Monday, May 29, 2006

Dumaguete mine

'Twas a wet and dismal morning, the sky a gloomy gray and tempestuously threatening rain with the few drops it sent my way. But I had gone two days without a long ride, so heedless of the weather, I broke out my bike and headed to Rizal Boulevard. Not too many folks out, either, except for the most dedicated morning joggers and strollers.

It's the first day of the week after the close of the 45th National Writers Workshop. The Fellows are back in their offices and schools, or enjoying the last vestiges of the summer. No more of the two-block walk to the CAP Building, no more thick green manuscripts to pore over and scrutinize, no more candies on a dish, and probably the saddest of all, no more panelists and Mom Edith to banter and spar with. Just the workaday ahead. And, of course, the memories.

I was almost afraid that Dad would turn the car left at Silliman Avenue instead of heading straight down Perdices. Fortunately, he did no such thing, and neither did I reflexively signal him to. The thought loomed large in my mind, though, and that was the reason I went jogging this morning. Workshop done, and it's time for me to reclaim my routine:

Bike in the mornings, alternating between the climb to Valencia and jogging in the boulevard. Open the store. Visit the construction site. Talk and plan out some kooky new plan that just might work with Danah and Jong. Write the weekly column for the Metro Post and the feature articles for PC Magazine. Go to Mass. Try to make this city a better place. This is my Dumaguete.

I don't know if I'm luckier than the other fellows or less so because I live and work here in this City of Gentle People. Am I fortunate because I am close to the memories? (Mom Edith is just a couple of blocks away!) Or am I not because of the same? (Empty seats and ghosts of familiar faces?) Ultimately, it won't matter, because...I live here, and I won't have it any other way. This is my Dumaguete.

And this is my Dumaguete, too: Lake Balinsasayo, Casaroro Falls, the caves of Mabinay and Bayawan, Apo Island and Malatapay, Valencia, Siquijor, Sibulan, Bais, Bato, Tambobo and Bonbonon. Conservative Chinese matrons and matrons-to-be and deceptively simple tycoons. Girls in tightfitting pedalpushers on motorbikes. Aggressive Indian businessmen. Friendly but hardworking Koreans. Beautiful and easygoing Persians. Life-changing sailors. And all the pretty mestiza Eurasians. The fellows have only seen a fraction of the Dumaguete that I know, and that's a little sad.

It's okay, though. Time enough for all of that. They'll come back. They always do. Because Dumaguete is theirs now, too.

Oh, look, the sun is shining again.


  1. yes, dom. you can't claim monopoly on dumaguete anymore. he he he he he. it's ours too for the taking. if i can have my way, i'll take my sunset walks along the boulevard and wait for the lampposts to flame the night. i miss my boulevard. he he he he. - darwin

  2. Sure thing. Come back anytime.

  3. ...and I left a piece of my heart in Dumaguete, so in some small way I suppose I can also claim it ;)

    Well, at least give me Bacong :P

  4. Thanks for visiting my blog, Corey. Drop me a note when you're back here.

  5. You use the English language with such eloquence. I've never been so expressive and nimble with "ininglis" (if that's even correct Cebuano), and I've been an English speaker my whole life!

    The love of my life lives in Dumaguete and I have taken the initiative to learn the important Cebuano phrases, such as "gihigugma ko ikaw" and "gimingaw ko nimo". Beyond that, I can't make sense of the Cebuano sentence structure. Who knows...perhaps someday I'll be writing entire paragraphs in Cebuano :)

  6. First... good luck in writing a whole piece in Cebuano. *smiles* I just thought I should drop a message and tell you guys that you just made me realize how sweet it is to be a native here.

    And YES, it is my habit of intruding in other people's blogs. It's a nasty obsession. Hahaha

  7. Hi, Corey: thanks so much for the compliment. I can't say that I can speak or write in Cebuano with as much facility. Mine comes out much like pidgin, what with English, Chinese, and Tagalog thrown in. But I try ;-)

    Look me up when you come back here. From the sound of things, you have a good reason to come back.

    Hi, Ingrid: oh, no intrusion. Most welcome, and thanks for visiting

  8. Hello again Dominique,

    I recently posted a new entry that was largely influenced by "Dumaguete mine", so I hope there are no copyright infringements on my behalf ;) Anyway, the title is actually, "My Dumaguete", and is a short reflection on my continuing memories, now 15 months old.


  9. Hi, Dominique! We're planning to bring our bikes to Dumaguete in March. Your blog is a very nice sneak-peek of what's in store for us in our biking adventure! I noticed you haven't posted any new blog on biking lately. Have you stopped riding?

  10. Hi, Piper:

    Sorry, only read your message now. Back injury last December (not biking related) and moved to Davao. But I'm planning to get back on the saddle soon. Thanks for visiting.