Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mangagoy overnight

On March 1, 2013, as this picture indicates, I awoke to a morning in Mangagoy, which was a village, not a town, as I earlier thought it was. I arrived the previous night in a convoy that travelled the whole stretch of road from Trento, Agusan del Sur to Lingig and Bislig in Surigao del Sur before reaching the typhoon-hit town of Boston and Baganga, Davao Oriental. These were a string of towns that I wrote about, and heard about so much without seeing, and so, catching the glimpse of the bridge in Lingig and a huddle of houses, made me glimpse for the first time some parcels of the things I merely wrote about. When in the towns of Boston, someone happened to mention we were going to sleep somewhere in Mangagoy, my ears perked up and I summoned my last ounce of energy to keep myself awake. We arrived in a place full of what looked like ramshackle buildings at about midnight in the middle of nowhere before we were deposited in a hotel, whose name served as the stubborn monument to the exploits of the logging era. Was it a Paper Tree Hotel? A shame, they have no shame, celebrating the memory of their crime in that name. Before this, Mangagoy was merely a name, a signboard in a bus terminal, a mysterious name of a place I've never been to. Did they say it is the country's largest village? I would remember Tsa Elim and the snotty guy from Mangagoy, who meticulously kept his room squeaky clean, the sheets smelling of perfume, the walls well-painted and well-lighted, to indicate his breeding, class and arrogance back in my university days. But it took three decades before I had the temerity to discover the beautiful place where he came from.

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