After my lonesome sojourn in Toledo City, two years after my marriage, I was enticed by my friend to cross the Tanion Strait and looked for a greener pasture. I had my son ( tojie) already when I decided to live there in San Carlos City. It was at that time when sugar as a “bread and butter” in the economy was already declining. As a part of the oath that service to the needy shall have no borders, I felt I have also my right to take an adventure there.
The auntie of Lemmie, my wife, was working in that City, as a Pharmacist in their hospital. Since I was young, It did not take any time to be accommodated as a Resident Physician, in their City Hospital. Dr. Peral was the Director, and if he is still alive today I wish to thank him for his goodness, and also to Dr. Ong, who was the City Health Officer. They are very generous persons, and I felt so disappointed for not having a good communication with them on my last days there.
In spite of the hospital’s inadequacy, at the very least, we were able to serve the Public well. With us at that time were Dr.Oscar Jagdon (decease) Dra. Fe Besario, and some visiting Private Doctors in the vicinity.
I am also thanking Big Ben of Buluangan, a cousin of Lemmie, and the son of Tia Mocring. i can not forget these people, they were very good to us. Okay, I understood that my stay on those places was also part of my disappointments, knowing that my relatives sounded to be so passive in their help in my quest of immigrations. Their feeling at that time was that because I was already a Doctor, I don’t need any more help. But I can’t blame them for their shallow understanding of my situation. Also, that I was already married, and they misunderstood me of some sort of not wanting any more to go abroad. So, I went to San Carlos City. Dr. Jagdon who was fondly called by all as “Oca”, was so good to me. She was married to a lady name Lydia, and they procreated already more children. I like the people who were serving the hospital too because they also showed their unforgettable hospitality to patients, visitors, and to me.
San Carlos is not a strange place, and most of the Boxers there who are world rated, were very familiar to us, like “Titus” who was Carl Penaloza, rated as one of the contenders in the world welterweight and fought against Paul Fuji. He lost but he had made history to the town. Then after, he worked with us as an orderly. If you converse that guy, you would be amazed by his ordeal as a boxer. He earned a lot of money, but someone in his relatives defrauded him. I pitied him so much. He was a friend indeed. I was his family Doctor, and when his children like those Champions, were admitted during their pediatric years, I was the one handling it. And San Carlos City is so proud of this Boxing Family. I also remembered a guy named Vannie. He was a son of the Borja Family there. one of those known people with Hacienda in that city. I made friends with them and made some experiences, worthy to be remembered only in the “brain”.
In that hospital, we performed all form of Medical treatment and Surgeries up to the level where we were capable, and the Hospital too. Naturally, being a Third world country there were always loopholes. Like logistics, we were always short of that. But mostly, we tried and read the books, once we met patients who had a confusing diagnosis. Or sometimes, we will refer it or asked advice and guidance from a friendly specialist in Cebu City or in the Hacienda’s Hospital there. There were so many incidences there, that sometimes I counted it as a miracle because of most, the patients couldn’t afford to buy medicines that will last for the duration of the treatment. We may sometimes beg from botica’s for assistance, like using samples that the drug agent may give to them. Our sample wouldn’t be enough, unless, a drug agent may happen to be there during the admission. We found success after they were released from the hospital.
My best recollection there was when the City health officer requested one of us, to conduct an autopsy to a victim of violent crime in one of the mountain barrios. Because of my need of money to finance my trip and stay in Cebu city, I accepted the challenge. My wife at that time or on that week was her expected date of Delivery. I remembered one saying that when a person in the middle of the sea, who doesn’t know what would soon to happen, and you throw razor-sharp bayonet, he will grasp and cling to it, whatever happens. That was the thing in my mind.
