that gave it personality. Personality goes a long way.

Next morning we visited the Trappist Monastery again and bought some pasalubongs to shut my family up. PJ had to leave early but I'll be here until tomorrow afternoon. Am at Neva's family's house in Iloilo, and will probably watch something stupid like The Tuxedo while I wait for them to get back from a meeting. Had batchoy for lunch. I think I might gain a few pounds while I'm here.

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