NOT too long ago, I was at a resort in Marawi City to attend, rather observe a two-day seminar for women leaders in Mindanao. For the occasion, hundreds of dignitaries from all over the island flocked to the city’s main resort. Since my companion and I were not participants but just observers, we have not booked at the resort cottages and had to go back to Iligan to our hotel where we were billeted.

During the opening ceremony, I watched in fascination at the fantastic display of colorful costumes (not to mention the heady mixture of different perfumes) from the women leaders and wondered how they could be comfortable in them. My white shirt and maong pants looked incongruous among the whole lot and as the morning wore on, I became more and more concious of my attire. I stuck out among the crowd like a sore thumb.

The resort was perfectly located on gentle slopes overlooking Marawi City and Lake Lanao. The temperature was cool, and I swear I could no longer count how many times I shivered from the cold and for the nth time kidded myself that I should engage the services of a wardrobe consultant if I get rich.

At least my companion had the decency to wear a flowered maroon polo with long sleeves so she looked like one of the participants.

The resort served a delicious breakfast followed by a satisfying snacks even before the breakfast dishes were cleared. I helped myself to two tall glasses of iced tea and immediately after I realized that the resort overlooked the fact that it has only two comfort room cubicles to cater to more than 600 women. With the cold climate and the free-flowing soft drinks and iced-tea, the resort incharge should have foreseen that women would flock to the comfort room every now and then.

My first attempt to empty my kidneys came at around 10 a.m. but I decided to hold it and had to go back to my table after seeing the long line of women waiting for their turn at the two cubicles.

Exactly one hour later, I made my second attempt but had to draw back because the line had doubled. I thought I could hold my urine for another hour so back to my table I went but I underestimated myself because 30 minutes later, I just knew I could no longer do it. I just had to pee.

Marching resolutely to the comfort room for the third time, I went through the long line of waiting women. I understood exactly every unreadable expression on each face but I pushed through and headed straight for the men’s comfort room.

Knocking at the door, I bellowed an ’emergency’ shout, “Is there anybody in here?”

There was no answer, so I repeated my question. I seemed to hear a scuffling inside but there was no reply to my call so I pushed open the door and dashed to a cubicle inside. I almost kicked the door open but it wouldn’t give so I headed to the second cubicle and at last found relief to my troubles.

What I wasn’t aware of was that as soon as I barged into the men’s CR, a flock of women followed me and made for the other cubicle, but the same door wouldn’t give. Some of the women were not able to hold it and urinated on the floor.

The men’s CR was already filled with women who were complaining loudly of the resort’s lack of facilities when the first cubicle opened and a man peeped out.

He was drenched in sweat, his face red with mortification as he tried to look to the other side so as not to see the women on the floor.

“Serves him right for keeping quiet,” I uttered.

Laughter followed the man’s hasty exit. I just knew he wouldn’t forget his experience for a long time.

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