Monday, October 27

Road Trip What Ifs

pictures taken on our road trip to Naga

We're here in Naga City already. We reached my sister-in-law's house a few minutes before 3 in the afternoon. I thank God for giving us a safe trip and sending His angels to guard us all the way to our destination. If not for His guidance, we could not have reached our destination safely.

We all planned it to be an exciting road trip. To cut down on our expenses, we cooked adobo and rice for our lunch and brought drinks stored in a cooler. We have gone home in the past doing this whenever we drive the car to the province. We have already identified a spot somewhere in Quezon where we can stop the car and have lunch by the roadside fronting the sea. Because we set off early, we passed the place too early for lunchtime. So we moved on and just decided to have lunch somewhere else but definitely not along the Quirino Highway diversion. We knew that the place is NPA (Filipino rebels)and highway robbers infested. The circumstances did not allow us to avoid making a stop-over along that highway though. Our car needed the stop and so was my husband who was already driving for four hours. We thought it was still safe because no rebel or robber would dare to come out in broad daylight. Or so we thought.

The highway was undergoing a lot of repairs as of the moment. We initially planned to make a stop along the nearest military checkpoint but all the dust from the road repairs prevented us from doing so. We ended up deep into the highway around 30 minutes away from the checkpoint. We found a shaded spot and made the stop. I brought out or folding chairs and opened the back of our SUV so we can have lunch. We ate to our hearts' delight. We brought a sleeping pad so we put down one side of the back of the passenger seat to make room for the sleeping pad. I intended it for my husband who needed to lie down so I can give him a little massage on the back before driving another 4 hours from Quezon to Naga.

As I give my husband a massage, Rap was playing his PSP in the front seat. My mother-in-law was content in relaxing on one of our chairs just by the car's door. We were enjoying the moment because it was breezy and quiet. I heard a bird tweeting in the background. Then after a while, there were more tweetings. I thought it was great to hear birds in the place and the sound of tweetings even made me a little sleepy. When the tweets became louder, my husband awoke and rose up suddenly. He signaled everyone to get up and prepare to move. There was an urgency in his voice. There was not a long explanation of why we were supposed to pack up quickly. He just said that it was not safe. I was rattled a little that I almost left my rubber slippers outside the car. Once all of our things from our little picnic were brought in the car, he drove quickly away from the place and explained everything.

Months ago, during a company teambuilding session in Subic, Zambales, my husband underwent survival training in the forest. There they were taught how to cook rice in bamboos, make some survival paraphernalia, and also how to identify threats in the forest. There he learned how to identify authentic bird tweets from those that are just signals of rebels in the forest. He said that their military trainer informed them that rebels, in the absence of radios, mimic bird tweets to send messages to their comrades without divulging their presence. He told us that that was what he heard during our stop over.

He asked us if we recognized the pattern of the tweets because he did. I remember hearing two different tweets but I thought that the tweets still came from birds. My mother-in-law recounted that she was hearing the tweets from beside the spot and not from above the trees where birds usually nest. She was trying to find where the tweets were coming from but she did not find one.

It was a humbling experience for me. Once again, God has showed us His presence and how He looked after us. What if my husband failed to recognize the tweets as threats? What if he was not able to go on that survival training course? What if, while hurriedly packing our things, somebody went out from the bushes and held us up? These are the what ifs that kept me thinking today.

I'm glad we're here, safe and sound. Praise God and His angels for watching over us.

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