How? How am I going to go about this search? I’ve talked about the what, the who, the why and the where but “how” am I going to accomplish this? Especially since I’ve decided to let things unfold on their own and just go along with the stride (definitely out of my comfort zone). I didn’t really know where to start nor do I know “how” I am going to go about this but just to simply start talking about it.
Apparently my brother knows someone that knows someone that works in the Puerto Galera area (the northern tip of Mindoro) but somehow we weren’t getting much info out of that. And if you know me, that was a little frustrating for me so I’ve tabled this option for now. I then combed through the internet and thought of seeking the help of PI’s (private investigators). I narrowed down my list to 3 companies of which I emailed 2. For life of me I couldn’t navigate through the 3rd company’s site so I just left it and waited to hear from the other 2. Both replied promptly to that initial email but their follow up was less than desirable. One was actually fairly fast in replying to both of my email correspondences with them but was curt in responding saying that they cannot help with my situation but didn’t really give a reason.
The other said that they need the details and they said that they will send me a proposal. Quite a few days passed and I haven’t heard from them one peep. I even sent a follow up email and my brother called them on the phone and they said that they could’t find a reference of my email. *Sigh*….how frustrating is that? The way business is done here is a little different or I should say a lot different from what I have gotten used to. I am getting a crash course on how to be a Filipino again. Now that blew my mind because I was born and have grown up here. I certainly know of how things run but having to do business here is another story. I suddenly realized that I have a failure to communicate with my own people. I’m glad that I have friends and family to help me weed through this otherwise my blood pressure would shoot up to the roof. I did want to talk about this more which perhaps will be one of my future posts on how I tried to re-integrate myself into the culture.
My brother looked for the address of Eyespy Investigators, who said could potentially help but we haven’t heard back from. On Saturday, Feb 25, People’s Power Revolution Day, since we were already out exploring, my brother traced the office location. It was considered a national holiday and even though the office was closed, we told them that we have been waiting for an answer from them, they graciously let us in and we were able to talk to someone. Madelyn Acob received us into their conference room. She listened to our story and situation and she was honest and told us that it is a slim chance given that it happened almost 37 years ago. She said that their search would be based on records. Given the fact that my sister may have assumed a different name and due to the nature of such an accident it would be most difficult for them to find a trace. She mentioned that if we have somewhat of a trail then that’s where they can assist and they can have the area under surveillance. She also quoted a round figure of 25,000 PHP as their rate for such a search plus any extra hours incurred by their detectives. She felt that it wasn’t fair that she take our money when the likelihood is so slim. She gave us suggestions on going to the local Barangay (barrio or village government) and put out a police blotter. I asked her what about access to hospital records in the even that a 17 year old girl may have been registered there at the time without having any memory of who she is. Madelyn told me that us being family members would have more luck in getting medical records/information released to us. Now that was a new thing for me. She also suggested that we go to TV stations and ask for help. Now that was a new thing for me too. If we do that and they like our story, they would give us resources but that would mean that our lives would be made so public. A lot of things to consider for sure and very enlightening to hear. I was glad that we spoke to them in person.
Now we are back at square one. My brother suggested that we speak with one of my cousins, Queenie who used to live in Mindoro. She lives elsewhere now so I didn’t want to expect too much. You know when it is meant to be, things just seem to easily fall into place. Queenie commented on a picture I posted of one of our most recent family outings. I reached to her and found that she still has quite a lot of contacts in that area. She had also been meaning to re-integrate Kaira (her 14 year old daughter) there. She and I also had a voice call over FB messenger. That and a few email communications, we now make that trek together with my mom. My mom and I will meet Queenie and her daughter Kaira in San Jose airport in Mindoro then we will bus it to Bulalacao. She also has some friends that we can stay with while we are there. It is only for a few days since she has to be back for work. Our goal is to talk to the local Barangay and seek assistance and ask around. We also plan to seek the Mangyans, whom my mom recalls as having some recognition of my sister back in those days when they were doing their search. Hospitals would also be one of our desired stops.
The point of this trip is to ask around and then establish a contact there that we can check back with periodically. I’ll have a chance to reconnect with my cousin as well which I know will be quite pleasant.
Now is that enough? Probably not bu also cannot be bogged down and frustrated on the slow progress I seem to be making. I realize that this will take me a while and what I have to focus on during this trip is to establish those contacts. I might be able to squeeze a trip to the northern tip of Mindoro before I head back to the US and establish contacts there as well. I do have to go back to the US, earn some money and fund the next progression of this search. Definitely quite a process and quite a learning experience for me.
As I mentioned in my earlier blogs, this search is a search for my sister but I think I expect that I will also find something about me as well and how I continue to define myself.
Thanks for reading and see you until my next post. I hope to bring you a story of our experience in Bulalacao when I return.