Journey back to Zambales...
College Life and Monsoon Rains
I was a college freshman at FEATI University in Manila. Aeronautical
Engineering. It was 1st semester of 1972. Classes started in July. College
life was good.
Anyway, the story starts out in the September timeframe (I
hope I got it right). Anyway, it doesn't really matter in my old age which
week or month it happened in. I just remember the events like it was just
The monsoon rains have been pouring down for weeks now.
Central Luzon is flooded. Manila is flooded. Schools have been
suspended.... and will stay so until the rains and flood waters subside.
Everyone in college and in the Central Luzon area can never forget this
The Journey Begins
For me and some of my kaili college guys, we figured on going back to
the province. We'd rather be stuck in San Felipe than be stuck in Manila.
There were 6 of us to start. There I was, Gaylord, with my cousins Chito,
and Erning at our boarding house in Sta. Mesa. We waited for the arrival of
Felix and Reggie before heading out to the Victory Liner station in
Caloocan. We left early about 7am (I think) on a Wednesday. A Wednesday
we'll never forget... and laugh about in amazement for years.
just getting to the bus station was a long journey through flooded city
streets. I don't need to describe Manila in those days. Basically no
different than today's Manila. Anyway, we got to the station and had to
bully our way on board the buses. All 6 of us. There were no waiting lines
in those days. We then met up with Narding in the back of the bus. Now
there are 7 of us. Of course, we were happy just to get on the same bus.
We are now headed home via an adventure that would last the next 2
days.... instead of 4 hrs on a normal trip.
Portions of the Caloocan
Victory Liner Station was flooded. This is why all our feet, shoes, pants,
and some our our baggage were already soaking wet. 5 of us settled at the
back most bench. The overflow 2 ended up in the seat ahead of us. We left
the station and headed north on the Super Highway toll road through to
Malolos Bulacan. The traffic backed up and after 2-1/2 hrs, we got past
Malolos. Half an hour later, we stopped again. This time, we had to wade 1/2
kilometer through almost knee high water. We ended up on another Victory
liner and got a transfer. We finally got to San Fernando Pampanga. We got
off. No more Victory Liners. We walked another 1/2 km through water and
got aboard a minibus (Teems). This minibus took us another hour to the
next Victory Liner bus terminal in Pampanga. We got on a Victory Liner bus
(now we had to pay our fare anew). We got as far as Lubao in Dinalupihan,
Gin for Dinner
We got off at the crossroad in Lubao just short of the bridge entering
Dinalupihan town proper. Floods stopped all vehicle and people traffic
over the bridge. Besides, it was about 6 pm by that time. We found
ourselves at the back of yet another Victory Liner bus that was also
stranded. The bus driver assured us that we will try to drive to Olongapo
in the morning. We found ourselves at the back seats as well.
We were very
well wet, tired, dragging, getting short on funds... and hungry. The local
panaderia had already run out of pandesal and breads. We were only able to
buy a biscocho for each of us. Almost all drinkable liquids were bought dry
from the stores. We pooled our money together. We gave back enough for
each of us in what we estimated was needed for any remaining bus fares to
get us home... at least to Olongapo.
What we had left was enough to buy
two Coke or Pepsi bottles (I don't remember which) and the remaining
articles on the shelf of this bakery cum sari-sari store. Two quatro cantos of
Ginebra San Miguel gin. YES! GIN! At least we will be feeling good that
We piled back on to the bus. We started drinking. College kids
do that, you know! Although there were 7 of us to share in the gin, we
invited 3 more guys to drink with us. I don't remember who they were, where
they were from, or even their faces anymore. But we drank. We got drunk.
Of course, drinking on very empty stomach does not good to your body. I
remember at least two of us vomited in the back. I must have been reeking of bad smells that night..... but we were drunk!!! We were
happy......until we had to wake up in the morning. HANG OVER!
At Last.... Olongapo City
I did not vomit, but one of the others
barfed on my
pants leg. There was more vomit on the floor a ways away. The folks at the
seat rows ahead of us were grumbling.....I can't imagine why!!! Anyway, we
got up and off of the bus, went to the flood banks and did our best to (at
least) try to wash ourselves (kind of ) clean. We did not bother to get
back on the bus. We decided to wade across the bridge and see about
catching another ride in the town proper.
The current was rather swift, but we were able to wade
through the 1/4 km stretch. We then caught a minibus that would finally
take us into Olongapo. Of course, we had to pay the fare. The minibus had
to slow down a couple of times because of the flood waters, but we made
pretty good progress, considering. We got to the zig-zag road and it was
now safe to go the higher road speeds.
We arrived to the outskirts of Olongapo City and are
greeted with floods again. The minibus could only get close to the
municipal city office complex. It was almost 1 km of water to wade through
to get to the Victory Liner station. We did. We got to the station by 11
We got onto another minibus at the station that would take
us to as far as it could. It took us as far as Barrio Nagbunga in
Castillejos. We got off and waded another 1/2 km to where a Victory Liner
could take us further. The Victory then took us all the way to Alusiis in
San Narciso (Ceres' home barrio) in front of Zambales Academy.
We walked about 1-1/2 km to get to the base of the
Macolcol bridge or "Long Bridge" as we called it. The approach
to the bridge was out. It is now 5 pm. However, there was a 100 ft. long
rickety bamboo walking bridge that was fashioned out by enterprising folks
that would place a toll on you to cross "their" foot bridge. Of
course, we paid. This got us to the top of the bridge, where now, we could
take a tricycle into San Felipe. All 7 of us finally arrived in San Felipe
aboard 3 tricycles at 6:30 pm on the 2nd day. We were still wet, tired,
dragging, no more money... and hungry. BUT WE WERE NOW HOME!
  
    
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