There was this undeniable rhythm to his every paddle. A smooth motion like a clock gear yet with precise force enough to propel his sibid-sibid, a local term for a small boat, forward. I call him the “man in the middle”, as he was positioned on the starting line with four others participating in the Bankarera 2015 competition, one of the key events of this year’s Isla Rancho Festival in San Pascual, Burias Island, Masbate. While the “Man-in-the-middle” was nowhere ahead at the race launch, now here he is pitted neck-and-neck to another strong paddler. Who will win this race? I never thought a small boat race like this would be exciting to watch.
It’s funny how sometimes in travel; events lead us to unexpected places and persons. Strangers at first meeting then it come to a full circle when we suddenly realize the degree of separation from the people we know. It makes travel so interesting. These thoughts were running in my head as our boat sails back to mainland in the pitch black darkness of the sea from Hagonoy Island. With us on the boat was Aling Ambing, the former governor of Bislig and the owner of the island herself. So how did we end up with her esteemed company again?