My friends and I had the time of our lives in Dumaguete, where we spent our post-graduate internship. Most of us actually weren't friends friends, to start with, but no one can live in the same rickety wooden house and roam the same wards and eat the same food and have the same adventures without feeling a certain affection towards each other. We did all that, and more.
Jo Anne and I had been planning our return to Dumaguete for sooooo loooooooong that we even had our itinerary all figured out. We would arrive there on a Saturday. At City Burger, we would eat grilled chicken (Jo Anne) and pancit (me). We would visit Lee Plaza and pass by Cafe Noriter, for old times' sake. We would eat lechon manok and liempo at Sr. Pedro's. (For some reason, the Sr. Pedro there is much much tastier than the Sr. Pedro anywhere else.) We would eat pancit at Chin Loong. Maybe sample the garden salad bar at Bethel. We would order pizza and our rice meal of choice at Neva's. And we would take a stroll along the Boulevard and have our photos taken by the giant trees. I even wanted to stop by La Cavitena for the lomi. (What can I say? I'm a pancit person.)
Clearly, Jo Anne and I missed the food the most. I mean, we missed the people the most, but we obviously weren't all of us gonna be there, so the food's the next best thing.
(And when I say Jo Anne, I mean, you know, Jo Anne, the traitor who didn't actually go to Dumaguete last weekend!!!)
THIS is all about what Ria and I did. (And Jeanette as well, much later on.)
Back during PGI year, Ria could eat a City Burger chicken 24/7 (it was one of the few restaurants that delivered to SUMC and didn't charge an extra fee for it), so we headed there first.
Here are two enduring Dumaguete trademarks: Lee Plaza and motorcycles.
The city also has its fair share of the non-motorized two-wheeler.
And, of course, this ubiquitous, motorized three-wheeler. When I first arrived in Dumaguete, I was bewildered when Brian told me there weren't any jeepneys or cabs. "But how do you get around?!" I wondered. Not anymore.
We then stopped by Sans Rival to pick up silvannas.
Chin Loong was deserted when we passed by, and anyway we were still full from our late CB lunch.
This is Ria standing in front of Don Atilano.
The Silliman, um, museum, I think.
Ah, and here's a strange sight: KFC in Dumaguete? Could it be true? Has the long-wished-for finally happened?
And then we spent some time in Portal West, where Ria spent a fortune in clothes.
Finally, dinner at Cafe Antonio, where we probably spent more time posing than eating.
We turned in early (so we could wake up early the next day for our trip to Sumilon) but not before taking a short walk down our beloved Boulevard.
The same places...but not all the same people were there. We had hoped to relive all the good times we had. But things change. Dumaguete will never be the same as it once was for me and my friends. I sometimes think: I shouldn't have visited. But, in the end, I'm glad I did, if only to learn the bittersweet lesson that one can never really, truly go back. Except in memory.