two years ago, while working on our college thesis, rhea and i (plus her chaperon), boarded an inter-island pumpboat on our way to nonoc island just off the coast of surigao city. it was january and it was raining. the seas were rough and i hesitated for a moment whether we should take the trip. considering the size of the pumpboat, it's not unlikely the boat could capsize, and who knows, that could have been the end of us.
but having flown all the way from manila to do a quick weekend research, there was no other choice but to take that only trip to nonoc.
the anxiety i felt, i would soon find out minutes into the trip, was not unfounded. aboard the pumpboat, we had to take cover from the waves that seemed to batter the wooden boat. we had to slow down to lessen the impact of the waves. at one point, the boat completely stopped because one part of the boat's supporting poles (katig in bisaya) broke. good thing it wasn't the main pole, otherwise the boat would have listed.
imagine the horror of watching the whole thing from inside the boat. i wasn't scared for myself (because once you die, you wouldn't really know what happens after, right?). but i was more concerned about what will happen to rhea. i was responsible for bringing her there. if not for that ambitious project, she should've been enjoying a movie that weekend. whatever happens, it's my fault. i don't think i can live with the guilt should anything happen to her. it's one of those rare times i was wishing i'd rather end up dead.
as luck would have it however, we survived the trip and we're still alive. we finished the thesis, graduated, and well... you know what happened next. (He really must have plans for us, eh?)
and so when i heard the news about mb leonida 2 sinking off the coast of surigao, it struck me as something frighteningly familiar. not only did it happen in surigao, the pumpboat was of the very kind we were in. it could've been us, it could've been us.