February 4, 2018, Sunday.
I decided to join my friends from Dubredo Army to go to Naga City to unwind myself from the stress I’ve been facing lately. Yes, we decided to go to Naga City, the hometown of our beloved Vice President Leni Robredo. The members of Dubredo Army came from different cities, has different professions, auditors, teachers, MA students, marine transportation and others so it’s really a tough charade for us to match our schedules so we had no other choice than to settle on a Sunday.
This was the time when Mayon Volcano in Albay started emitting ashes causing disturbances to the residents nearby the Volcano. Once we heard of it, we, the Dubredo core group of admins, agreed to give our own shares in order to buy face masks for the people of Albay to protect themselves from the harmful effects that the smoke might cause to their health. We would also like to thank the people who donated and entrusted Dubredo, special mention to my fellow DDS and friend, Mr. Christian Arrieta and others. We managed to gather over 1,000+ masks a week before we went to Naga buying boxes of it from Bambang in Manila where medical supplies are very rampant. We even haggled a bit to be able to purchase more quantity of it (lol!).
- Unwind and have a tour in Naga City.
- Turn over face masks to Naga City Hall for the Albay residents.
- Visit the Earthquake Cafe in Robinsons Naga where Duterte Red Velvet shake and VP Leni Mango Banana shake are served.
We decided to go to Naga City instead of Albay because it’s quite unsafe during that time (Kakasimula palang mag-alburoto nung bulkan, we cannot hahaha!) After purchasing the masks, we started to feel troubled to where to turn it over once we reach Naga City, we are going there on a Sunday, we tried communicating with DSWD but then they said that the don’t have anyone to attend to us on a Sunday — no office hours. We started to worry because I’ve been busy that whole week with exams, quizzes and acads, I can’t help in finding an office to have our donations turned over until Friday night. I messaged one of my friend, N (I’d like to hide his identity with such initial for some privacy.), to ask him if he can suggest where can we turn over the donations once we arrive in Naga. He sent me the number of Ms. Laarni from the Naga City Hall.
I was so grateful so I messaged her and she said she’ll be willing to go to the office early in the morning to accommodate us as we turn over our donation because our expected arrival in Naga is around 7AM. I didn’t really know much about Ms. Laarni but I was really grateful that she was willing to go to the city hall kahit na wala naman talagang working hours every Sunday and she doesn’t really know me or our group because N just sent me her number but man, nag-effort si ma’am. Thank you talaga.
The Dubredos departed the Raymond bus terminal in Cubao around 10PM, Saturday, if I remember that right and took the 7-8 hours bus trip to Naga City. We arrived there around 6AM. It’s very seldom that I ride a bus or commute but I enjoyed this one, no wonder why VP Leni loves bus rides.
We ate lugaw and some soup as we arrived in Naga City bus terminal before we went to the Naga City hall through a tricycle. It’s so cool because tricycle rides there only costs P8.00 per head! Compared here in Manila na from TIP Manila to SM Manila, P50. lol.
We had a quick chitchat with Ms. Laarni as we turn over the donations to the city hall office. I really didn’t know much about her because I don’t have a facebook account to do a background check of who she is and it surprised me to know that she is actually working at the city hall and she personally knows VP Leni, my soul mom (Duterte is my soul dad lol!).
After then, she accompanied us to Jesse Robredo Museum when she knew we were planning to go there. The museum was free and most of us really look up to the late DILG secretary, Jesse Robredo so we really gave time to go around the museum. Sobrang aga namin doon, we don’t even know if the museum is already open but the guards and people there accompanied us anyway and welcomed us, they knew we were Duterte-Robredo supporters, they looked amused, I was proud. We’re for unity! Hahaha!
It’s raining nung lumabas kami nung JMR museum pero go parin sa pagpapapicture. Minsan lang yan noh.
Honestly, I was really hesitant to enter the JMR museum because whenever I see Sec. Jesse Robredo, his photos and videos and all, I get the sigh of “man, I wish you’re still alive.” I have this fondness feeling for him like the fondness feeling I have for dad (Rodrigo Duterte). But then my Dubredo friends convinced me to go so I went in. As I look around, I had that sigh feeling again — as expected. It suddenly crossed my mind, what if Sec. Jesse is still alive? What is he’s the one who ran for the vice president position and won and he becomes the vice president of dad? Parang indestructible yung tandem ng President at VP non. Imagine electing people with so much devotion and love for the country and people at the highest offices in the government. Okay, I’m being dreamy now. Let’s move on.
Ms. Laarni waited for us to ride a tricycle before she left us and said goodbye. After then, we went to Eternal Gardens to light a candle for the late DILG secretary, Jesse Robredo’s grave. However, we failed because it was drizzling when we arrived there so we just prayed and saluted him.
