I grew up in a small town in Samar, Philippines. Life is just simple in my town. People are also simple. My family plant crops and sell it in the market and we have the money for everything we need. We are not rich but my parents tried their best to give us everything.
I didn't finish high school because I have 5 more younger siblings that needs to go to school. My older brother went to Manila to find a more suitable job. On the other hand, I need to help my parents on the field planting rice and crops also to send my younger siblings to school.
I am now working overseas providing for my family's needs. It's been years since this happened to me but it is still fresh in my mind.
It all started when my father died. We don't have enough money for a proper burial and funeral. We borrowed money from our family and relatives and even to loan sharks just to have a proper burial for my father. Of course, after sending my father to the other side, they started to ask us to pay them back. The money we earn from the crops are not enough to pay them and my brother's money sent to us is not enough either.
Then there is this woman who is known who helps people like us. She is known in our town to send some people abroad. I took my chance and in a few weeks everything is set. I am holding a passport which has my face with a different name on it. We started travelling at dawn so that the officials won't caught us for the woman already has a pile of human trafficking cases, which at that time, we doesn't know about it.
We were riding a jeepney towards the capital of Samar. Since it is still early and we need to catch a plane in the afternoon going to Manila, we all fell asleep. I don't know how many hours we've been travelling but I just felt the jeepney's engine stopped. I open my eyes and i saw pitch black.
I look around and I'm the only person left inside the jeepney. They are all outside in front of a large golden gate.
The whole place is shining because everything is made of gold. I feel like I was hypnotized as I approach the gate. It was closed but it slowly opens and a beautiful woman get out of the gate. I think she is the most beautiful woman I saw in my life. She has white hair and she is wearing a warm smile.
"We've been waiting for you." she said in our local dialect.
"Nang, nasa Catbalogan na ba tayo? (Sister, are we in Catbalogan already?)" I asked our recruiter. She is also mesmirized with the woman in front of us.
"Wala pa at hindi ko alam nasan tayo. (Not yet and I don't know where we are either.) she answered me.
We followed the woman inside. I look around and everything is more majestic. It seems like they are having a festival inside.
"Where are we?" I asked the mysterious woman.
"This is Biringan City." she answered with a smile on her face
Biringan? I've never heard of that place before. Is it a hidden city of Samar?
The woman lead us in a beautiful palace. It is made of gold and diamonds and I think even the water flowing from the fountain is also made of gold. Inside, the servants are busy preparing something. Even the servants are beautiful but something is different with their eyes. They can't look at us directly in the eyes.
There was a long table full of food. I felt my stomach crunch because of hunger. I've never seen this plenty of food before. Everyone sat down but before I sit, a hand holds my arm.
"Umuwi na tayo. Alam ko na ang lugar na ito. (let's go home. I remember what this place is)" It was our jeepney driver. I saw his eyes full of fear. He is practically whispering to me.
"Wag kayong kakain ng kahit na ano. (Don't eat or drink anything.)" He yelled and everyone stops moving.
But it was two late. There were five girls including our recruiter and everyone already took a bite or drink something.
"Uuwi na po kami. Salamat sa pagkain. (We will go home now but thank you for the food.)" he pulls me as we run towards the gate. I can still hear the woman calling for us but the jeepney driver said not to look back.
We reach the gate and our jeepney and he started the engine. It took her several times before it started.
"Nong, pano sila? (What about them?)" I was worried about the others.
"It's too late for them." as he said this the engine starts and we drove away.
We arrive at our town again and we saw how frantic they are. My mother was relieve and surprised to see me.
"Where have you been? We can't reach you. You've been away for 2 weeks." I was surprised. We were in that place for only few hours anf I was gone for two weeks?
"We teached Biringa. It's too late for the others. They've eaten their food there." the jeepney driver explained.
Others didn't believe us while others did. At noon we went back to the place but saw nothing but a big piece of land full of big trees.
My mother then explained that if you eat the food of diwatas you won't be able to leave the place.
I continue applying abroad but this time in a legal process. A kind relative of ours help me apply abroad and even provide financial aid for me.
After a few months, Aling Martha, one of the girls that is supposed to go abroad with me received a letter from her daughter. The letter was from Biringan City. Inside the letter, her daughter said that she is fine in Biringan and she married a local there. She is now pregnant and about to give birth in a few months.
Before I leave our town, I also received a letter from Biringan. They are inviting me to go back to their place.
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