Lloyd and Rad are two of the many “welcoming parties” visitors will alight upon here in Cagbalete Island. We bumped into their young sunburned tones while hiking inside the island bushes and they offered to guide us through the crooked paths leading to our station. The duo not only snapped us out of our trekking miseries, they shouldered some loads, obliged to keep us company, run errands AND sometimes be the butt end of my cheesy jokes. In return, we shall compensate their pockets as our token of appreciation.
Brings to mind the days when islanders welcome visitors with unbelievable warmth. In Puerto Galera for instance, they would gladly receive you at the pantalan, carry the loads, lead you to your station or even insist to house you in their humble abodes. All these without expecting anything in return. Pure hospitality. This is so amazing you would suspect them of ugly intentions. Hand them some reward and they would just smile and turn away. They take pride in having visitors take pleasure in their haven. But that was a long time ago. Today, island goodwill has become a good money-making business.
Here in Cagbalete island however, I can see pure hospitality in my two young bellcaps’ eyes. But we’ll soon be corrupting them with our urban sense of gratitude.