Ormoc at last! Despite not having made it to the midnight boat for Cebu, I was just glad that I finally reached this city at around 0400H from Tacloban. Its been a year since I’ve last visited this place while I was in transit to Guiuan in Eastern Samar to shoot the church there for the book. But back when I was still based in Cebu, Eastern Visayas was part of my area of responsibility and have constantly been here for work as well as leisure.
Its a small city and the domain of a few rich families who dominate local politics as well as businesses that were offshoots of the sugar industry. It was also here a little more than two decades ago when the tragic Ormoc flood happened and wiped out thousands of its inhabitants. But now, walking through the quiet streets, its a distant memory and no trace can be found of the event unless one visits the memorial near the city center.
0400H is really too early in this city that I contented myself with a quick snack at the only 24 hour Dunkin Donuts shop. With nothing to do as the internet cafe that was open at that time had connection problems, I greeted the break of dawn at the wharf. And really, its a great sight with all those glorious colors of dawn, the rising sun and silhouettes of fishermen plying the still waters.
There’s nothing really much to do in this city but if you are adventurous enough, Lake Danao in Tongonan is really a must see place. Like other mountain lakes in the country, it is fabled to be bottomless and enchanted with at least a life being claimed yearly. It is also teeming with tilapia as big as a large dinner plate that the locals catch with a spear and bangus (milkfish) called awa, which are said to be huge.
As for pasalubong, moron and binagol trickles in from Tacloban but I would prefer the cassava cake and kuchinta here.
There are two fast ferries that ply the Ormoc – Cebu route: Supercat, the pioneer with its more expensive fare and Weesam which started with the now defunct Zamboanga – Sulu – Tawitawi route many years ago. It’s also the earliest to travel to Cebu which I took.
I’m nearing home. After two hours, I finally reached my destination. Had a much needed bath, an early lunch, looked back at the almost 30 hours of no sleep negotiating the entire length of Makati City to Cebu via Bicol, enduring the fatigue and all I want is just to lie down on my bed and rest. Its the end of 2007 and I was finally home with my family.