Workspaces: Odiongan, Romblon

I know, I know. I said I’ll try my best to keep up with this blog.

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A week ago, I went on a field work to Odiongan, Romblon. We had just gotten back from Tagaytay for a team-building seminar (It went okay, except we had to feel a couple of earthquakes) and I have not slept well since Sunday.

From the port of Batangas, Odiongan is an 8-hour ferry boat ride. The port is mostly flooded by tourists going to Calapan, Mindoro or Puerto Galera in the adjacent island–you’ll know just by their big hats and neck pillows. Those of us who just want to get to work, or go home, look like grumpy people who are too tired to fix their hair, all wrapped up in a loose jacket, with a small baggage in tow. We are going to camp, and we have yet to know what we are dealing with. We are likely to sleep through the entire boat ride. And we did.

We left the Batangas port a little before 6:00 PM, and got to Odiongan around 4:00 AM the next day.

Odiongan is the center of trade and commerce in Tablas Island, the largest of the three islands of Romblon. Some consider it the real capital of Romblon—not Romblon town proper. Odiongan seems to be a one stop shop for its neighboring municipalities; the banks are here, the public market, the province’s main state university, hospitals and province capitol.

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While we were going around town, we saw the riverside and the sea. A long stretch, a boulevard of fine sand and people running around with nothing to worry about. The sun had been unforgiving for weeks now, and this was a breath of fresh air.

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At night, they took us by the beach–we sat on the sandy shores, with no light around us but our phones. The boats were parked around us from a day of setting sail, and there was nothing to see but real midnight blue. Going to the waters, you could still see how clear it was; white foams would still form when sea kisses the shore, and waves would still make the crashing sound we like to hear, taking us away. Above us, there were no clouds to hide the cluster of stars. Before us, the horizon lined a string of pearls from the far city lights. Everything was impossible to capture in a photo, so we gave up and embraced the cold breeze.

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An ugly photo, I know. 

It was a fairly short trip; three events, and we were on our way home. We had felt another earthquake–this time stronger than the one in Tagaytay–and we thought we would not be able to ride the ferry home. Thankfully, we came through.

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We watched the sun set from the viewing deck of the ferry. They had turned off the a/c inside the cabins, and so people were forced out of their bunkbeds to see the skies and seas.

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For us, we had beer by the railings, watching our boat wrestle with the water below. The color of the sea turned from soft blue-green to a deep emerald, and then to an almost-blue black. Over the horizon, the sun was hiding behind a thick cloud. On the other side, the moon had shown its face, along with a couple of stars. (A fellow passenger had asked, “Will the stars ever run out?” I wanted to answer him, but he seemed convinced they will not fade.)

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Sun setting
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Moon rising

Our hairs were salty from the splashing waves, and we smelled like the ocean. It was a beautiful feeling, a balm to the soul, a wonderful sight to see, that we are indeed on our way home.

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