Finally Bacolod at past 11noontime!
From Roxas, my brother Jake and I left at 7am, taking an L300 van that would take us to Iloilo City. After nearly three hours, we transferred to a jeepney that took us about 15mins to Muelle Loney St., where the pier is. After the usual hassle of getting tickets and bag inspections, we boarded the Supercat, a fast-jet that would take us to Bacolod City in less than an hour. Years ago, when I was still in university, it took 2 hours via slow boat to get to Bacolod. So now it’s fast eh? Great. At this day and age, people are rushing to do things, to reach their destinations, even young people rushing to grow up. What’s the rush?
Trip was good, pretty uneventful. The sun’s out, perfect for this boat ride. For some reason, Jake and I were a little motion-sick after the fast-jet docked in Bacolod in just under an hour. We sat down at the terminal for a while before calling Doc Sharon who was expecting us. While resting, I was happy to see that the Banago port improved a lot. Cleaner and more organized. No more of the obnoxious porters around.
Sharon was still taking a shower when we arrived at the hospital. She is doing her residency and had just finished her shift. While waiting for her, I had the chance to look around the pediatric section of the hospital. Pretty much a typical government hospital. Lots of patients at the free ward, with patients seemingly sharing beds. At least the ward is clean. There were old, dilapidated buildings. Some abandoned, others still used. A few were also under construction. Lindy, the Pedia section secretary, told me that the constructions were started last year, before the elections, but apparently the candidate associated with the hospital lost. Hence, the unfinished buildings. A little later, Sharon emerged! You’ll never recognize her as doctor at a quick glance, especially when she’s not in her doctor uniform. But she’s every inch a doctor when you see her attend to her patients.
Over a hearty lunch of inasal na manok (grilled chicken)and garlic rice at one of Bacolod’s manukan houses (chicken-houses which Bacolod is so well-known for), we talked about university life and beyond. Who got married, and who married who, who’s dating who, who worked where, what happened to our crushes, teachers, enemies, etc. In between bites of chicken leg, we laughed and giggled. She’s the same Sharon I know: determined, funny, and full of optimism that someday her prince shall come. The last time I saw her was in 1997 (7 long years!) when she was still in medical school in Cebu City. I, on the other hand, was working for ABS-CBN Naga City.
Anyway, Sharon was my roommate for almost 4 years, aside from being classmates in most GE (general education) subjects in UP for the first two years of our university life. We lived, ate, shopped together, borrowed money from each other, exchanged notes, gossiped, shared secrets, heartaches, as well as successes big and small. Doc Shao has been my confidante for quite some time now, and I thank her for that. Religion did not come in between us, she, a Baptist, and me, a Catholic. We respect what the other was and could not. But what drew us together was the desire to achieve something. This stemmed from the fact that her two older sisters were already degree holders (one a law student, now taking the bar exams as of this writing, and the other a CPA)when we were studying; and I, being the eldest in the family and trying to set an example for my younger siblings. Our parents became friends as well even after our university days.
Despite not seeing each other for 7 years, thanks to modern ICT, we have maintained contact through email and text. But both have the same sentiments for snail mail so we send mails from time to time. Actually we’re perfect for each other, perfect 10! Right, Shao? She promised she’ll be my future children’s doctor. So what’s the point of this seemingly senseless blog? Wala lang. Just that, real friendships last. You can make new friends, and keep the old. Someday they might be useful to you. Bwahahahaha. Seriously, madamo guid nga salamat, Sha, sa pila ka tuig naton na pag-amigahay. Life in UP would never be the same without you.