As far as the Police blotter recorded, it was a case of a victim, beheaded by a group of mountain thugs, wanting to rob him of his proceeds of a sale of his carabao. I felt also incline to help this victim, by reason that he needed justice. So, before the journey, I went to the engineering department to find out the actual terrain of the site. And it was situated along the boundary to the other side of the mountain posting already to Guimaras sea. But I found it hopeful when I read the map and along its route, mostly the area is already passable with Cars. So, I went to the police department if it would be possible to use their service jeep. So, since the police were very cooperative, everything was all ready. By the following day, with two policemen and one guide, we were already on our way climbing to the mountains. We whistle a lot, on all kinds of music, until such time we arrived at the top. The terrain at the top was so plain and was even planted with sugars, but it was still three hours. There were lots of houses and I am very much impressed. But one police said to me it was still very early. At noon time, we have to eat. I brought with me two sardines and a couple of “puso” (wrapped up rice with coconut leaves). then we proceeded again, And in the middle of the sugar plantation, the farmer’s road stopped. The engineering roadmap was actually not finished. So, we don’t have to blame anyone, and as usual, we dismounted from the jeep and walked. Our guide who was a mountain boy, sometimes can not be caught up, he walked so fast. At three o clock or five hours already, we were still on our way on very treacherous pathways, it was too slippery, and inclining maybe 45-degree angle, and sometimes you circled the mountain, and along our way sometimes, you will see well-develop rice terraces, small but very beautiful. And when inside a foliage of trees, you will be surprised by the zooming sounds of a group of birds innocently amazed by your presence. And at five o clock or seven hours walk, we were already on another plateau. The surrounding was like a small village, and maybe about a hundred meters, was a bamboo house, and it looked like there were people who were having a celebration. And most of the people there were holding an unkindled torch. I asked my police companions, maybe it is time to ask for food there. But the guide told us to be careful because sometimes people there add poison to foods for strangers. So, I felt cautious. Sooner, a group of people from that house came closer to us, and he was smiling, and welcoming us. He said ” maayo kay na-anhi gyod ka sa amo, Doctor”.( I am so glad that you were able to visit us, Doctor) I am very surprise too. When the old man told me that they were having a celebration for his daughter, who had been saved after a severe vaginal bleeding. Yes, then I remembered that the patient was mine, I was the one who discharged before going to this journey. He was the most respected person on the mountain. I was very happy, it will also save our hunger.
But the police secretly told me, that they have seen two guys in the group who were most wanted criminals and they were armed. And also told me that this place is the criminal nest in the mountain. They have their own law. ” we only see one house, how come they are so many?” and the police answered. “there is a cave there at the cliff, and it would not be easy to operate in that area”.No wonder that the victim was beheaded. And at the side of the house, you can see some people playing or gambling ” hantak” ( toss coin). lots of money, my friend. Most of those were proceeds from selling wild coffee, and that is in Ganta or big cans. Some of their money are from a robbery. I felt a little bit scared, so I went upstair and asked the old man, that we have to leave so that we can reach the place earlier.There along the way, was a sprouting spring, although cold but very palatable to drink.After that, we again walked. Then, maybe thirty minutes later, we saw a group of banana trees, just a hundred meter away. And our guide told me that ” oh doctor, iyon na”( doctor, that’s the place)pointing to the place. So I said that is ten minutes more. But the guide never made any comment. But it is on the other side.
A while later, in the grassy outlook, there was a sort of fogs that cover around. And along its side was a small hole where we can peep the depth ravine, or creek, just like a canyon, wherein the bottom, you can see a tree which is taller than a 5 to 6 storey building, but can be seen like a tomato plant. So deep my friend. The downslope was very slippery, and we had to take out our shoes or else, you will be dragged or rolled down the cliff. We held hands together to prevent us from falling down. And in every step downward, you have to hold a root that formed like a vine crawling at the side of the cliff. it took us almost one hour downward. At the bottom where big trees, and a crystal clear water. I have to drink again, very thirsty, my friend. We walk eastward at the bank, and the guide later told us to cross the river. Yes, it was not deep, but the water that soaked our pant was so very cool. And at the back of a shiny stone, was a small trail or track going up, the same length as we went down. But at this time we felt already the slipperiness. I put my shoes in my neck, and let my toes and my fingers synchronized in gripping any stones or roots so that we can gain pace upward. It was so very deep until we reached the top. It was already 8 pm and it was night time. There at the plateau, we found a Group of Bananas, and it was the site where the body was separated from the head. But there were people waiting for us who were bringing petromax, and torches. It was like a circus in the area. I did not wait for more time. We examined the corpse and its head, the Police took pictures, and we measured the height, asked about the name and other pertinent data. And also, the other Police was also working with their duties and inquired information about the incidence. They prepared foods of all kind from root crops, to roasted chicken, but never mind about the distaste feeling, just eat and be full whatever. Because we knew the ordeal of going home.
By the following morning, we went home, but if there is another route, it would be better. That was my request to the guide.
So, another route was followed. At this time, although very far but a little bit better. The route was closer to Kanlaon City. When I arrived home, all parts of my body was in pain. I was at bed for one day. I always remembered that experience. And I am so glad to have it too.
Lemmie delivered a twin in Cebu City, City .and those kids had their baptism inCity.To name a few here are their sponsors, Dr. Peral, Dr. Jagdon, Atty Wee, Packing Ramas, Fiscal Tabinas, Fe Painaga and maybe, Virgie Aragon, much much more there. In conclusion, I love San Carlos City.