Ending my impressive and enjoyable trip to Dahilayan Forest Park had me making some last-minute choices, either to go back to Cagayan de Oro and book a flight home or continue the journey down south. My mind was weighing a golden opportunity to pursuing further trips as against seeking chances of returning home and putting the trip in abeyance. It would be costly for me if I’ll comeback and do the trip some other time. I was already there. And the adventure can’t wait for a postponement.
Although a little bit apprehensive as I felt the lack of guts and drive to pursue it at that time, speculations were high of having a terrorist attack of the civilians on the road added some feeling of nervousness as I was already having cold feet when it was broadcasted lately. But I kept believing that I can make it and I will survive the hardships of milling around the southern parts of the country.
I traveled by land. That meant by bus. I was quite excited although I was feeling a little of the jitters of the resurgence of stress.
My desire to have some honest answers to my inquisitive mind on where to take a bus was troubling me but, there was a barrage of unsolicited advice after I asked one passenger. One question leads to many responses. It would take two alternatives. One, to go north for a spacious, roomy and comfortable ride but quite far or at the town’s highway which is a little bit near from where I was billeted, but not sure of a peaceful ride and certainly there would be a “mob rule”. Some people I’ve asked said that it would take at least eight to ten hours to reach General Santos city. It would be late, dark and dangerous at the highway if I take a direct route. A local passenger gave some advice which led to a conclusion of spending the night in Malaybalay, Bukidnon and leave early in the morning for Gen San. That was a good idea.
Luckily, I was able to catch a ride in two hours of waiting and nearly had to stand for the ride. There was only one seat left.
The ride was smooth and pleasant and I’ve noticed that in every town there was a terminal where buses, jeepneys and vans can park to load and unload passengers.
We’ve reached Don Carlos town and the bus dropped by the terminal for a few minutes. I waited just to observe how long the bus would wait for passengers to alight and new passengers to board. Five minutes have passed and still many passengers have not gone back to the bus. I waited some more minutes. Then my personal need came. I needed to take a piss. I rushed to the toilet and take comfort for a very short time.
When I got out, to my horror, the bus was gone from where it parked. Other buses parking there have the same color with the one that I was boarded so, to make sure, I ran and inspected their plates one by one. But they were not what I memorized. I panicked. Turning my head left to right many times and standing at my toes looking afar, I saw the tail end of a bus turning at a corner. This might be the bus that I rode. I was not sure of it. But I ran to catch it as it made a right turn at the corner and a left turn at the next. As fast as I could, running and screaming to catch attention didn’t do any good. So I waved my hand signalling that I was left behind and I was one of the passengers. As it made its last turn towards the highway, I knew the driver noticed my waving as I’ve seen his head glancing at the side mirror. It slowed down. I was catching my breath and my feet became heavy as if I was going to drag them behind. Then the bus stopped. Waiting for me took several minutes as annoyance flared on my face. The conductor just made a silent smirk at me casting a confused profile. He moved aside from the doorway and let me in to sit. Taking a deep breath and still catching some air for my lungs, my heart kept pounding hard in its forte to a moderately roaring descend, perhaps with some misbeats, other passengers were looking at me with whimsical stare. Others looked at me with a humble grin.
On my seat, I couldn’t help but think about the incident. What, if I lost the bus.Could I take my things back? Could I catch it at the next terminal at the next town?
I thought that it was the conductor’s fault for he did not check if the passengers were complete before leaving the terminal.
Hhmmm! It was my fault. That’s it. I did not seek his permission so they could have waited for me.