I remember the first time I arrived in Cebu I was so excited about the different culture I was about to assimilate. I’ve heard that while the Cebuano males are known for their hilarious nature, the women are being known for having a modern, liberated demeanor when it comes to sex.
I was, of course, first interested with the women. How do I come to talk to them with the right Visayan accent without being laughed at? Or what kind of aura or persona of a guy that they are impressed of?
The first Cebuana I’d met was my co-trainee in a call center company. Let’s call her Karla. Karla had the most beautiful face among the girls at the training grounds. She had large eyes, dominant nose, attractive cheekbones, a divided chin, and a long neck like that of a chalice’s.
After we the newbies introduced ourselves during the first training day, she was the one who approached me. Karla was very friendly as with my other co-trainees. But the fact that most of the people there were friendly, I hadn’t anticipated that she would approach me. We were on a break when she invited me for dinner just across the building.
The feeling was so surprising and gratifying. Of the several guys on our batch, how did she come to think to invite me for dinner? I just thought that it was the beginning of my journey, the beginning of my assimilation.
We had cheeseburgers and 2 cups of Coke for dinner. We had a nice talk despite of my heartbeat pounding wildly inside of me. We shared information about ourselves that weren’t brought up inside the training room. In short, we were beginning to like one another. At least, that was what I had thought.
Days and weeks had passed our relationship got closer and closer. Sometimes she would lend me money and I would give her some CDs since she liked rock music. Once our batch changed rooms, we would sit beside one another. During quizzes and short exercises we would share each other’s answers.
There were also times that we would laugh together so loud that our trainer and batch mates would wonder what we were up to. We would tease one another and sometimes touch each other’s body so close that we could hear each other’s heartbeat. Once she dozed off to sleep in my arms. Since their place was just near the building where we worked, I would accompany her after every shift. We were very close until I was evicted from the training.
I haven’t seen Karla after that. Of course, sympathetic gestures and text messages would come after that. But I can never be with my batch mates anymore. You could not share your anguish with them simply because they don’t feel the same way as you do. They couldn’t sympathize with you further because you are not one of them anymore.
Things changed. Of course, time changes everything. But what changed most was when a co-trainee from Davao told me that she already had a steady boyfriend even during the time we were together at the training.
That was the beginning of my journey in Cebu. My absorption of the culture at those times was too overwhelming. I just consider that as a learning experience. I’m not saying that Cebuanas are hard to manage with. What I’m saying is that they are too fascinating, interesting and even addicting that you always want to look for them. This is not chauvinism. This is not a vulgar realization of machismo. This is just about a girl I’ve met.
She was the Cebu girl and I was from the Southern Island.
He writes fiction on his spare time.
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