Tacloban has been my home for a month when i worked as a marketing dietitian in Bethany hospital. As a matter of fact, it was my first working experience. Many people say it was so brave of me to get a job so miles away from my family without even a relative on that place. Deep inside i asked myself too and my answer was, the eagerness to feel the real world spur me to accept the job offer.
The travel from my province (Negros Oriental) up to Tacloban takes me almost a day. It felt so strange to be in a city where you dont know anyone and spoke differently. The city does not excite me either. It’s almost like Dumaguete, but i just don’t know why it made me a stranger so much. It was way far from my expectation. Movie houses are mediocre. There is only 1 mall during that time, the Gaisano. No big bus yet traveling to Ormoc, only V-hire and that comfortable coaster (i dont know what’s the name of it). Good thing though people are warmed and they welcomed me with a big smile, polite and respect. They helped me feel at home the best way they can.
A blooper hit me one time. I roam around the city and as insane as it may be, I attended a catholic mass (i am a protestant by religion). The mass has a particular schedule for an English mass and a waray mass. Unfortunately it’s waray mass when i got there. So I giggled and laugh at myself after the mass as i dont understand any word from it.
The daily challenge was to learn their dialect so i can deliver my job well. I have to know the waray names for all the veggies and fruits. It was hard for me to picture a dish on the menu due to a waray terms being incorporated on the names of the dish. My job required me to established rapport and to communicate perpetualy with the people in the kitchen -the cook, the foodserver and the assistant marketer. The catch is, they know no other language than waray.
The struggle with the dialect and the feeling of being homesick made my stay in tacloban complicated. I had a fever that runs for two weeks and my lab results showed that i had a psychosomatic illness. Thus i chose to give up on my job in less than a month.
I dreaded the city so much because of the distance and the dialect. Before i step on the bus on my way home, i swear never to come back again.
Dear Filipinos, friends and relatives bloggers and whoever read this who are in the giving end. Prayer is best but their heiarchy of needs are totally screwed up. The lack of water, food and shelter made the people in Tacloban desperate. Let’s bring back hope to the people in Tacloban and help them in any ways and means .
To my workmates and roomates in Bethany Hospital you are in my thoughts and prayer. Hope to hear from you one of these days.
-Ate Eday, i still have this souvenir you gave me. I hold on to this. I pray you and your family were all okay.