A long time ago, in a province far far away, an eighteen year old girl decided to leave her family home and strike out for herself. She did this for several reasons: she thought it was time she broke free from her parents’ authority and pursue a vocation in writing; she wanted to experience the “real world” as defined by people her age at the time; she wanted to find out if she could do all that. She had been planning to go for a long time, she was just waiting for the right moment, when she thought she was ready. Looking back it may seem like a spur-of-the-moment decision, but it was not. She just woke up one morning and realized she was ready.
She was an out of school youth who had no money or possessions of her own except for a watch and a gold ring with her initials on it. She also had, among other things, a telegram from the Summer Writers Workshop at Silliman University, informing her that her work has been accepted to that year’s workshop and that she was invited to stay for the three week-duration of the workshop, housed in a dormitory and fed according to her fellowship. But to get there she needed money, and the only places she knew were in the city, downtown where quite a number of watch consignment shops were located.
There, among the watch buyers and hatted hawkers selling watches she found a shop that would take her four-year old Seiko analog wrist watch for three hundred pesos. As this happened more than thirty years ago, three hundred pesos was worth a lot more than it is now. And so our protagonist walked on to the nearby bus station with a bare wrist, three hundred pesos, a gold ring, a satchel full of manuscripts and not much else, and boarded a bus that would take her around the southern curve of Cebu island, to the west where the shore faced Negros Oriental. From there she would take a ferry crossing the Tañon Strait, after which another bus would take her to the city of gentle people.
There is actually more to this story than what has been said so far, or what will be said in future. Some incidents will not be mentioned to protect the living, some names will not be mentioned to protect the innocent. In fact, this whole story may be itself a work of fiction. But then again maybe not.