The novella

"I feel very bad," the old man said within earshot.
"No, don't be."
"I am sad about this. But if it's about to happen, then I can't do anything about it." The man's words are terse, raw with emotion.
"Dalawang Kamias--isang senior," the woman said, her voice thick with Batangueno accent.
The busboy wanted to be helpful and gave them two senior tickets instead of one. The woman thought of this dearly, and mused that it was enough as a pamasko, a gift from a stranger.
Meanwhile, the old man was restless with sadness. "I won't be able to read anymore," he said.
The woman take this lightheartedly and said, "Well, I'll do my best to read books to you--"
"I'm very reluctant to do this," the man interrupted her, dismissing her offer. "I'm not sure this will do any difference."
The woman looked at the vast plains past the windows, her eyebrows curled, thinking of the right word.
"You've long since resigned then, Tiyo?"
Her uncle made a sound that's a cross between a cough and clearing his throat. "Read to me," he said, "the receipt."
And so she read slowly, her voice still lighthearted, even playful, still not bearing any strand of sadness. She read carefully the destination, the busboy's name, the price, the distance.
After a beat her uncle dozed off. She pressed the receipt in the last few pages of the book she really wanted to read to his uncle: a novella about a family who fled after their hometown was swallowed by the rising waters of the nearby lake. Where the receipt was pressed is the scene where they had to eat the remaining rice cakes off their bags. Later on, drawn by suspense she would find out that the lake continued to rise and swallowed the fields, carved its way through hills and made islands out of mountains. The family found themselves huddled one day at the highest point they could find, as waters kissed their feet.