Happiness and loneliness

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Sunday, May 11, 2014


BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental--As I wrote this column at the pre-departure area of the Bacolod-Silay International Airport yesterday afternoon, I was not able to hold back my tears as I bid goodbye to my brothers and sisters as our three-day family reunion ended earlier in the morning.

Our reunion was held in Talisay City, Negros Occidental. It was hosted by my elder sister, Dr. Gloria Nalzaro-Pution, a principal in one of the public secondary schools here. After three days of companionship, bonding, sharing food and thoughts, reminiscing on our childhood and leisure, the most difficult and painful moment was to say goodbye to my loved ones. After happiness came loneliness.

There are no really dull moments when you are with your family, especially when you seldom see each other. Although we all live in the country, we live in different places because of our respective professional callings. Some of my siblings came all the way from Zamboanga, Dipolog, Puerto Princesa and Iloilo and one here in Talisay.

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The six of us have been very close since childhood. Our parents made sure we were close and taught us to help one another.

Although petty quarrels and bickering are unavoidable, these are easily patched up. We don’t quarrel over money and the little property we inherited from our parents in our hometown in Dipolog City was divided equally. Way away sa kuwarta ug katigayunan kay gamay ra man. Mag-away ang mga igsoon og dako ang masunod nga katigayonan sa mga ginikanan. Unya naay mga bentahoso.

Our mother, Nanay Doring, was our common denominator, when she was still alive. We often visited her and held our reunions there. But when she died five years ago, we decided to hold our reunion every two years. And the event over the weekend was our second family reunion. I hosted the first reunion in Cebu in 2011.

The advent of new technology like text messaging and the availability of social networking sites have helped strengthen our family ties as we communicate almost every day to reassure one another that everyone is okay. But there is no substitute for physical presence when you can personally interact, hold, touch and embrace your loved ones. Hasta la vista, hermanos y hermanas. Adios.

***

For those who have not been to Bacolod City, the new airport is in Silay, some 20 kilometers from Bacolod proper. It’s a two-story building with upgraded facilities for the convenience of travelers. Its location is beautiful as it is situated in the middle of a vast sugarcane plantation. Passengers don’t have to worry about the aircraft overshooting the runway and hitting a mountain or falling into an ocean.

The transfer of the airport from its original location in Bacolod City has contributed to the economic activity of neighboring cities like Talisay and Silay. The two used to be sleepy cities, but now their economies are booming. Although we can still see old Spanish-style houses, not far from the city proper is still undeveloped agricultural land. These cities don’t have big shopping malls yet.

One of the tourist spots in Talisay City we visited as part of our leisure was the Campuestohan Highland Resorts. It’s a well-developed mountain resort ideal for lovers and families. They call it “little Tagaytay” because despite the sunny weather there is the ever-present cold breeze. The resort has a long zipline and a bicycle line where the bicycle is connected to a cable wire. It’s like riding a bicycle up in the air. No one yet in Cebu has come with this concept.

What we have in Barangay Gaas in Balamban, where most mountain resorts are located, are only ziplines. JVR Island in the Sky Resort, which is owned by Talisay Mayor Johnny delos Reyes, which is also in Gaas, has a cable car.

***

Airline companies are offering a unique way of checking in for the convenience of passengers, especially for those without luggage to check in.

Cebu Pacific has mounted a touch screen computer near its counter. The passenger can input his/her ticket reference then the passenger’s name will appear on screen. The passenger will choose what seat number he/she wants and a stub will come out. After that, the passenger can proceed to the entrance without going through the hassle of lining up. I experienced that in airport in Bacolod.

Pardon my ignorance since I’m not a frequent traveler. I don’t know if they have that at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport because on my way to Bacolod last Friday, a member of the Philippine Center Aviation Security checked me in ahead of time.

Naniguro lang ko nga dili ko ma-late kay 3 a.m. momata.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 12, 2014.

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