i guess she was pretty right when she said that. three years after starting this so called "tradition", i found that my feet would just not stay put in manila anymore. and the three years of family summer vacations (two in puerto gallera and the other in bohol), proved to be the only thing i need for me to say "shit byabyahe ako" every summer no matter what.
the davao-surigao-leyte-samar-bicol-manila going home trip in 2003 was quite incidental. as we were supposed to be getting our bodies back to our local communities right after the year end. last year's was the davao-cdo-iligan-ozamiz-dapitan-dumaguete-siquijor-cebu-camiguin road trip was still memorable.
this year turned out to be another one for the books. and before i leave it to myself to remember all of the things that happened, let me commit the amazing week of april 17-25, 2005 to blogdom. before it gets lost with all the other good events that has transpired in my life that is summarily labeled under the heading "adventures."
i was in a hurry the saturday before the 18th. i need to finish up interviews with key people in kapatagan lanao del sur and sapad in matanog, maguindanao. although, i am the what you might call the vacation freak, i still would never leave for a vacation not unless i have finished with what i need to do. i am glad the people i need to speak with were all there. and as i went through with the motions of the interviews, i found out that i was getting better in extracting information. so after 12 key informants interviews, i slept off work and got ready for the travel that would take me to my destination.
woke up at 3a in azaleas (in cotabator city) on april 17, 2005. i jumped out of the comforts of the aircon room and hurriedly got dressed. this does not happen much as i have often equated azaleas to rest after a tired stint in kapatagan or in matanog. but this time, i could not afford to rest as the anticipation of sun on my skin and sand between my toes got the better of me.
and for the next 42 hours i have been on buses, tricycles, vans, pedicabs and jeepneys on road and in a boat off the coast of cdo to iloilo. and after the cotabato city-kabacan-cdo-iloilo-kalibo-caticlan leg i cannot help myself when i blurted out "ninin and she she, you are the first team to arrive."
with she she around, it was as if we were always rushing. at least we got good seats and we got to settle down earlier in the boat but i realized that rushing around is certainly not my style. i know that the going is still quite important and it is also nice to be in the moment and to enjoy the sights along the way. at our last leg, i got to sit with ninin and we kinda remembered dax as we passed by ibajay in aklan. we also remembered mike who would also have taken the trip had it not been for his new work and his studies. we kidded and laughed around and see how have we become the persons we are now. me and ninin still could not get over the fun part while dax and mike seem to have moved on to more mature stuff. but to each his or her own, and we are happy with that thought.
tired but contented from a bath. (notwithstanding the stupidity of the andok lechon manok staff who finds it easier to explain what they cannot do instead of doing things that should make good impressions from their clients. these people who just can't seem to get past the first line of the chorus of the let the love begin song... o well, another entry perhaps for the bickering) we slept to brush off the discomforts of the long trip. and to take advantage of a php150/person accomodation in auntie pising's home. we got in touch with her from the driver of the van that took us from kalibo to caticlan. god bless his soul, had it not been for him we would have contented ourselves to the php1,500 a room accomodations.
over the next one and a half days, lissa completed the quartet and had the time of our lives going around looc in tablas island in romblon. now this is something for the books! luck was at our side, when right before we started the three hour pump boat ride to looc from caticlan rain started to pour. almost half way through, the kids beside us started barffing. even their mom joined them in their fray. it must have been the european man who looked like bill murray, who may have forgotten to take a bath in the last few weeks who might have caused all the commotion. if not then maybe its the large waves and the troubled sea. it must have been the latter.
anyways, we passed through carabao island but had no time to stop. promising to come back after a few days, the gang made our way on top of the boat. the sun has just smiled and i found nothing wrong in starting to expose my skin to uv rays. so we were there, and lounging and talking and almost falling asleep when dolphins started to get excited. they couldn't believe these bunch of human beings standing on top of the boat and clapping. they seem to have gotten the que and swam with our boat for a while. they were really having a good time viewing the excited humans that they jumped out of the water out of sheer joy. they must be thinking that humans must have been pretty interesting creatures, that they would be clapping to something normal as swimming and jumping out of the water the way dolphins do.
the humans were still excited when they arrived at looc. it was hot, damn hot. so right after settling in to the pacific garden hotel fronting the town square, we headed off to the fish sanctuary of the municipality. what i heard from the likes of joefrey, rene and dax in my aadc days have taken on another life form in this municipality. four years in the making and they have guarded a 48 hectare fish sanctuary that doubled as a breeding ground for fish and tourist attraction at that. right beside the spire of what was once a light house off the cove of looc, a payaw, or a floating cottage was attached. there visitors could stay for the day and do some snorkelling and fish feeding.
