It was my first official day of traveling solo in my 7-week backpacking adventure. Feeling excited and just a little scared, I bade goodbye to my friends bound for Manila while I headed to the port in Ubay, Bohol, with boat trips to Hilongos, Leyte. From Hilongos I would be taking a van to Tacloban City, where my host waited for me.
At Ubay port in Bohol, pumped up for my first day of solo adventure
On my way to the port entrance, I met and chatted with two friendly Hilongos locals. As I planned to wander for a bit while waiting for the boat, I said goodbye after some minutes and said we might see each other at the boat later.
When the boat arrived, though, I could not find my two new friends. The boat was filling up fast, so I decided to settle beside a quiet young woman who looked no older than college-age. She is a local from Tacloban and headed there, too, I learned as much. I tried to hold a longer conversation, but she was the silent type – polite, but not speaking too much. I was not even able to get her name. I gave up and just enjoyed the view of hills, clouds, and islands rolling by.
On the middle of the trip I finally spotted the two Hilongos locals farther up front, with a vacant seat beside them. I thought of transferring there, but for some reason, I felt that I should stay where I was, beside this quiet lady.
I did, and as the boat docked in Leyte, she told me that I could go with her to the van terminal. I followed her and she led me to a van which gave us free transit to the van terminal. I wouldn’t have known about that van had I not gone with her!
When we arrived at the terminal, though, the van operators said they were on their last trip and that they would not be able to accommodate all of us. There were no more bus trips to Tacloban, either. Some of the Tacloban-bound passengers complained, frustrated that the van operators could not wait for the last batch of passengers from Bohol.
I realized that I might not be able to make it to Tacloban that day, but somehow, I did not feel afraid. I told my quiet acquaintance that we might luckily be able to ride a bus – who knows?
We waited for around 15 minutes until a barker announced that there was one more seat for one more passenger in the last van bound for Tacloban. My acquaintance turned to me and said, “Take it,” with a surprising forcefulness and intensity so uncharacteristic of her earlier silence. I protested, but she was firm. I headed to the van, and amazingly, no other person was going there to claim that last seat. While I know my feeling had no logic whatsoever, I felt that that seat was meant for me.
The quiet woman kept her eyes on me as the van doors closed and the moment we rode away. I vigorously waved to her in gratitude.
Thanks to this woman whose name I was not even able to get, I was able to have the last seat on the last trip to Tacloban that day.
There were other angels, other strangers whose kindness surprised me during my seven-week Visayas adventure, but I will never forget that first encounter. It set the tone and my belief during my solo travel that indeed, while I always have to keep my wits about me, I am always protected, and there are always people out there who can help me.
Angels, messengers, kind strangers, or whatever name we call them, are always there to come to our aid.Someone is always there to help, if we open up to it. (Photo from Microsoft Office)
It could be that person who arrived just in time to save you from an accident – that classic situation angels come to help.
It could be those friendly locals who go out of their way to ensure that you arrive safely to the place you want to go to or ensure you have somewhere safe to sleep at night. In Samar, I could not reach my supposed host and guide. I had hardly researched about Samar and was clueless. A stranger-turned-friend I met on the way helped me find an affordable place to stay.
Or it could be someone who just says one seemingly innocent thing that takes away your weariness from a long day and makes you feel warm inside.
No matter how simple or monumental the situation, I believe angels are always there to help.
How about you? Have you also been saved by an angel?