Huge raindrops started to fall, I ran down to the nearest covered stopover and in no time the whole town was already drenched in rain water. As much as I wanted to go all the way down, I could not risk the gadgets that I have in my bag getting wet, so I have decided to stay put to wait the rain out. That was when my not so ordinary travel story at Mt. Tapyas in Coron all started.
There were two other persons with me under the shed, one was another tourist and the other one appeared to be a resident of the town of Coron. The local and I were seated on the railing while the other tourist was standing by the edge of the staircase, his arms raised, catching the rain that was running down from the shed’s roof. After a few minutes of awkward silence, the two of them started to talk and I was just listening.
The tourist was asking some information about Coron and the local tried to answer them as much as he possibly can. The tourist asked if what the other guy was doing up in Mt. Tapyas. Was he with somebody or just by himself?
The guy in question responded that he was there since 4 in the afternoon. He said that he was going up and down the staircase offering his assistance to tourists. In the hopes of anything that they can spare him in return (food or money) as he hasn’t eaten yet, until the heavy rains fell.
By then, I already got curious with what he said, I wanted to know the reasons behind, I do not normally do it but I started to shoot up some questions too. At first, he was a bit reluctant to utter his responses but after a few follow up queries, he felt more comfortable and yielded to the questions.
Getting To Know Jason
A young man at only 18, his name is Jason and he was not a native of Coron. The story of Jason was he came from a broken home and has 2 other siblings, both girls. His family was originally from the Navotas-Malabon area in Metro Manila.
According to him, his mother was the one who originally came from Busuanga, a town near Coron high up into the mountains near the airport. His mother sent him on his own aboard a ship bound for Coron 4 months ago (from June 2016) to live with his aunt’s family who still reside in Busuanga.
The full-forced rain started to dwindle, the other tourist already bade farewell to us and set off on his way down to the base of Mt. Tapyas. I went on with my probing questions like an ‘I-Witness’ (a Philippine documentary TV show) reporter with his case study. 🙂
Jason used to help out his aunt’s family with the household chores and in harvesting rattan from the woods but he only stayed with them for about a month and then he left.
He was staying somewhere inside of Coron Public Market when we crossed paths. He was bringing gallons of water for some of the market’s tenants and whatever chores they ask him to do to get him through the day.
It was already past 8 in the evening when the rain completely stopped; my stomach was already growling. I told him that I will be leaving.
After a few steps as we were walking our way down together he asked me, as he stuttered with his words, if I can give him some money so he can buy some food because he didn’t make enough for that day.
Jason did it in a polite manner but I was uncomfortable to give him some cash. Instead, I told him that I saw a nice restaurant along the National Road. He can join me for dinner if he really wanted to eat and he agreed.
I asked him while on our way if why would he rather live on his own with no certitude? Why wander around town and sleep in any available space in Coron Public Market? Why not stay with his relatives? Jason said that he was not in good terms with his kin. He was not asking for charity all the time instead, he was working hard for the money that people give him, he added.
At Lolo Nonoy’s
We have reached Lolo Nonoy’s Food Station and went straight to the food counter.
I opted to order from the counter since I was starving and can’t wait any longer. Jason went to the drinking station and poured himself a glass of water while I was placing the order.
The servers were looking at him and throwing in signals to one another to check him out and ask him to leave.
Jason’s long hair was covering his face, he was wearing an untidy shirt but not really torn. His slippers have seen better days and he was slightly limping due to an open wound on his leg.
I told them that he came along with me before they can even approach him and ask him to leave.
I ordered some food for us to share. The food was really good at Lolo Nonoy’s. He had finished his cup of rice plus the extra cup that I ordered in no time. So, I ordered 2 more for the both of us and went back to the counter to pay the bill. I just realized how hungry he was that night when he already finished everything when I came back from the counter. But I didn’t say anything anymore.
Jason said that it was his first time to have dinner at the restaurant and he was very thankful for that evening.
Before we parted ways, I urged him to go back and patch things up with his relatives for his own benefit.
It may seem to be too naive to give in to that kind of antic. I do not know him at all, we’ve just met. I also do not know if he was telling the truth or was just playing with me.
It would be a shame if he was just making up stories. But honestly, I didn’t care at all. After listening to his story, and with the spur of the moment, I just felt that I wanted to help him even with just a simple dinner.
My not so ordinary travel story at Mt. Tapyas was an eye opener. The sad part was some people tend to look down on others who appear to be different. It was also a sort of a wake up call that made me appreciate what I have. To be more thankful for all the blessings that come my way and not to take anything for granted.
I guess this experience was one of the perks of traveling solo. You get to meet random people in situations when you least expect it.
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How about you? What is your not so ordinary travel story? Have you come across someone like Jason in your travels? Share your thoughts.