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 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.
I asked Manong Oscar on how the hilot works. He said that he was just helping the circulation of blood by removing or applying pressure to the points where blood flow is restricted. Somehow, the manghihilot is much like a chiropractor.
Before we went to Manong Oscar, my cousins told me that he does not ask for a fee but he does accepts any amount of donations, even if it was just a small amount like 5 pesos. Same donation procedure with the manghihilot in my childhood memory. Curious on what he will do when I ask him how much I should pay, I looked him straight into the eye while having a conversation and then changed the topic by asking him frankly. He suddenly became silent, unsmiled and removed his gaze from mine. My cousin explained that I should put my donation on his bag because he will not reach out for the money nor ask for it. Unfortunately, this is the part where I was not able to ask him why they do it.
We went back to Balangkayan and Manong Oscar went to a baranggay where he was being summoned to make hilot to someone.
Transportation Cost: 16 Pesos
Donation: 50 Pesos both for me and my cousin
Total: 66 Pesos
As of writing, I am still suffering from the Jumper’s Knee and am happy that my condition is improving. If you think you can kick my ass, do not forget that I still have my right leg to kick yours.
Follow my Tacloban-Basey-Eastern Samar Series by checking the links below
Eastern Samar Destinations
- Hagnaya Beach in Salcedo (Awesome!)
- Divinubo Island Eco Tour Park
- Minasangay Island Marine Ecological Park & Resort
Guiuan, Eastern Samar Subseries
- Getting Around Guiuan (Guiuan Travel Guide)
- Bridge to Calicoan Island
- Beaches of Calicoan Island (Awesome!)
- Dumpao Beach Resort
- Airport Town of Guiuan
- Parish Church of the Immaculate Concepcion
- Guiuan Transport Terminal
Basey, Samar and Tacloban City, Leyte Destinations