One of the experiences that reinforced my love affair with the province of Bohol was during my college days. As a student in Cebu living in Mindanao, I have to take the Nasipit – Cebu route whenever classes start. During one of those semestral breaks, I spent a foolish extra night in Nasipit to drink with some college buddies. You know how those things are, nothing’s more important than the moment, the gin, and the crystal laughter of your female companions.
I was confident because I knew that I could just take the next boat the following night and still get to my midterm exams. Unfortunately for me, when I tried to buy a ticket, everything was already taken. The tickets for that evening were sold out.
Feeling adventurous, I looked for other routes. To my relief there was one: take the roundabout trip from Nasipit-Bohol then to Cebu. Now there are two steps to that journey that made it very memorable.
The pier in Bohol was in Jagna. In my naïve collegiate mind, I assumed that the boat going to Cebu would originate from that place. Big mistake. The pier (actually just a little version of a pier) where the voyage to Cebu will start is in Tubigon, and the ‘boat’ was only slightly bigger than a banca. Think of those ferries plying the Batangas – Puerto Galera route. But in this case, the ‘boat’ will be treading open sea.
I felt my gonads in my throat as I thought about the prospect of sailing on that motorized banca. I can already imagine cathedral like waves smashing our boat to smithereens and sharks running off with portions of my torso and perhaps a limb or two.
But before that I had to take a bus from Jagna to Tubigon. I was almost positive that I would never get to Tubigon alive. The driver had us close all the windows. And the windows in this case were made of wood. Think of the side-windows of your car and replace that with wood. Yes, you can’t see anything. On top of that we were riding at the darkest time of the dawn along very narrow winding roads. The bus from the get-go shot out of the bus terminal like a bat out of hell. I swear to God I couldn’t feel the bus’ tires touching the pavement. We were in a bus and the feeling was that we were flying! Pretty traumatic bus experience that one.
Still, we arrived at the Tubigon Pier in one piece and the earlier horror of figuring in a bus collision was now replaced with my earlier reservation about the boat taking me to Cebu. One horror replaced with another more horrible prospect. It was still very early in the morning and I was already having a bad day.
All my morbid thoughts jumped off the window when I saw the water of the Tubigon. It was emerald clear and the more I stared at it the more I wanted to jump in. I think all those fisherman’s tales of mermaids singing out to them so they jump out to sea and drown were rubbish. There were no mermaids, only the heartbreakingly marvelous jade sea.
We head out for Cebu in that crystal clear water. Because the boat was relatively small (an understatement) I can actually put my hand on the side and dip my hand in the water– n act that had the boat’s crew reprimanding me in many occasions. I’m usually a sensible kid but I couldn’t help myself then.
I knew that we were in very deep waters when the sea turned dark blue. Actually it was more black than blue. I couldn’t help but think that sooner or later the boat was going to get unhinged and all of us would just be part of the debris; another reminder of man’s foolishness to tempt fate.
But we made it. I got of the boat shaking, smelling of the sea but fit enough to go to my midterms and pass it with flying colors.