Prelude: Baler Trip (How to murder a getaway)

I know some terrible things I have done in my life, and clearly my karma’s out of balance to have some counterpart terrible encounters and come across with a pile of dreadful things, especially during my quest for adventures. Surely, these are total disasters that complicatedly made things reach that point of highest entropy level.. the things that utterly made my trips downright nuts.. or as I prefer to call it, murdered my getaways. Unlike many travellers, I usually do not prefer tour packages in lieu of the comfortable and hassle-free tour, but rather practice DIY trips, like a pro at that. Things though don’t always go well as how they’re planned: case in point, that long road trip to Baler, Aurora.

After a long ride from the busy streets of Cubao all the way down to that hapless place called Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija, I immediately jumped out of the bus and wandered my gaze around to look for that life-saving final bus bound to Baler. Time check, a little over 10 PM, or should I say death hour, because I’m dead right at that moment in so many levels. For one, I have the pre-knowledge that the last ride off to my destination does not go beyond that mark which hurtfully means I’m doomed. Two, my phone’s nearing the emptiness state which means I’m fucked up. And three, my internal organs were heavily throwing their profanities on me since I skipped that meal of the day called dinner, in hope to save some extra time and catch that previous ride, which turned out to be a mega-pathetic one.

To recap, I did miss the all-important final bus, and well, all I could do was to wait until 3 or 4 AM the following day. So I jumped at the nearest convenient store to recharge my phone and myself to be energized for for the long waiting game in the midst of the dirty streets. Then I did the mandatory updating for the information of some of the concerned people about my misfortunes. Half an hour has passed and I already wholeheartedly accepted the fact that I’m spending the rest of the night under the open skies. In no time, I found myself lurking at the side of the streets gulping a can of San Mig Light, after a can, after another can, and another can, because basically it was all I can. It was that hard to kill time.

The clock had just struck midnight and I was still facing the blankness of the night. Then my senses felt that sullen urge to momentarily escape the trap I got myself caught into. I was too tired to make pleasant conversations with anyone (which was btw very me), but this certain sidewalk vendor was too persistent to actually force some exchange of words with me, for some goddamn reason I have no idea about regarding some topics I don’t care about. But to cut the long story short, she has actually showed me this alternative way to put my left-by-the-bus problem to a bittersweet end, as I learned that there was this other bus bound to Casiguran, which regularly drops by Baler. And there really is. It was a splash of water right on my face. And a splash of lessons too.

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