Two weeks before my Eastern Samar trip I felt pain on my left knee whenever I go up stairs. Being the procrastinator, I did not have it checked here in Metro Manila. I had to suffer climbing up the flight of stairs to the airplane and many other circumstances.
Finally, after a text message from Jules that the caves of Samar are the best, I decided to cancel some plans to give way for a doctor to check my knee hoping that it would heal in time for a cave adventure.
My homebase in Eastern Samar was at Balangkayan. I asked my cousin where is the nearest hospital, he answered that it was in Borongan and it will take me a 40 minute to 1 hour multicab ride (30 minutes for private vehicles) to get there. What happens when someone is in a real critical medical condition do they have to bring him to Borongan? Yes!
I took a ride at a multicab going to Borongan (P30) and took a tricycle (P8) to Doctor’s Hospital. Which took me about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Went in and asked the nurse on what I should do to have a consultation. Filled up some forms and then waited for my name to be called. I noticed that there were only about 7 specializations in the list of doctors in the waiting area, plus the specialization to doctor ratio is 1:1. I grew up in Manila where there are many hospitals, on each hospitals there are many specializations, and for each specialization there are many doctors. No wonder many go to Manila just to see a doctor who can cure complicated sickness.
I then met the orthopedic and when he learned that I was a traveller he told me that I was lucky to be able to meet him the first time I went to the hospital. I asked why. He was the only orthopedic in the whole of Eastern Samar. I commend him for going to Eastern Samar.
I was then diagnosed with Jumper’s Knee and to heal I should take a rest for about 3 months and not do something like walk across San Juanico Bridge from end-to-end. Woops… Goodbye Samar cave expeditions!
Transportation cost: 76 Pesos – back and forth
Price of the checkup: 250 Pesos
Total: 326 Pesos – almost minimum wage in the province
When my cousins learned that I had an aching knee they recommended that I go to a Manghihilot. Remembering the last childhood memory I had with a manghihilot, he had a bowl of water, made hot candle wax drip to it and depending on the shape of the candle wax he would figure out what spirit or dwarf was making pains to me before he proceeded with the hilot. My cousins laughed when I told the story and said that maybe it was a mangkukulam.
Desperate. Interested on documenting the ways of the manghihilot we then went to the one they call Manong Oscar.
Manong Oscar doing hilot to my knee
Manong Oscar is the famous manghihilot in the central region of Eastern Samar and is usually called to baranggays to make hilot to many people. My cousin said that he was good and often he is the first line of defense to any type of pain that the locals feel.