the efforts were admirable, if the tiny patch of blue corals is an indication of good things. in just four years they have mobilized a group of fishermen to guard the sanctuary and keep it off from illegal fishers. same as my idea of development. for as long as people are giving their stakes to development, the initiative can never go wrong. but i was not there to work, so i just lazed around with the group and waited for the sunset. nice i say. the moment never fails to give me that feeling that only sunsets can give. just before the sun lost its rays, i sighed a simple thanks to god who created sunsets such as this so beautiful and so nice.
we were off to a slow start next morning so we just went to aglicay beach resort. imagine a serene cove, some rock formations on the right, coconut trees lining the shore, white sand, nice cool water that complements the warm afternoon sun, good food at that (courtesy of pamilihang bayan ng looc and the expert hands of the cook from the place we stayed), and the most important thing, the only other people we found are barriotic punk (our driver who was christened as such), minda and her grand daughter (the care takers of the resort) and the mr. and mrs. owners. amazing how this beauty can be so reserved to us lucky souls. the whole expanse of the sea and the sand is grandeur in itself. this is a picturesque moment that does not happen everyday. the man and the sea, and this time they are not against each other.
next day we woke up early to a glorious sunrise. i am not a fan of sunrises but this one surely made it to my list. i cannot help but swell in tears (well at least inside) as i lovingly gazed at the sun climbing the horizon beneath the clouds. though there were some "ipo ipo" winds in the distance, the reasurring sun displaced all the worries that i might have been carrying at the moment. we are going to carabao island from looc. the usual trip is to get there from sta. fe also in tablas island.
"do you know the way to san jose?" seems to be the theme song of the day. we rented a fishing boat and decided to go on a mini adventure of sorts before meeting up with anj, tat and jan (we still did not know then that mia would be with us... sayang the siquijor gang would have been complete with ray and mayette around). the water was like oil in the morning sun. it never looked so peaceful. i was enjoying looking forward when suddenly our teeny-mini fishing boat faced tougher waters. then it got more interesting. the boat started to go through water and decided that it would not let its passengers reach san jose (carabao island) with dry clothes. it was a ravishing experience to meet the waves. but i was never afraid even for just a moment. i know that these waves shall pass and they may even get to be enjoyable, after i realized that i was not wearing my trunks. with wet clothes we docked at carabao island and got ready for another day of adventure.
CAN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT...
see anj's account I'M BACK on our carabao island gimik.
it was a day of visiting beaches, riding a motorcycle (well for a party of eight, there were four habal-habal making their way criss-crossing the island), warm sun, being disappointed by a cave that wouldn't let us in, and a spring that is already made into a reservoir. but the day was capped by one of the most memorable sunsets at tagaytay point. then dinner with vice mayor ging, two bottles of beer, waiting for that star to fall while being swayed softly in our hammocks, and the sweet whistle of the pleasant moonlit night.
all the while we were saying that things could not get better anymore. but every moment in carabao island outdoes the previous one. next day we woke up to a magnanimous (whew, getting difficult sunrises) sunrise. as anj would have said, "came up the way it came down (yesterday)."
well, what is more to say about boracay? the accolades seem to have stopped as its claim to fame as a 18km stretch of powdery white sand. suffice it to say that it is malate or libis or greenbelt or timog with a beach. and you would enjoy it depending on what side of the viewpoint you are looking at.
but as usual, if places turn out to be dismal, i would usually turn to people to save the day. it was nice seeing old friends in jvp. hearing about their stories, new ones, reminiscent ones and updating ones seem to bring back a time when i was noisy with joy to serve and to give of oneself in service. i kinda miss those times, for the noise has toned down a bit and settled to normalcy, good thing the joy and the passion has remained.
and that was what we did in bora, drink some beer (damn expensive), eat some food (sinfully steep in price) and have a good time with JVPs through out the years.
good things never seem to last. good thing it was not difficult to say goodbye to a wonderful week. as ninin and i made our way to caticlan from boracay next day, i am glad that bora sorta weaned me from an amazing week in romblon. it started to bring me back to reality.
ninin and i came home the way we arrived in this vacation, through a long journey. but this time the feelings of the race has abated and it was sleep and eating all the time. our route: bora-caticlan (ferry) caticlan - iloilo (taxi) iloilo - zambo - cotabato (superferry) and cotabato - kabacan - davao (weena bus).
and so it came to pass, almost two weeks since that eventful week. my arms and back have almost finished shedding sunburnt skin, and the tropa have started to talk less and less about it. already a lot of events has passed since then. but i can't seem to place why there is something in this vacation that has made it soooo much better than last year.
well, i may have the next few months to figure it out, or maybe it needs no figuring out anymore.... anyways, till next year.