Old folks are generally perceived to be grouchy and grumpy as they live out their remaining years of life whether at home or outside.
Short-tempered, impatient, demanding, sentimental, sensitive, and entitled because of their oh so precious senior discount cards and age would be some apt descriptions for them.
Now try getting a group of late 60s senior folks to travel together for almost a week, staying in one house not a hotel, for four guys even staying in one room, eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time, riding in vans to go from one place to the other, for the menfolk, drinking whatever is available at any time, even in the vans, and for the women’s side, shopping together and exchanging talks about their better or bitter halves.
And that is exactly what happened to our group of 12 seniors—all members of Paco Catholic School Batch ’72, including spouses for some, when we flew to Albay and went around in two vans for side visits to Camarines Sur and Sorsogon, experiencing both the joys the travails of the young once traveling together for a vacation.
Aside from making sure that one has packed everything—the maintenance medicines, cell phones and chargers, jackets to protect brittle bones from the assumed cold and rains and whatever—one had to make sure to be at Terminal 2 at around 3:30 a.m. for our 5:45 a.m. PAL flight.
Couple Cecile and Yong Quimbo came all the way from Iloilo and proceeded straight to the airport.
The forgetfulness began on this writer’s part when he forgot to wear the prescribed 50th year reunion t-shirt, but the group understood it perfectly.
And it was a norm throughout until the end, on our final day, we were 10 minutes away from the house when we received a call from the caretaker asking who left behind an item tied with a red ribbon. Atty. Joey Zulueta knew at once that it was his wife’s, and the female van had to return for it.
The story with Joey and wife Fe did not end there, we were already in Legazpi when another call came, two cellphones were found under a pillow, again Joey had an idea as to the owner. He knew he brought 3 phones with him but there was only one left in his shoulder bag. Before that, he also dropped some money in the room and remembered it when we were already out.
The fact is, it was the interrogative sentence form that was the most used by the group, like “have you seen my….?” or “now where did I put my……,” or “now what was I supposed to do?”
Anyway, except for one spouse of a batchmate, we all made it and landed at the Daraga International Airport before 7 a.m. and proceeded to Biggs resto in Legazpi for breakfast, then to the Air B&B house in Tabaco rented by balikbayan Bong Nocon, he also paid for the round trip plane tickets for all 14 of us, bless him. We shared the expenses on the food, vans, and the good times. The women had a grand time shopping, the men did not.
This writer was in one room with Bong, Jojo Arcilla, and Jose Aramburo who has settled down here for good from California, and countless hours were spent relating on and off the record stories about personal matters. Even exchanging survival tips on how to have a good time and get away with it with the wife. Bong even strongly recommended that men of our age should put on their underwear while sitting down to avoid losing balance and fall down, and he was speaking from experience.
Even as the weather did not cooperate, except on the day the group left for Manila, it did not prevent them from going around, a lot of questions though were asked when Bong suggested we go to Naga around two hours away to hear Mass when there were nearby churches. But how does one argue with the one who paid for the trip?
Ironically, the timing was off and we did not complete the Mass at the Our Lady of Penafrancia church but managed to visit the Jesse Robredo Museum that was open even on Sundays.
Good place to visit, thanks to the pretty guide who toured us and related anecdotes about the man who could have been president if not for his untimely death in a plane crash.
We also got a chance to visit the Quitinday Hills in Camalig, Albay’s answer to Bohol’s Chocolate Hills. It featured a 450-step climb to the first view deck, and another 100 steps to the second deck for a view of this natural attraction.
The group was divided into two, the wise old fools and the old fools. Five of us belonged to the latter and did the climb, me despite my quadruple bypass in early 2021. The wise ones stayed behind.
Misibis Bay resort, far as it was from Daraga, was beautiful even when it was raining. And it was a pleasant surprise that the food prices were not as expensive as we thought.
Mount Mayon was playing hide and seek throughout our stay, and when we visited the Cagsawa Ruins, she was in fully hidden mode and did not show herself up. At times, parts of her would peek, like when the group went to Lake Bulusan and along the way, the majestic volcano showed herself in full view. The Zulueta couple also bought crabs to take home, even as they had shrimps and crabs for lunch there. This writer stayed at home with Bong who was not feeling well.
Dining together was always an enjoyable experience, complete with selfie photos but more so when Mila and Hector Garcia celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary and treated the group to dinner in a nearby resort owned by a college classmate of our class valedictorian Nonito Garcia who brought his wife Norma. We had the whole place for ourselves that night.
The highlight and fun part of that evening was the roast and toast part, which this writer emceed plus the compatibility test for the two, with questions like when did they had sex the last time. A week before, they replied, and we all agreed to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Last question I posed for the night was how would they rate each other when it comes to sex, they gave contrasting reasons but Hector got the higher mark of 11 on a scale of 10. Unfortunately for her, she only got 8.
Our last night’s dinner was at Socorro’s, a lakeside restaurant in Sumlang Lake in Camalig. We visited this very instagrammable place late afternoon, even rode a bamboo balsa, and when the night set in, we were rewarded with the view of the place ablaze with Christmas lights.
For the boys’ night out in Malilipot, what happened in Albay stays in Albay and this writer’s lips are sealed, but it was good clean fun, most of the time anyway.
Overall, everyone agreed it was a lot of fun and it should be done again, and again.
Certainly the joys trumped the travails.