The next day started out even more surreal, but I was quickly awakened by the fact that I HAD to shower. And if you guessed it, yes, there's no hot water. We had to use the tabo and a bucket, but luckily Mama Dory warmed up some water for me; which was nice and kind. Something about showering with cold water is so scary, yet so freeing. The cold scares you, but once you start you feel strong and when you finish you feel a sense of bigger accomplishment.
So off we went, early in the morning; excitement filled the air. I was a little nervous, because the car was so full of luggage and people. Luckily, driving laws in the Philippines aren't strict--so much so that you're not even required to wear a seat belt. Mom was stuffed in the back with Lola Senia, Lola Terry and Mama Dory. And squished like a canned tuna with the luggages was Ate Nilda. I'm always worried about damaging cars, and I always think I'm 'too heavy,' so the trip definitely made me anxious, but surprisingly Tito Ric wasn't. He was confident that the car will be alright.
We quickly dropped off Mama Dory at a bus station, which made me sad because we didn't really get to talk. But our schedule was already so full and I didn't have much time on the island. So after giving her a kiss and hug good bye, Tito Ric drove us to Doña Jovita Garden Resort where my cousin, Ate Kweng, manages. She treated us to an amazing breakfast spread, and we got to spend time with Tita Julie and meet my nephews Paul and Lance.
After that we visited Tito Bogie's gravesite, which I hadn't been to since his funeral back in 2000. The heat was too great so we left the grandmas in the car, and Tita Julie led the way. Funnily enough, she couldn't find him so we kept searching, until we finally did. Tito Ric led a prayer, we said good bye to Tita Julie, and off we went.
Since the heat was really messing with my psyche, I was really amazed at how normally people lived their lives there. I was worried about Mama Dory and Tita Julie going off and riding public transportation, but I had to remind myself that they're grown ups who knows what they're doing.
On the way we stopped at a Starbucks where I got coffee and Tito grabbed McDonald's. While going back to grab Ate Nilda's order, I stumbled upon a gang of motor cyclists and accidentally stared at a man in front of me. In my head I thought, "hmm, he looks like Aga Mulach," and then a guy next to him gave me a dirty look so I kept walking. I went inside and told Mom what I thought I saw, which, she didn't even know I knew him! Tito Ric ended up confirming that it was him, so it was great seeing a big celebrity on my second day :)
The rest of the way was fun, and Tito Ric is quite the jokester. We stopped and grabbed some sweet corn for grandma, and told stories. When we finally arrived in Gumaca, it was nothing like I remembered before. I was very excited to see At PR, and Tito Robert, Tito Abet, Tita Elsie and Tita Lita. When we saw them, we were all once again overcome with emotion and love for our family. We had lunch and took a tour of the house, which Grandma had renovated.
I met Tita Elsie for the first time which was nice, and got a reunion with Tita Lita, who I've missed! After our late lunch, Tito Ric said we were going to the Church of Gumaca to give our thanks. There was a dress code which made me really angry, because, like, God, why do we need a dress code? I bitched about it, but it ended up being fine. It was a beautiful church and I cried nearly the whole time. There were just too many emotions, I think deep down it was a mixture of wanting to bring them all to America or me wanting to just stay with them. Also, I did not understand one word at the mass even though he was speaking Tagalog. I felt so lost and I didn't want to stay inside the church, but I did, so I just let myself cry.
Mom was immediately recognized and talked to friends, and we did a quick look around her old campus of Holy Child. After Tito Ric took us to the beach before we all headed to Daphe's for dinner. Everyone but Tito Robert and Tita Elsie went so I got to spend more time with Tito Abet, Tita Lita and Ate PR. It was kinda funny cause we kept staring at each other. TIto Abet is quiet, so I'd catch him staring at me, taking it all in, and it made me miss everyone so much more. I wish I had my Titos nearby.
The dinner was alright, and the service sucked but it wrapped up our night real well. When we got home I passed the F out. What a great second day.
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