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The Roaches of Cebu

Updated on September 25, 2009

Trip To Cebu, Philippines

What a beautiful white castle. As Oprah Pearl approach the hotel in Cebu, she thought it was the picture of her dreams. The city looked more like the image of the Philippines she used to dream of in her bed at home in the United States.

It was a resort hotel with a western look inside and out. The palm trees and shrubs buried in the white sands were exotic. The white castle could be seen from miles away. As Oprah Pearl approached it, the sky blue and white castle sculptured horizon came closer and closer on the ride to the elegant entry doors. The passengers were greeted by doorman dressed in crisp white uniforms with gold roping and general strips saying, “Welcome to the Casino Royale Hotel .”

“Whew! Air-Condition!” Oprah Pearl whispered under her breath as she patted the perspiration from her face. Walking to the registration desk, she noticed a couple who was pointing at her. The couple was invited to the grand opening that evening in the ballroom. They could identify Oprah Pearl by the description she gave them of herself. She told them to look for a chocolate American wearing a purple plum suit with stockings and high heels. Needless to say, there weren’t many people, in fact, only one dressed that way. She would have been identified by the way she was dressed even if she hadn’t mentioned she was chocolate.

“Hello, I’m Oprah Pearl Winson.” With a big smile Oprah Pearl registered with the desk clerk. The clerk was dressed in a tailored cotton red suit with a red, white and blue silk scarf around her neck. Completing the registration, the clerk said, “Ms. Winson, her is your room key and a passbook of savings to local restaurants and casino. Is this your first trip to the Casino Royale?”

“Yes, and it is my first trip to the Philippines. I’ve been in Makati for eight days, and was surprised to see that the city was like walking down the streets in New York City with manicured lawns and skyscrapers. I stayed at the Renaissance on the 18th floor, a western motel in the heart of Makati. This location with the sea in view and white beaches was what I expected to see. It’s a dream come true to be here”.

“I’m glad you are here. I’m sure you will enjoy your stay. Contact me or anyone at this desk with any questions you may have.” The clerk was very courteous, and also gave Oprah Pearl brochures of the local attractions.

Oprah Pearl was the first to arrive in her room. Her roommate was coming on a later flight. The teal wood floors were on the foyer and throughout the living room and bedroom. The Polynesian décor was mixed with Philippine accents. There were French doors and beige shutters at the exit to the terrace and windows. The double beds had canopies with bronze tassels hanging from them. She slipped on the bronze marbled bathroom floor and while on the floor spotted a roach.

Sandy was opening the door to come in and heard Oprah Pearl scream, “A bug! A Big Bug! It’s a flying roach! Sandy, please come and kill it! I’m too afraid to do it! What are we going to do? Who would have thought this would have happened! I’ll call the housekeeper! You got it? Eeeek! Flush it down the toilet!

“It’s only a bug, Oprah Pearl.” Sandy declared as she was throwing the roach into the toilet. She flushed it quickly as if it was going to jump out. The flying roach was a common pest in southern Philippines. Locals were accustomed to seeing and even playing with them. Some were used as pets with a string tied around their necks.

The drains in the sinks were cover with a stopper. Oprah Pearl would leave the stopper on the counter and needless to say, a roach would appear when she was not looking and end up in obscure places. One night as Sandy was pulling the covers back to get into bed, yes, you guessed it. It was long and appeared hairy with very thin long wings. Oprah Pearl wore pajamas around her roommate and even slept in them when typically she slept in the nude. It’s a good thing she wore the pajamas to bed because when Sandy leaped out her bed, Oprah was 10 feet ahead of her and in the foyer about to grab the door knob. Sandy stopped her saying, “I got it.” The flushing of the toilet brought relief and silence.

It was difficult to get into bed and fall off to sleep for both of them that night. However, they managed to do so. Later in a deep sleep Oprah Pearl went to use the toilet. Yes, you guessed it again. Another one was at the base of the toilet. The choice was to urinate in her new satin pink and white striped pajamas or be brave enough to kill the roach. She chose to kill it and quickly flush it down the toilet. The same guts it took to kill that one made it easier to kill the next one. After a couple of days, the roaches were allowed to walk the corners like pets. They won the battle.

The hotel room was sanitized, dusted, and cleaned. So, the roaches wouldn’t be in sight long since there was no dirt to feed on and live in. Oprah Pearl and Sandy were meticulous about eating in the room and certainly would not drop any crumbs. All open pipes were covered with a stopper: the sink drain, tub drain, shower spout (remember the movie about the invasion of the roaches and they were climbing down the water spout as the lady was taking a shower?) Sandy and Oprah Pearl had flash backs while showering. Afterwards, each of them would cover the spout with a towel. Again, whatever they could do to have a peace of mind, they would do it, and yet, one would appear out of nowhere. Living with them became a way of life at the Casino Royale in Cebu.

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