By Goh Xin Ying, Dora
Living in Tubod Mar as an overall is a short-getaway at the same time a similar scene to what I have experienced in Malaysia. Still, there are many memories refreshing moments in which I have not experienced for years especially after studying in Hong Kong. It was indeed a self-reflecting period in this peaceful town.
Escorted by the friendly Reno, who is Angeline’s and Zoya’s host father, offering me assistance on my luggage to my host family, within few metres away. Entering the entrance of my house, Lea, my host mother was sitting outside the house feeding his son and greeted me at the same time. As my voice is heard, the host grandmother, Leonor quickly came out and brought me to my room to settle down.
After a while of settling down and chit-chatting with my roommate, Amy, Leonor called us out for dinner and introduced us to their family except, Henry, the host father who was still yet to be back from work.
The family living in this house basically comprises of Leonor, her daughter and son-in law and 3 grandsons with 1 granddaughter.
The Most Desired House
Out of my surprise, the house is pretty decent and the room provided is considered as a master bedroom back in my home country. After talking to some of my classmates and their visit to my place, they all have concluded that Amy and I have the best home among them.
Behind the house, it is a perfect place for swimming, chilling as well as capturing sunrises and sunsets. Right, the sea was just right behind my kitchen as the house is just located along the highway of the island next to the sea.
During the first week, when it was still not so busy, I have basically gone into the sea four times a week enjoying the cold-water bath given the hot weather in the Philippines. The water is so clear that you could see corals, sea snakes, starfishes, and some small fishes in the sea.
After a few days of adapting to the lifestyle in Tubod Mar of sleeping at around 9 to 10 at night and waking up at around 5 to 6 in the morning, it is easy to watch the sunrise here. To be honest, this place is definitely one of the best places I have been to for sunrise and sunsets. Boating around the sea is no longer a matter to search and arrange for when you can just hop onto someone’s boat nearby and roam around the island.
Treating Us as Part of Their Family
Leonor and Lea, they always make sure that we are fulled by providing us portion of food which is more than the amount provided for their own family. As Amy and I could not always finish the food they provided, we always offer the kids some of our food. It is notable that their family eats less than we do. This has directly awakes us how wasteful can we be sometimes when having our meals for not finishing them while the others are not able to have ample food.
During the middle of the first week, when the rainy season was here, there was a day in the morning with heavy rain. It was so heavy in the sense that everyone just stayed at home till the rain stopped. Approaching lunch hour, Leonor noticed that we were still at home, she decided to cook us lunch so that we are not starving. As lunch is not supposed to be covered by the host family, Amy and I felt guilty about making our host family to prepare lunch for us. Not only during the rainy days, when we decided to work at home instead of going out, they would prepare us lunch and even snacks during tea-time hour.
Important Guest to Them
Knowing that we have not brought any toiletries, Leonor brought us to the market to do some grocery shopping on the next morning we arrived. As the day was still early, she brought us to the hill nearby to watch the view of Jagna. It was our first impression of Jagna after arriving in Bohol.
During the weekend where the next Monday is the country’s Independence Day, Leonor’s eldest son’s family who live in Tagbilaran came back to Tubod Mar to visit them. As they have a car, knowing that we are still new to the town, Leonor kindly offered us to have a ride roaming along the island’s highway. On the way of returning to home, we dropped by Leonor’s daughter-in-law’s parents’ place, where they have a private bamboo shelter to relax and enjoy the sea breeze.
Besides, Leonor also invited us to her friend’s family gathering during the weekend. We were invited to the Tubod Mar Barangay Captain’s house for a lunch buffet. It was definitely an eye-opening experience to see the praying session that commemorate the death of his father while having gathering family, relatives and friends.
Difficulties in Life
After Leonor’s husband passed away, aside from his son who lives in Tagbilaran who works as a seafarer abroad for more than half of the time and the youngest daughter who is married and currently living in Dubai, Henry and Lea are basically striving hard to support the family income.
Leonor, is known to be a chef, who did catering services before, teaches Lea her experience and cooking. Hence, Lea is currently making Frisk Lumpia every day to some of the eateries and private events or gathering. The sales might seem decent, however, they are only making around 150-200 pesos of profit per day. It is no wonder that eating in Garden Café, is a luxury and expensive for them as meal per person is around their daily profit. Whereas for Henry, the family sold the car which was used by Leonor’s husband, and bought a new tricycle to support the family. He goes to work at 7 in the morning and comes back at around 8 in the night every day.
Aside from that, in the morning, Leonor would provide us bread, egg, sausages and pancakes with different varieties of choice every day. However, it was just rice and small dishes for themselves as bread is considered as luxury items for them. This evidently shows the financial difficulties of survival in daily life.
Noticing this difference, I realize we are all coming from such a fortunate family for being able to afford necessities and sometimes purchasing unwanted items to satisfy our personal greed.
People here I have met so far in the island are usually friendly and helpful. Other than my host family, whenever I passed by the streets on the way to the market, or just visiting the little stores nearby my house, the people around would say hello to me with a smiling face and ask me where I am from which shows courtesy and sincerity. For instance, when the neighbors around knew about my interest in boating along the island, they courteously offered me the ride. Not only that, they would also teach me simple greetings in Bisaya so that I could blend into the locals. It has been awhile since I received such overwhelming treatment and courtesy from someone at first encounter.
Treasuring Little Moments as Luxury
After coming to Jagna, there are many blessing moments might seem simple but considered as a luxury to city dwellers like us. The living conditions might be tedious for some of us to adapt in the beginning but the simple things you experience here would bring you sense of delight and bliss that you have never had before. Watching the stars with moonlight shining over the sea, listening to the kids’ laughter, enjoying the sea breeze while having lunch along the sea, receiving friendly greetings from random people, these are probably some of the simple best things you could never enjoy in the hustle and bustle but in the land of serendipity.