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Knowing that 2011 will be a busy year for me, I decided to take an early vacation, this Christmas 2010. My main purpose is actually to return a Masbatenyo-English Dictionary to my second-degree uncle, Mr. Recolito Cantre, Ed.D, DepEd Supervisor in Masbate, whose wife, Tita Nora, also works in DepEd-Masbate. I borrowed that book in October 2007 during my last visit to them. Below is the book cover, which I retrieved from the web.

Since as early as November I was planning for a vacation trip, I decided to take the flight promo of Zest-Air. The cheapest trip was on December 25, and the cost was around P 1,400.00.  Good is that I was able to celebrate Christmas, both in my parish and in the family (Noche Buena). That is why, immediately after the Eve Mass, I packed up my things. Of course, my parents approved of my plans, though at first they were hesitant. Nevertheless, I was able to convince them of my plan to visit Masbate City, though my parents originate from the town of San Fernando in Ticao Island.

December 25 (Saturday)

At 2am, I was fetched by a taxi left for NAIA Old Terminal in Pasay City. The plane left at 5:25, and landed on Masbate Airport at 6:45. I had breakfast at Jollibee with the aunts of my co-seminarian in San Carlos, Kali Llamado, at whose house I will stay in before visiting Uncle Rey.

At 8am, I arrived at Mayor Grace’s house in Baleno. Knowing that I have a friend-priest from San Fernando (who is parochial vicar of St. Raphael the Archangel Parish in Aroroy), I took the chance to visit Fr. Paolo Cervantes. Then, at 1 pm, I joined Kali and his mom in their visit to Msgr. Hermas Laurio in Milagros. We had our Christmas lunch there. Arriving back in Baleno, Kali toured me to the municipal hall and to the parish, Our Lady of the Pillar Parish, with Fr. Lorenzo “Butz” Bautista as parish priest (succeeding Msgr. Laurio in 2009).

Last December 7, 2013, Kali was ordained priest for the Archdiocese of Manila.

December 26 (Sunday)

I arrived 7am at Uncle Rey’s house in Masbate City. I attended 9am Sunday Mass at St. Anthony of Padua Cathedral-Parish. The presider was Msgr. Ismael “Maeng” Misolas, rector of the Cathedral, who was the Vicar-General before the time Bishop Bong Baylon was transferred to Legazpi. Around noontime, I decided to go for a visit to a friend seminarian in Mandaon, where the rural bus arrived at 3pm. (I recall, I have a friend-priest from Pasig who hails from Mandaon, anyway.) I was fetched by Michel at their parish, St. Bernard Abbot Parish. I stayed at their house, met his family, was toured to the port. I had good time “kamustahan” with my katropa. We even watched “Detective Conan” live action DVD after supper.

December 27 (Monday)

Michel accompanied me to the terminal, where I took a van at 6:30am back to Masbate City. I had my breakfast with Uncle Rey and Aunt Nora, and shared to him my experiences in Mandaon. But then, I had to go to another trip – as far as Pio V. Corpus, to visit some friends there. Exactly 10am, the bus left the terminal, and arrived in Corpus at 2:45pm. I was fetched by Jong, a minor seminarian, and was lead to St. Roche Parish, met Fr. Jesus Tamayo, parish priest and Rev. Ryan Bona, to my surprise, is a relative of mine from San Fernando. What a small world! What surprised me more was the fact that Jong’s family was “foster family” to a group of San Carlos theologians who had their summer immersion program in the Diocese of Masbate way back in 2005. They were Milver Cruz (now parish priest of St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish in Bagac, Bataan), Herbert Camacho, and Tristan Laforteza (deacon in the Diocese of Novaliches, at present). Indeed, such a small world! Uncle Rey even knows Jong’s mother.

Jong introduced his classmate, a neighbor, Jeanpierre. The three of us had good time sharing stories in our own seminaries. I also had bonding with my primo, Rev. Ryan. The people in the rectory were so good and accomodating. Life in Corpus was so simple, that I even thought I was like on an apostolate. Nevertheless, the experience was enriching! Before sleeping, I made kamusta with a co-seminarian from San Carlos through unli-call. SMART. hehe.

December 28 (Tuesday)

Free day still in Corpus. We had lunch and dinner at Jong’s house, and walk from their house to the parish. There was a long power interruption during that night.

December 29 (Wednesday)

I arrived in Masbate City in 8:30am. I visited the Cathedral, the Chancery, St. Anthony High School Seminary (SAHSS) in Kinamaligan. Of course, I met again Msgr. Claro “Boy” Caluya III, the seminary rector, and Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Masbate, whom I consider a very good friend and spiritual father. I last met Msgr. Boy in San Carlos last Oct. 5 (during Mission Tuesday Mass) and Dec. 2 (just a personal visit). I too met the other formators, Fr. Marvin Corbita and Fr. Francisco “Noy” Abada, Jr. At 6pm, I visited a friend seminarian in A. Mabini St. That night, I had bonding moments with Uncle Rey and Aunt Nora.

December 30 (Thursday)

I had lunch at SAHSS. It was the birthday of Fr. Noy. I bade goodbye and “thank you” to Uncle Rey, Aunt Nora, and Msgr. Boy. It was time for me to return to Manila. At 3pm, I rode the fastcraft for Pilar, arriving there at 5pm. At 5:10pm, I took the aircon shuttle bus “Mega Bus Lines”

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