‘Mind over matter’. I have always lived by this mantra, specifically when threatened or scared. When my mind begins to entertain uncertain thoughts and feelings, I always try my best to keep calm and win over the situation. In most cases, I succeed; but there are times when great despair overrules – just like what happened the other night.
On my third attempt to get a passport, I scheduled an early morning appointment today, October 30. This happened two months ago. A month after that, I was invited to join an extreme caving adventure in Samar dated October 27 to 29. By just looking at the schedule, I know it’s a suicide. But I was born a risk-taker and a firm believer of the “if-it’s-meant-to-be-it’s-meant-to-be” ideology. Instead of cancelling one of the two events, I even got excited on how the universe will conspire to make it happen. Idiot.
Fast forward October 29.
The extreme caving activity ended at noon – earlier than I expected. I could have concluded my Samar adventure by then. Could have but didn’t. Instead, I joined the group and headed to another adventure (an hour of rough road ride + fifteen-minute trek) to Lulugayan Falls. It was already five in the afternoon when we returned to the town proper and waited for a ride bound for Tacloban City. Since it’s a Sunday, most vehicles are full. It took us thirty minutes before we were able to get a ride to Leyte. The ride took an hour. My newly-found friends were positive that I would reach the last trip bound for Cebu that time. They gave final instructions on how and where to get a ride in going to Ormoc City as they’d be staying in Tacloban. Yes, I was going home alone.
Because it’s already Semestral Break and some were already enjoying there long vacation from work due to the upcoming holidays, I was the only passenger who booked for a trip to Ormoc City. I was instructed to wait a little longer for the other passengers. By seven fifteen two other passengers came. The three of us became the only passenger of the v-hire for that three long hour trip.
Upon arrival, I immediately crossed to the port area and asked the attending security guard if the last trip departed already. He said no and asked for my ticket. Of course, I didn’t have such so I asked where I could buy one. Instead of answering to my query, he pointed the ticketing office which was already closed at that time. There was no way that I could buy the ticket; there was no way that I could go back in time for my DFA application. So I resorted to Plan B: I asked for the schedule of the next trip. My world crumbled into dust when he said 7:30am the following day. I didn’t know if it’s because I was sleepy or if I was too exhausted or simply because my brain won’t accept such cruel announcement… everything moved in slow motion. I felt like crying. My backpack became heavier as I retreated to the gates of the port. My brain won’t function anymore.
Just when I was about to blame myself such fate, the moron and binagol vendors started to asked where I was headed. I’m not really fond of sharing my sentiments to strangers (aside from this blog) but I felt the need to fish for sympathy at that time so I told them my predicament. Ironically, they revolted. A woman held my hand and another one gently pushed me back to the entrance of the gate. They pointed the only open boarding gate and instructed me to get inside and appeal to the crew. I hesitated at first knowing the guard will stop me from getting there. But they were persistent. It took a lot of courage before I paced. I tried the “mind over matter” mantra but it’s not working. My brain was becoming more and more pessimistic.
Unlike the remaining passengers who went to the cashier to pay the terminal fee, I directly went to the guard assigned for the x-ray machine. By the look on his face, he knew I was a disaster coming his way.
I shared to him my sentiments. That the ticketing office was already close. That I don’t have anywhere to stay. That I had to be in Cebu by morning. I don’t know if heavens have heard my plea or if he found my words genuine but he consulted his immediate head (who was so strict and scary) before calling the crew of the ship then asked if it’s possible for me to ride. It was to longest two minutes of my life.
The security guard asked me to pay the terminal fee. I tried holding my emotions. It can’t guarantee success yet. He sent me to his immediate head (who reprimanded me) before leading me to the exit where some crew were waiting. It was totally embarrassing to be labeled as “the one without ticket” but I had to take my pride and continue. The moment I boarded, the boat prepared to sail. I was sent by an apprentice to his head and there I explained again. He then processed everything and returned with the ticket. If this had been an MMK story, the title would be so easy to predict.
I held no one responsible for this turn of events but myself. This is the price of all those nasty ninja trips – the drawback that has been long waiting to happen. A lesson that would always remain with me every time I’d see security guards and vendors. I wished I had taken their names or photos, but probably some moments can’t be captured – and usually, they are the best (or worst) and the most life-changing that could ever happen to a person. Truly, Ormoc City is the home of beautiful people – inside and out. I’m not sure if they’d be able to read this but surely I’ll thank them the next time our paths cross. And of course, to the Supreme Being who made such twisted (but full of learning) kind of fate and for making those people an instrument of kindness and wisdom to others: I hope to become one too.
Whew. That was heavy. How about you? Have you experienced such as well? Care to share your thoughts about this? Connect with me thru Facebook and Instragram for more crazy thoughts and dwellings and how we can go about them.
PS. Please don’t follow what I did. Not a good example. Not a good experience. Not because it worked for me at that time, it would work on you (or me) for the second time. Again, this is technically against the rules. I hope you found the reflection somewhere between the lines and didn’t confuse them for something else. See you on trails!
UPDATE: Three years passed after this unforgettable experience and I haven’t still used my passport. Am I just unlucky? Or still not really for me? Read here why.