Butterflies, Sword, Olive Branches and Shield.

Seven days in the Queen City of the South and one of its southernmost towns.

The butterflies are for what awaits me and not for the flight itself. If I will be going via waters, then the butterflies will be solely for that.

The butterflies’ activities are further exacerbated by the news I get about my coming visit. I feel like am on the defensive with this long overdue visit.

A friend asked me, what am I bringing with me on this visit, a sword or an olive branch? I answered with, olive branches with a tiny sword. He reminded me to not forget bringing along a shield.

My visit does not aim to throw people into a lot of bother and inconveniences. That is why I am planning to simply stay a single night in any of the relatives’ houses that will welcome a sleepover guest. If I run out of houses for the night, then I think I will simply look for an inexpensive hotel within Dalaguete or simply hike myself back to the City for a night’s bed and go back in the morning. As I understand it, the distance is comparable to the distance between Pampanga and Quezon City sans the EDSA traffic jams.

Same with meals. Am sure restaurants abound in Dalaguete. Am not squeamish. I do eat at carinderias and turu-turo, contrary to what my Dad’s relatives may have been led to believe. A snack or a morning cup of coffee is more than enough of a bother that the house owners I will be spending a particular night with should be put through.

I do not think I will run out of houses but am ready for any eventuality. I hesitate to stay more than a single night in one house for it may be construed as me being more close with the owners of that house over other members of their family. I can insist to stay in the old house. After all, I bear the Bedico blood thus I am one of the “heirs of Bedico” who are the rightful and legal owners of that particular lot and house and also, the lot beside it is owned by my parents. I have the right to expect and or insist to be given accommodations. But as I have said, I do not aim to inconvenience anyone. I am visiting not to sow more discord but to calm and clear the waters.

My visit is for several reasons:

See and experience Dalaguete. The place where my father was born. The place where my father grew up and spent the first sixteen or seventeen years of his life.

Visit the graves of Lolo Apio, Lola Mattie, Lola Rosie, and Nana Asyang. I never was informed of their day of deaths. I never saw them before they died. I never got to visit them during their wake. I wasn’t there at their burial.

Meet Dad’s blood relatives. Specifically, his nearest blood relatives. He is an only child. His mother only has one sibling. It shouldn’t have been very difficult to know each other years before.

Meet my Cebuano friends. Since am already in town, why not take the opportunity?

See Tito Primo. I have always had fond memories of this guy. He is actually my father’s mother’s half-brother. But when he stayed with us in Manila, they introduced him to me as Tito and Tito it always have been. He is about ten years older than I am and he put up with my childhood kakulitan. He taught me card tricks and magic tricks. Now I heard he is sick. I just want to see him after so many decades.

See Tita Bimbim. My impromptu visit to Cebu at age ten was when I first met her. I spent my one week vacation at their house and she was kind enough to bring me to Dalaguete for a day visit. She also bought me a Sunday dress at Gaisano so I could attend a Sunday Mass with them. She is the only one I can remember from the Salvador family. I think my sister looks a bit like her. Maputi, chubby, singkit.

Spend tons of hours by the sea – seeing, hearing, and being in the sea. The sea is something I rarely see. Although my childhood was partly spent in Roxas Boulevard, the only time I tried to ride a banca and swim in the Manila Bay, I got sick with mumps. I do get to see and experience the sea when we have outings,but it’s rare. This time, I want to see the sea where my Dad lived beside. I want to just sit on its shore and listen to its whispers and roars. Alone.

My Dad and I have talked and he has expressed his approval to my course of action if and when a certain topic will be brought up.

I hope with this visit, I will have a clearer picture of the family dynamics. I hope we all can finally put to rest long ago issues. I hope we all can go beyond the stories we all have been ‘indoctrinated’ with through the years of not really knowing, seeing, and talking to each other. I know it isn’t possible to erase in an instant all hearsays and reactions to the hearsays that have solidified and have been treated as facts through the decades of non-direct communications. I hope with this visit I can acquire more pieces into the puzzle called Dad.

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