Saving Lola

Every time I think I’ve discovered the middle of nowhere, nowhere gets a little bit bigger. At least that’s how I felt in the outskirts of Cadiz in Negros Occidental – land of the aswan (witches) as I’ve heard some say. Two buses, three tryc rides, and a ferry boat trip landed Jennifer and I back on the island opposite of Panay. It was a trip taken to visit her ailing grandmother that she had not seen since she was six years old.

Saying Hello To Lola

First meeting in 13 years

Our journey was rather impromptu. A recent blessing of cash allowed us to have the nipa here cemented in and also to have the roof repaired. I thought it a good time to take a day or two out of town and thus we plotted our journey. Our trip plans started out as short stint at Boracay which was then replaced by an over-nighter back at Island X but when Jenn asked to visit her Lola in Negros, well, how can you say no?

Less than a nipa hut

Where Lola Lived

We knew the area was remote and provincial so we weren’t expecting to have that fancy hotel treatment when we stayed with her tita but, all in all, we made out pretty well. Her tita had a decent hollow-block home, cemented floors, a refrigerator and, by provincial standards, a good amount of comfort. They own more than we do!

Visiting The Aunt

Visiting The Aunt

Jennifer’s Lola on the other hand was not so fortunate. She is 83, blind and was living alone in a nipa that was insufficient (to put it politely). How or why she was left alone to survive is beyond comprehension and how she survived defies explanation. Needless to say, Jennifer was not too happy upon seeing the living conditions.

I can’t help but think of the ‘Survivor’ game show that is oft so popular. Those pansies; I’ve been living in these out of the way places for 10 months now and those wimps go back to their luxuries in under

Lola's Kitchen

Lola's Kitchen

2 months. Adding insult to injury, Jennifer’s blind, 83-yr-old grandmother has been in these provincial jungles for years. Just one of the many reasons ‘reality’ TV is no where near real.

Despite the strength, endurance and tenacity of Lola, there was no way we were going to leave her there. We packed her few belongings and brought her to Sara where she now lives with family who can care for her. Not that she needs much care mind you, she’s one tough grandma. If you try to take away her tobacco I’m sure she’d break out into some form of Filipino Kung-fu.

No, I will not quit smoking.

No, I will not quit smoking!

The hardest part about visiting such out of the way places is feeling like a zoo animal. Everybody stares at you with that “Oh my God, there’s a white person here” look on their faces. You hear the whispers when you walk past. Making it worse, everybody automatically assumes you’re rich – even ‘distant’ relatives won’t hesitate to inform you how poor they are and ask for money. They think Jen and I are lying when we say we’re poor too. Oh well…it’s not my job to convince them of my financial status.

Our trip to Cadiz was short and for that we were glad. There were way too many mosquitoes and flies for my liking. Even if it is not much better than any other provincial dwelling, home is still home and we were glad to be back in ours. None the less, we had some renovations to appreciate because God blessed us with some additional work.

Expanded Kitchen & Cement Floor!

Expanded Kitchen & Cement Floor!

Our cement job was finished, the leaky roof was repaired and we had a minor extension done to the kitchen (Jennifer can now easily cook inside). Later, God permitting, we’ll remove the other half of the bamboo floor and cement it as well. Until then, we continue our battle with the mosquitoes but we are simply thrilled to walk barefoot inside! God continues to bless us…

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