Enteng Butikol is a person’s complete name. The name is in Bisaya; Enteng being the first name and Butikol is the surname. In English, Enteng is translated as Vicente, hence Vicente Butikol.
Maybe my mother was somewhat superstitious when she declared that someday, in one way or another, my name could become famous. This she said when I told her of a story about a mysterious old man I met during a trip to Bohol, a province in the southern Philippines famous for the chocolate hills and the smallest monkey in the world, the tarsier. The story took place during my college days, about two decades ago.
It was culmination of summer classes at the University of San Carlos in Cebu where I took up Civil Engineering, circa 1990’s, when a group of classmates and friends arranged a trip to Bohol to catch a glimpse of the chocolate hills for the first time. Our trip to the site was remarkably tough and rugged – in contrast to today’s trip going to the same site. Today, the upsurge of tourism has brought about remarkable developments to the province’s infrastructure and transportation; consequently providing ease and convenience in one’s journey.
The last time I visited Bohol to see the chocolate hills once more was May 8, 2010, a couple of days before the Philippine presidential elections. I was amazed by the manner, speed and ease in getting there. First, the trip from Cebu City to Tagbilaran City now only takes less than 3 hours by a boat known as catamaran, a sea craft which did not exist during our time. Second, upon arriving at the port of Tagbilaran, to get to the Chocolate Hills, all that one needs to do is to charter a van just waiting outside the port terminal – at an affordable rate. Just before the sun sets, with all the comfort, one will be able to see the chocolate hills and tour the rest of the famous tourist spots in the province of Bohol.
In our time, when we came to Bohol for the first time, this was not the case. With the excruciating summer heat, we had to cram into an un-air-conditioned bus in order to get to our destination. It was during this trip that I met the mysterious old man. The bus has been piled up already with passengers more than its intended capacity when it finally left the terminal – with almost a quarter of passengers in standing position. I was seated along the aisle of the left side of the bus directly opposite the door located at middle right side of the bus.