Filipino people are known for their resilience against the oddest of odds. We can be compared easily to a bamboo that sways with the strongest winds. This prevents us from breaking and falling apart in these difficult situations. Filipino patience are constantly tested especially in dealing with the ever growing traffic, inattentive attendants, bad weather and other factors too many to mention. There was one place where all these factors collided and resulted to what can be called “a swaying bamboo grove”.
My colleague and I arrived at Dumaguete Airport at 3:00 pm for our May 8, 2011, 4:25 pm flight to Manila for the AUDRN Conference on Discovering Local Knowledge in the 21st Century. We were excited but were abruptly advised to stand by at the check-in counter for some reasons. A few minutes later, the airline’s attendant approached us and explained that they overbooked the flight and that our seats were given to passengers who checked-in earlier. It was still 3:00 pm when we arrived and that was early for an ordinary Dumaguete Airport day. We realized later, that day was never ordinary.
Two bamboo trees started swaying as the hope for getting on the plane became hazy. Another passenger with a connecting flight arrived and with the situation, she will definitely miss her international trip if she was not on that 4:25 pm plane. Another bamboo started violently swaying. After a few negotiations, we were rerouted to Cebu for the 11:10 pm flight to Manila. We arrived at the Cebu International Airport with a bamboo grove swaying differently from us. They swayed against the visiting Bagyong Bebeng that disrupted flights in and out of Manila. Several flights have been cancelled and a lot were rerouted to Cebu. Available flights were several hours delayed and caused a large crowd of uneasy, nervous and annoyed people.
Gathered into a thick bamboo grove, amongst mothers desperately trying to calm their hungry and sleepy children, amongst almost physically violent yuppies trying to make important schedules meet, amongst calm-looking vacationers who were from other airports islands away and are obviously too tired to react to the delay, we patiently swayed through the indirect effects of Bagyong Bebeng.
From 4:25 pm, Dumaguete Airport to 11:10 pm, Cebu International Airport, our flight was delayed to 11:55 pm to 12:20 am to 1:20 am until finally we took off at 2:25 am. One by one our swaying gradually stopped. The bamboo in us were still standing.