The Habal-habal Mishap

“So, get this. We were racing down this muddy, rock laiden pathway in between hectares and hectares of pineapple plantation. We just came from Dahilayan and we were in a rush because one, we had to make it before the monastery closes its gates on us and two, the rain clouds were looming and it was starting to pour. It always rains in the afternoon in Mindanao, like clockwork.

I had my big backpack in front of manong, wrapped up and waterproofed with a garbage bag and I was at the back, so we were perfectly balanced. By this time, I have no problems backriding a motorcycle. I had long days of practice in Camotes; my grip was so tight on manong’s shoulders in the morning my first time which I am sure manong enjoyed, but come afternoon, I was eating corn on my left hand and texting with my right. And I’m not afraid of a little rain.

What I was afraid of this time in Bukidnon was manong’s seemingly lack of sense of direction. He was a local, and the zipline was just on top of the mountain, and it was a tourist spot, so I’m sure it wasn’t the first he would take somebody there. But going up, he’s gotten us lost that another friend backriding another habal-habal had to come back for us. And he was slow. Granted, it was drizzling and the clay road was thick and bumpy, but we were getting left behind. My two friends were about a mile ahead of us. I just don’t want to lose them.

And then it happened. Well, I should’ve seen this coming. Manong who was avoiding a huge pothole made a jerk to the left that made him lose our balance. His cat-like reflexes got him to jump off the bike just right when it was about to fall, and I felt the whole weight of the single engine motor bike on my right leg. I was there, a bike weighing me down, the whole of my right side an inch deep in mud and manong just stood there, shocked.”

“Oh my!”, said my captive audience seated at the back of the car.

“Good thing, my friend turned her back and saw me laying there like roadkill. They rode back for me with horrified faces. I pulled myself out and up from the bike and my friends breathed a sigh of relief. And then we started laughing. We find that we laugh the hardest at the most inappropriate scenarios. And then they pointed out that my right leg was bleeding. We laughed some more.”

“So you rushed to the nearest hospital?” she asked.

“No. We rode back to the main highway. Manong picked the habal habal and my bag and I rode at the back like nothing happened, except blood was dripping down my right leg and mud was crusting over it. The mud, I think, helped. We just asked if we can wash up and change clothes in one of the houses by the highway, and then we’re off to Malaybalay. We had to make it before the afternoon mass, otherwise, we’ll be camping on the road.”

“When did this happen?!?” asked the boyfriend, who was driving beside me, now wearing the same horrified look my friends had the day of the “slip”.

“Uhm… two years ago. Remember? When I went to Mindanao with M and S.”

“And this is the first time I’m hearing of this!?!”

“…”

 

…And that is reason no.24 why you don’t date a traveler.

 

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