We rode a jeep to Robinson’s Naga afterwards to finally try the President Duterte red velvet shake and the VP Leni mango banana shake from Earthquake cafe. We were hyped because we saw these shakes from instagram upon browsing the #Dubredo hashtag so we thought we had to try it bilang mga Dubredo social media volunteers kami.
As we ordered, the waiters expressed their amusement when they discovered that we are for Duterte and Robredo. We asked them if VP Leni tried visiting them already, they said not yet so I immediately texted Ms. Laarni to tell mom to try it sometime. Try niya si Duterte Red Velvet 😛
We went to JoMckayl Apartelle to check in for a few hours to rest through a e-trike from Robinson’s Naga. It’s my first time to ride such vehicle so I really enjoyed it. We asked the driver if he knows where mom’s house is and he said yes, he offered to drive us in Dayangdang street without any additional fee.
Mom’s house is actually very simple. When you see it, you won’t even think it’s the house of the vice president of the Philippines. It only shows how simple her living is. Kung sabagay, she was once a PAO lawyer for women rights and I heard that sometimes they make their clients stay there before and there are also times that they make their house the venue for goods repacking. It’s just as simple as dad’s house in Davao City, very simple and so much like a common citizen’s house. Hindi mansion, hindi bongga at yayamaning bahay. After driving us there, the driver drove us to JoMckayl Apartelle.
We rested for a couple of hours at the apartelle, some of us took the chance to use the bathroom there and freshen up. As I take a nap, some of the Dubredo went back to Eternal Gardens to finally light up a candle because it stopped raining.
Around 5PM, we checked out of the hotel and went back to the terminal to buy our bus ticket back to Manila then to SM Naga to eat at 1st Colonial Grill and try Pili Ice Cream and the Sili Ice Cream along with our dinner. Suddenly, miss Laarni messaged me where are we, I told her we’re in SM Naga eating dinner. She asked us what time will we be leaving Naga, I told her around 8 or 9. I thought she was just checking on us that’s why she’s asking so I continued bonding with the Dubredo and ate our meals.
After a while, some of them went to the comfort room, one of our members stopped by the House of Pili boutique to buy some pasalubong. Surprisingly, we saw ma’am Laarni with a little kid grabbing some pasalubong too. I was glad to see her again, I approached her and thanked her for the accommodation earlier. I waited for her to finish buying before I say goodbye and tell her na aalis na kami to the terminal.
She went to the side and knotted the paper bag of delicacies, I approached her again and said “Ma’am salamat po ulit, mauna na po kami.” I told her and she suddenly said “Teka sainyo ‘to.” Then she handed me the paper bag of pasalubong, I was stunned. “HALA.” I uttered in shock then she smiled and said mom (VP Leni) told her to buy those pasalubong for all of us, Duterte-Robredo supporters. I didn’t see it coming but I wanted to hug Ms. Laarni because she really rushed to SM para maabutan kami and para maiabot saamin yon, I really really appreciate it. She even told me that mom was glad to hear that we’re in Naga and that we went there to donate, when mom knew we were there (mainly because ininform niya si mom after we donated sa city hall), she said na mom told her na asikasuhin kami and she really did *shed tears*
For the record, we donated face masks not for recognition but to help. Gusto lang rin namin na magkaroon pa ng further objectives as we visit Naga City aside from the fact na gusto lang talaga namin i-try yung Duterte and Leni shake sa Earthquake cafe. We didn’t even expect that mom would actually hear about it and express her appreciation about it, sobrang bonus lang talaga yon.
After we bid goodbye, I approached the Dubredo and handed them the paper bag, “Galing kay mom (Leni).” I told them and their faces manifested how surprised and shook they were. One was even on the edge of crying because sobrang na-touch siya.
We walked to the bus terminal from SM, I wore my Dubredo shirt where a large DU30-LENI text was imprinted at the back. (Proud Dubredo ang bakla lol!) I sent a DM to mom to personally thank her for the unexpected pasalubong, I wanted her to know that we really really appreciate her and upon sending syempre di ako nagexpect ng reply because she’s the vice president, she’s very busy and all, I’m sure marami ring nagmemessage sakanya but then I almost choked on my Pili nut when she immediately replied. She told me sayang daw because hindi daw kami nag-abot and if we were a day earlier in Naga, we could have met her. She also confirmed that she asked Ms. Laarni to look after us. God, I love her and I’ll always do.
Then we took the long ride again back from the Naga terminal to Cubao. I went home feeling extremely tired. We didn’t even stayed at the city for a day, hours lang kaming nandoon and we just maximized our time so it was really exhausting but being able to turn over the face mask donations, bonding with the Dubredo, meeting Ms. Laarni, exploring Naga and receiving such sweet unexpected gift from mom made it all worth it. Super worth it.