Monday, September 2, 2013

The Kindness of Auntie Cubic

Kindness on the Road. Auntie Rose and Auntie Cubic opened their home to a solo traveler

I was already feeling sore after missing the boat going to San Jose in Dinagat Islands. At 11:30 a.m., I haven't had my breakfast yet and my body was a bit tired after a painful van ride from Butuan City to Surigao City. The scorching heat that day was taking its toll on me and I was growing impatient walking in that crowded boulevard while asking random people for the next boat going to Dinagat. I was on a solo trip, and I was feeling all the more alone at that very moment.

I got a tip that a boat is leaving at 12 noon. I rushed to the docking area, and sure enough people were crowding up to the ticket line. I saw a rainbow somewhere, such a relief to be in that boat!

The lady next to me asked where I'm heading to. She was surprised when I told her that I'm on a solo trip to Dinagat Islands and that I have no one to meet or stay there. Thinking that Dinagat is not among the country's known traveler destination, she called me courageous.

We got in the boat together. We were led to the upper level of the boat, close to the captain's pit. We were seated much comfortably there and I reckoned the situation in the first level was a bit rowdy.

I noticed that almost everyone in the boat seems to know her, and everyone calls her Auntie. It was along the course of our conversations did I know that the lady I was seated with is someone famous in Dinagat. She is a retired judge, a well-respected lawyer, Auntie Cubic.

After almost two hours boat ride, we finally reached the town of Dinagat. We walked a few distance from the wharf and reached Auntie's place. Living with her equally kind sister, Auntie Rose, their house towers in that poor village.  But unlike the flamboyant palaces (literally) of the Ecleo's, theirs is a simple bungalow house. 

I was delighted to have been invited to stay overnight, and given that there are not so many hotels in Dinagat, the invitation came as a great luck. That night, I slept peacefully in a modest room with clean and crisp bed linen -- for free!

The best thing I remember about staying in their house was how lively the conversations were in the dining table. In between delightful meals and cups of coffee, I've learned a lot about the situation in their province, their hopes and dreams for their people. I had the opportunity to see the other towns of Dinagat, and  witnessed the deplorable situation in the province. I learned that not more than 10% of the roads there are well-paved and education is not given much attention. In a place where the faith of many people revolves around a "Master" whose currently at-large and is hunted for murder, and whose family also takes on the center stage in politics, like Auntie Cubic and Auntie Rose, the only thing its residents could hope for is for a positive change to finally come in their poor province.

It also brings comfort to listen to the wisdom of two ladies who had a lot to share to a confused wandering 29-year old woman like me. One of the rewards of travelling is meeting random people whose kindness and openness strikes you to the core. Somehow, your faith to humanity is restored.

At the end of the journey, you realize that no amount of material wealth would be enough to repay them other than that of paying forward to other people you meet the same kindness that was bestowed on you.

I left Dinagat Islands the following day. Sad as it was to leave the two ladies behind, I told them that hopefully, someday, I'd be able to visit then again. I'll miss them both.


  1. I've experienced the kindness of strangers many times especially when we couchsurfed at Vietnam and Brunei. :)

    "There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven't yet met."
    -William Butler Yeats

    “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
    ― Mark Twain


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