Driven by shame, I turned back, along with Jefran. Chica, Geraldyn and Kareejil continued their walk. Then, a man riding a yellow motorcycle stopped to talk to us.
“Do you have an appointment here?” the man asked.
The man was talking to Jefran, but Jefran just responded with a scratch on his head and went away. For the man to not treat it as a disrespect, I said, “No, sir.” [Note: that the conversation was carried out in Tagalog, I just translated it for the sake of World Wide Web.]
“Then, why are you here?” the man asked.
“We just went here to see something.” I said.
“From what school are you from?” he asked as if he was interviewing.
I was troubled by that question. The possibility of him calling our principal and complaining about trespassing students is high, so I hesitated to say it. I looked at Kacielyn and realized that I need to say it. Our uniform is very distinct, and he can even read our school name in our ID laces.
“Systems Plus College Foundation.” I answered.
“Why are you exactly here?” He asked again.
This time, there was Kareejil to help me out, and she told the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. She said that we have a play in English and that we are asking permission if we can shoot inside. She also asked if we can enter the function rooms, and what are the things that we are going to do in order to be allowed.
He parked his motorcycle in front of the café for a while and made us wait around the fountain. I was amazed by how beautiful the venue is. The fountain is part of the entrance to the main hall. It is surrounded by a splendid garden and ten foot pillars. The fountain is covered by a translucent dome, making the sunrays spread among the splashing waters of the fountain. Chica is wow-ing really loudly.
Kareejil asked if we can see what is inside the hall, and the man granted us an all-access trip inside the hall. He opened the white royal door. The door has big golden handles, and opening it is like entering in a palace.
The towering mermaid statue standing on a circular pedestal in front of the hall went out of the view when they already closed the door, but the next scene was more breathtaking. Everyone said a “WOW” upon seeing the interior. The ceiling was unreachable in height, and the length is endless. There are many sculptures, mostly golden, and the walls are decorated with Da Vinci-like life-size paintings.
There is another room, and upon opening it, another world turns to life. In it are dozens of tables, each with a dozen bronze chairs. There is a stage near the middle of the room with two seats. Still, everything inside is Greek!
The next room is a dream. The man opened the lights and on the seemingly endless ceiling appears a mass of floating candles – a chandelier! There are four chandeliers in the room, and when alight, they lift the mood of the whole room. The third room is filled with Greek furniture – a brass mirror with a winged god’s statue below, a table with different images engraved on its edge and a room surrounded with stained glass, both in the ceiling and in the walls.
The whole trip is a journey onto another world. I have personally seen for the first time the world of the rich and famous and how far their world is they from us. Moreover, it seems that time had stopped, and that my eyes were suddenly filled with images. The thrill of being in a new place is very extreme – it is like every step you take, there is a sigh that you will release.
We went out, and of course, our trip will not be complete without a picture. The view is spectacular, and I was taking tons of pictures all the time. After the breathtaking view, we took a picture in front of one of their mystique doors. One, two, three.. CLICK! What we don’t know is that rain clouds are gathering from afar, and we are in great danger.
We walked from Grand Palazzo real to a terminal of jeepney with a clump of half-naked men chatting on the grass. The danger was there, but we ignored it. Jeepneys are less frequent at this time, and we can see that the skies have now darkened. We asked ourselves if we should just split into two separate jeepneys, so that we can go home earlier, rather than waiting an empty one for all of us to fit. Fortunately, a jeepney arrived, with a fair number of vacant seats. It is not enough for us, but since we are in need of going home, we just boarded the jeepney with some of my classmates sitting in the lap of my other classmates.
Kareejil unboarded the jeepney first, then a few minutes after, we followed, leaving Geraldyn and Emy on the jeepney. Along with me is Jefran, Claudine and Kacielyn.
From Jefran’s instruction, we boarded the C-Point Hensonville Holy route. He was with us throughout the trip. We were all tired, and then I was delighted upon seeing the almost dried up Abacan River, because it signifies that I am not far from home.
Jefran unboarded the jeepney first, and right after he unboarded the jeep, the incredible twists of fate happens. It was like one of the most embarrassing days of my life. Promise me, see me after the damage has been done on me, I look terrifyingly terrible.
Rain began falling hard – really hard. The whole world was like pouring the whole Pacific on one small spot. After the rain, the jeepney began to stop. The wheels are not spinning, but the driver is pushing the “gas” pedal. He tried for almost two minutes, for he does not want his trip to be cancelled, because that may mean a cancelled dinner for his hungry family.
Fortunately, the jeepney moved. But unfortunately, the fortune did not last long; the jeepney had stucked again. It was terribly raining, and the driver tried to push his luck for another two minutes.
Soon, he gave up, and asked us to board the jeepney behind. I raced the other passengers so that I can be the first to sit in the empty jeepney. I’m dreadfully wrong. As I was holding my bag on my head so that my head won’t be wet, I saw that the jeepney is reaching its full capacity. I just sighed a bad word in my mind and still continued my walk to the jeepney.
Everyone was selfish, as they do not want to take a bath in the rain. Monsoon rains are really punishing, a second’s bath at it will cause you wet hair and wet uniform. Make it two seconds and you’ll get a totally wet look.
I asked the woman to give me some space to seat, for I noticed that her sleeping daughter has so much space beside her. She moved over, but only just a little bit. Of course, I do not want to spark a war inside the jeepney, so I just sat uncomfortably. Claudine is racing frantically. Of course, no one wants to be left alone in the rain in an unfamiliar place.
Claudine just sat in Kacielyn’s lap, and Chica sat in front of us. They were all noisy, as if they have escaped a volcanic eruption. One old woman in front of me sighed, “Like an evacuation center.”
As the jeepney moved, the weather worsened. Floods are extensive on the streets, and everywhere the jeepney turns, there will be a river going downstream. The driver’s windshield is merciless to the countless droplets of water blurring the view, and the wheel is being endlessly tortured with floodwater.
Chica said, “Here we are,” and he told us that it is time to unboard the jeepney. He tried to ask if the jeepney will still go to Main Gate, but he is not.
“Claudine, prepare your umbrella,” Kacielyn told Claudine, the only person among us three with an umbrella on hand…..