The writer Merlie Alunan had written once about Cebu being a stop for layovers and, in her case, how quick were these layovers. She was right. You do really spend only a relatively short period of time in that “Queen City of the South,” for whatever purpose that stop will be. You either take some quick break from prolonged bouts of office stress, or would have some days needed to do extended work-related chores there. Time here on earth is really too short for visitors of Cebu City to spend much much time there. 

I did have one layover, and more, in the Dakbayan sa Sugbu. Within three quick, yet seemingly long days, I moved in and throughout the metropolis, riding in jeepneys whose routes are marked in alphanumeric codes, walking through centuries-old historical haunts and expanded malls, trying to recall the city that I once grew up in, and became distant from, for almost two decades. And started to reconnect with her, again.

Maayong pagkita usab, Cebu.
In some cases, remembering starts from a blur. The last clear scene that I remember before departing from Cebu City’s Lahug area was of that wooden-framed apartment, which is two stories high and is being fronted by an iron-grilled gate. In between the apartment and the gate was a small depressed part of the ground, filled with pebbles in dry times, but also with puddles of water during the rainy season.

Second day of my visit, I can’t make out the apartment (or if is it still the same apartment?). What I saw disoriented my eyes: wooden-framed apartment, two stories still, but painted with color blue. Absolutely nothing familiar. Zilch. Nada. Wala. Wa jud.
And so it was, I tried to pull out of my memory, like handkerchief from a shirt pocket, all I had last seen of the apartment.
Somehow, the blur lessened.

*** To be continued***


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