I was invited by friends for me to join them on August 5, 2013 to pick up their Rubber Seedlings that we would be getting from the Accredited Rubber Tree Nursery located in Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. Since I was not doing anything that day I decided to join them for me to explore another side of Palawan not only in terms of travel but also in terms of farming.
I woke up at around 5AM so that I could arrive in the terminal of Roxas, Palawan before 6AM, our scheduled time for meetup. But since there are not enough transportation that ferries people from El Nido to Puerto Princesa they had to wait in the middle of the National Highway for almost 3 hours until they decided that they have waited enough and will hire a tricycle to get them to the terminal of Roxas. So at 9:30 AM they have finally arrived with me waiting and almost having my second breakfast. 😀
I admit that I was a bit frustrated for me to wait for more than 3 hours but I know how hard it is to wait for more than 5 hours
ending with sleeping for the night in the middle of the National Highway just because there are not enough buses here in Northern Palawan, that’s why my frustration was short lived. When they arrived we quickly rode the van from Roxas to Puerto Princesa so that we could reach Bacungan intersection as early as possible.
When we got there the truck was already waiting for us and we rode the truck to the Rubber Tree Nursery, ate lunch and as fast as we can loaded the rubber tree seedlings to the truck. At 5:10 PM, we were ready to go. Based on the time that we left the nursery I knew that it would be a long night ahead of us.
But that night became the next night when the truck could not climb a steep hill and I could smell burned clutch in the air.
When the truck could no longer go up. We all got down and helped by pushing/pulling it up. Still it was not enough.
Then people started passing by and checking what was happening. People walking. People riding motorcycles. People with their own time. Yet all of them would stop what they were doing and help on pushing/pulling the truck up. We needed help, but before we could ask them for help they were the ones that were offering. It was heart warming to see people in a road less travelled.
Since we could no longer move the truck by man power one suggested that maybe we should get help with an engine that could give more than a horsepower by asking for help from a nearby trucker. The one who suggested also offered the driver a ride on his motorcycle and back to us just for him to get help from another person who has a truck. I liked that as most of the time people would suggest or rant on something but when they are given the responsibility they would just keep quiet and say no.
When the driver left, we thanked all the people who helped and said sorry to them for taking their time. One of them said “What if this happens to us, we also wished that there were people that would help.” in Cuyunin.
Since it was already night and we had no food with us, I accompanied Nang Medy, a friend of mine, to go look for a sari-sari store or a house that would have a food to spare. Luckily, we only had to walk around 3 minutes to find a house that would help us. We asked if they have rice to spare, they said they have, we offered to pay them, but they said no. Turns out that one of the men who were helping us lives there. They cooked the rice and they also let us borrow their flashlight since we only have a small flashlight.
Unfortunately, they did not have any ulam (viand) to spare with us so we had to look for a store and it was on the other side of the truck. So we said our thanks when the rice was cooked and quickly went back to our friends.
We placed the pot with rice on the ground and told our friends that we would be walking on the opposite direction that we came from to look for a store. They had already finished trying pulling the truck with another truck but that also failed.
We walked for about 10 minutes in the dark when we reached houses that had already turned off their lights/candles. It was already around 9PM. When we could not find a store and decided that we were gone for too long, we decided to go back. The dogs then barked at us and when we heard a shooo! we quickly called their attention that we are looking for a store. Luckily, we got their attention and luckily they were the ones with a store! They opened up their store for us and we bought 4 cans of sardines and even gave us water to drink. They also offered a place to stay for the night. We told them that there’s a really high chance that we would be taking their offer but we still have to ask our friends.
And so at 11:17 PM we were finally able to have dinner in the middle of the road and in the middle of nowhere.
During the meals we found out that the clutch lining was totally burned and would need to be replaced. That would mean someone among us would need to get find a mechanic, bring the mechanic to us and extract the clutch lining and head to the town proper of Puerto Princesa City (more than an hour away) to buy a spare part and go back to install it. There was no chance for us to that in the middle of the night, that’s why we decided that we were sleeping there.
We told them of the offer for a place to sleep, the truckers decided to sleep on the truck since they did not want to leave it. We did not want to leave the truckers in the truck alone but we did not have enough place to sleep in there so we decided to take the offer of a place to sleep in.
We returned the pot with cooked rice and we still borrowed the flashlight, walked back to where our friends are and then walked together going to the store. There we were offered hot coffee since it was cold that night and a place to sleep in.
During that night, I thought of my class the next day. We did not have any signal on where we were and my phone’s battery was already empty. I could not text my students that we were stuck and we would not have classes. Since I can’t do anything about it, I decided to not think about it and just sleep.
Early the next morning we had coffee again and breakfast at where we slept in. And cooked more to be given to the truckers.
When we arrived the driver was no longer there and the staff of the truck told us that they left around 5AM for Puerto Princesa.
While they were gone, we decided to help the truck go up the steep hill by bringing some of the rubber seedlings to a higher point on the hill.
We returned the flash light and the pots that we borrowed and thanked the people who let us borrow their stuff even if we were total strangers.
Since we were still near the nursery, they got word that we were still there they helped us bring the rubber seedlings up and load them back to the truck. Thanks for helping us out again.
The truck was fixed around 3:30 PM the next day. We loaded the rubber seedlings again and at almost 5:30 PM we took off back to Roxas to where the seedlings must be delivered.
We arrived at Roxas around 9 PM and finished unloading all the seedlings at around 11 PM. We also had helped from the community for unloading the seedlings at that time.
I was tired and a bit cranky from the long day but I was really glad that it was finished and I could sleep and rest to recharge for another day.
It was all thanks to the people who helped us that our problems were not that heavy. Thanks also to the people that I was with, as they were not nagging on the problem as we all know we could not do anything about it, we just have to help in what little way we can and not burden those who can do something about it.
I know that there’s little chance that I would be able to pay back the people who helped us.Â What I can only do is pay forward to other people and in my little way, lessen the stress of others who’s having problems.