From Iloilo city, I took a ferry bound for Bacolod city, hired a taxi for the bus terminal going to Cadiz city then took another ferry for a two hour journey for Santa Fe, Bantayan island, Cebu. From the port, I needed a tricycle to drop me at a tricycle terminal for the final tricycle ride to a beach resort stay. I scouted for a nicer place to rest and, yes, I settled for Anika Beach Resort.
How lucky I was to have clinched the last room on my arrival. I didn’t have any reservation so, being lucky for the day was a consolation. They gave me a room which was reserved for next day’s visitor as we await for the finishing touches of a soon-to-be-finished room which was intended for my transfer the next day.
Hiring a motorcycle with the driver as my tour guide was done in minutes. I closed the deal and “Mr. Lucky” was again the angel behind all the graces for the day. My driver was very kind, courteous and friendly. Again, as in most of my travels, I was always being introduced by my guide to the members of the family.
On our way to my guide’s house we met his mother on the road driving a “tri-sikad”, a bicycle with a side car. As explained by him, it was necessary to augment the family’s daily needs. I was really touched by the sight of his mother which showed some tiredness in her face, driving the bicycle.
As night grew older, after our dinner at a roadside eatery, he told me that we pass by their house. I felt deeply sad and pitiful after what I’ve seen on the state of poverty they’re in. Seeing their humble abode, a nipa hut which could be easily get blown by a moderate typhoon, with a pat on her back, I slip a small amount in his mother’s hand that could help in any way possible.
At Anika Resort, I’ve discovered that the rooms were made out of remodeled container vans fitted with windows, doors, aircon and bathroom facilities, elevated with concrete posts and extended with wooden verandas and stairs. Those were great ideas. Instead of building an all-concrete rooms, they opted for a fast-to-build and economical ones.
We have circled the island and have gone to every tourist spots and night life venues of the place. And what made it unforgettable was the people I’ve met that made this visit an enriching experience. Nino, my driver and my guide, although he has only a Grade 3 as educational attainment to boast of, is the breadwinner of the family and will prove that poverty is not the end of everything. He has two sisters in the elementary, a father who relies only on part time jobs, a mother who also drives a bicycle for some extra income, are here testing the meaning of survival in the midst of financial troubles.
Typhoons come and go and learning from media reports then, Bantayan Island was one of the worst hit islands in Central Visayas during the devastation of typhoon Haiyan. It was a win for Haiyan and a demolished community for Bantayan Island. Amid those pouring of sympathy and help for the victims, I realized that I have to do something for some people I know in the island. I can’t help all the citizens there but at least I have to extend some help to some folks made closer to me because of my travelling. I know that their homes were built of light materials so the worry about their plight stuck to my mind for quite sometime. Steps to contact them have been made and my assumptions exceeded my expectations. Their flattened house was nowhere to be found. I sent monetary help to them and I know this will alleviate their condition one way or another. Now their modest house is standing again although it was a small one and still made of bamboo and other light materials. If chances are kind enough, I’ll try visiting the family in the future, sooner, so to say.