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Tomorrow Is Not Promised

Nida Spalding loves to read, travel, and spend time with family and friends. She believes that curiosity and persistence are key to happiness and success.

I entered the airport arrival area in Dumaguete City, Philippines, after getting off a Philippines Airlines domestic flight. I left Manila an hour and ten minutes earlier. I looked out to the waiting area outside. I spotted my brother and his girlfriend. I waved. Pedicabs and minivans were lined up waiting for passengers.

After the 14-hour flight from San Francisco I was looking forward to some rest and relaxation. I watched the conveyor spit out the last few suitcases. My two checked baggages, one containing presents, were nowhere in sight.

An airline employee confirmed my luggage were still in Manila and took my contact information. Maybe it will arrive this afternoon, she said. I exited with my carry-on luggage and walked to the waiting area. My aunt from Dumaguete and her daughter were there! How wonderful to see my father's youngest sister and my cousin.

Where can we eat? Café Filomena at Bethel Guest House? The pedicab driver recommended Lantaw Native Restaurant. We chose Lantaw for the seafood and local cuisine.

My checked baggage didn't arrive that afternoon, so I spent the night at my aunt's house. The next day I collected my late luggage, then took the ferry Montenegro to my final destination—Siquijor Island.








Upon arriving at Siquijor port, I hired a pedicab to take me to our ancestral home in Larena, one of six towns in Siquijor. My friend, Elginm who lives across the street, saw me get off the pedicab, and greeted me with a gleeful "Hello" and a big hug.

My brother had a lunch of my favorite food: grilled fresh fish, soup with local greens, lato (seaweed), and sea urchin—with rice of course.

It was Sunday and I had time to attend the 6 p.m. mass. Elgin came with me. Before heading home, we stopped at the market and bought fresh fish for the next day, June 24, the feast of St. John the Baptist. To celebrate, locals go to the beach.

We went to Bagacay Beach where we have a nipa (thatched roofed) hut that needed cleaning. I stopped by the beach house of my cousin, a retired ship captain. Cousins from my mother's side were at the beach and I got to see them. Later that afternoon, I visited the graves of my father, mother, sister and other relatives.

The next morning, my brother, his girlfriend and I left for Dumaguete for our 7-day trip to Bangkok and Phuket. After returning to Siquijor, we prepared for our father's 8-year death anniversary on July 13 and the annual Santa Cruz celebration held on July 18. Santa Cruz is a family tradition on my father's side, celebrated with a nine-day novena and reception on the 9th day.





















I spent some time visiting relatives and friends, getting new tombstones for the graves of my parents and sister, and trying to get a permit to cut a fallen acacia tree on the lot I bought years ago and restart the process to get the land title transferred in my name.

One day, I rented a van to go around the island with cousins and friends, stopping at the church of every town, lighting three candles at each church, with stops at beach resorts and tourist spots.

This is what I do. I mix business with pleasure. I cram too many activities in so little time. It's as if I am on borrowed time, which I am. I once heard the saying, "Tomorrow is not promised." And I have taken this to heart.

~ Nida Spalding



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