In a phone interview with INQUIRER.net on Monday, 37-year-old Alice Baguitan said she was eating at the restaurant in Laoag City last Wednesday when she noticed a bag left behind by two female customers.
“Nakita ko no’ng paalis na po ‘yong katabi kong kumakain sa isang fast food chain sa Laoag City po. No’ng paalis na po sila, nakita kong naiwan ‘was pong isang bag po,” Bagutan narrated.
“Akala ko ano lang [‘yong laman], kung baon [ba], eh kasi simpleng bag lang po siya. Pero nung buksan ko, kasi may zipper naman po ‘yong bag. Nakita kong pera po ‘yon,” she added.
Although Baguitan lives in La Trinidad, Benguet, she said she was in Laoag City at the time to deliver vegetables to her customers at a wet market there.
In a separate interview, Baguitan’s cousin, Police Senior Master Sergeant Joan Alipio of the Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office, said her cousin had first opted to report the incident to the police when she found that the bag was full of cash.
However, Baguitin had remembered that the woman had mentioned she was heading to a bus station, Alipio added.
“Tapos kasi nakita kong umalis na ‘yong sasakyan nila, sa pagkukwento kasi nila habang kumakain kami do’n sa restaurant, narinig kong nagmamadali silang pumunta sa isang bus station,” Baguitin said.
“Dali-dali pong lumabas ako sa restaurant. Hinabol ko po sila sa may bus station po. Do’n ko po sila naabutan,” she added, noting that she rode a tricycle from the establishment to the Partas Transporation Terminal.
There, she said, she saw a woman coming out from the restroom talking to someone on the phone. The woman sounded very worried.
“No’ng dumating po ako do’n sa bus station wala ‘yong taong hinahanap ko po, pero maya-maya konti, may isang babaeng lumabas sa CR (comfort room or toilet) nakita ko siya, isa sa mga nakatabi ko na kumain,” Baguitan said.
“Tapos, no’ng nilapitan ko siya, aligaga talaga siya, problemado talaga, may tinatawagan siya…Tapos nilapitan ko, tinanong ko ‘Madam, may problema po ba? May hinahanap po ba kayo?’” she added.
“E natural, siyempre problemado nga siya, tapos tinanong ko pa e nainis sa akin. Pero naintindihan ko naman ‘yon kaya sinabi ko sakanya na: ‘Ma’am baka may hinahanap kayo kasi ako po yung katabi niyo kanina sa kainan’” she further said.
Baguitan said the eyes of the woman, who she was not able to get the name of, widened.
“‘Ha?’ sabi niya, nanlaki ‘yong mata niya,” she said.
“Tapos pinakita ko yung bag kasi siya talaga ‘yong nakita kong may hawak no’n no’ng dumating sila do’n sa kainan, so no’ng ipinakita ko sakanya ‘yong bag…bigla niya akong inakap,” she added.
According to Alipio, the woman had told her cousin that she was traveling to Manila to visit a relative confined in a hospital.
“Pupunta sila sa Maynila, sa St. Lukes Hospital, kasi may ilalabas silang kamag-anak na pasyente na dadalhin po sa abroad,” Alipio said.
Baguitan added that the woman had tried to offer her money out of gratitude but she declined.
“May ibibigay silang pera, sabi ko: ‘Hindi ko matatanggap yan, sinauli ko lang yan kasi sainyo kaya sinauli ko’,” she said.
“Hindi ko ano na magpa-reward kasi naniniwala ako sa puso ko bilang isang Kristiyano, naniniwala ako na mas malaki at saka mas maganda ang biyayang ibibigay ng Diyos,” she added.
The owner of the bag, Alipio said, had texted her about the incident as she lauded Baguitin’s kind act.
“Madam,kamag-anak nyo pala y0ng tagabaguio na nagbalik ng napulot nyang bag na may laman 2.7mili0n n0ng wensday..IGOROTS ay trustworthy,” the woman’s text message, which Alipio forwarded to INQUIRER.net, read./ac
By: Christia Marie Ramos