It was a word, or more appropriately, a name I have always associated with Dalaguete. Not that it carries some astonishing significance. Tinay was a college friend, a good one at that. She’s from Dalaguete, and I could not forget her strange tongue.
You know, how the native Dalaguetnons play around stresses that could easily invite laughter to an uninitiated ear. Now, I have found another name that perhaps, could add one more person to my singular, Tinay-exclusive Dalaguete:
Shane has been the subject of my fascination since he began tailing and then guiding our group who braved the who-knows-how-long walk from Mantalongon Market to the base of the infamous peak. He was with Berting, an older child guide. It was summer, he said. And that’s the time he makes use of his free hours to take advantage of the large crowds taking advantage of their free hours.
Shane, with his little build, quietly helped the ladies with their extra loads, his slippers noisily scraping the naked road. If there is one thing I would remember from my first visit to Osmeña Peak, it would be the kids.
The Shanes who scale steep slopes to supply the campers with firewood. The Shanes who deliver water for the cooking. The Shanes who guide strangers who were supposed to go back to the basic, look for their wood instead of gawking at their camera phones; make do with what they had. It’s still the same commerce whether at the base or at the top. What were we here for anyway?
“How much would you earn in a season?” Michelle asked him when tired feet and the scorching sun overhead called us to a brief stop.
“Kinsi mil.” (Fifteen thousand.)
Then and there, I recalled my eleven-year-old, Chinese garter-playing self who would happily keep a five-peso coin as if it were a gift from the Gods.