*originally published in http://www.mindanews.com
CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews/30 May) — Despite seeing the banner announcing the annual Masonic national convention that greeted us as our bus entered Cagayan de Oro City at nightfall, we took our chances, knocked on inns, hotels, and pensionne houses that closed their doors to us, receptionists shaking their heads saying “no vacancy.” Even along Nazareth Street we had no luck. Tonight, Cagayan de Oro City’s lodging houses, inns, and hotels were unbelievably fully booked, all of them were filled with Masons.
Like arriving in Bethlehem, surely there must be some empty stable somewhere that my friend Clee and I were welcome to stay for the night. After a backbreaking almost seven-hour bus ride from Davao City, which took longer than usual because of road renovations, we needed to relax in order to prepare for our trip to Dumaguete the next day. Just one night was all we asked.
We discussed who the Masons are as we rode away in a taxi from yet another inn that said NO, laughing at the incongruity that a pilgrimage of a thousand fraternity members to Cagayan de Oro can actually crowd its lodging establishments. The city is really small, we thought. Or perhaps there were just so many of them Masons around. We finally stopped in front of YMCA Hostel. This must be the stable we were waiting for. “Surely there aren’t any Masons here.” We joked.
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