I turned a year older this week and so I did something special for myself – I traveled alone in the highly urbanized city of Bacolod, the home of the Maskara Festival.
The idea of going there wasn’t planned; I just wanted to take advantage of the seat sale last year. And the act of going there wasn’t well thought-of either; I just packed three sets of clothes, inappropriate clothes to be exact, and went there without a definite itinerary, neither in print nor in mind.
Well, I have searched for places to go, but which one should go first and last, I did not think of. Also, I called my clothes inappropriate because they (plus my hat) basically gave me away to the locals, I mean, it was so obvious that I wasn’t from there. Haha! I think it’s a rule among travelers to always fit in to a place so as not to attract too much attention.
There were a lot of times though that the locals tried speaking to me in Ilonggo, their native dialect. I wanted to show off a bit by telling, ‘indi ko kabalo mag-Ilonggo’ ( I don’t speak Ilonggo), but I always end up telling them, ‘I’m from Bulacan, Tagalog only.’
My AirBnB host, Ate Rudy helped me a lot with my itinerary and in taking public commutes in the city. She also fetched me from The Ruins on my first night and dropped me off to the jeepney terminal going to Murcia on my second day. She even graciously fed me with desserts. (She bakes great cupcakes. If anyone here is to visit, she has a café at the 888 mall.)
I won’t be detailing here the places I’ve been to or the expenses I made, a lot of other blogs can already give you that. But I will be sharing instead the trove of ideas that went inside my head and why getting lost is the perfect way of finding yourself.
Traveling – Day 1 Musings
Traveling alone is my Brave Goal number 1 as written in my Brave Goals which I made two years ago. It made sense then and maybe until now that traveling alone is synonymous to being brave. It will bring you to unfamiliar places with a dialect you can’t comprehend and a different culture.
But I realized that traveling alone is more than being brave. Traveling alone is liberating and redeeming at the same time. It frees you from your tight grip from what is certain, from what imprisons your heart or haunts your soul. It likewise redeems who you really are – the real you who follows the soul and not the crowd or what is expected of you.
It can also remind you, through the kindness of the people around and the falling into place of circumstances that everything will turn out fine. Things might be messy or ugly or confusing or just pointless right now, but you will be okay.
Dying – Day 2 Thoughts
Going to Mambukal Resort in Murcia from Bacolod City takes about an hour. As I marvel at the scenic views of the sky, mountain and sugar cane fields on my way, I was also reading a good novel. When I reached the resort, I went right away to the office to get me a guide going to the hike for the seven falls.
I got Nicko, a 23 year old local as my tour guide slash photographer. The hike started with an easy and manageable trail. I got to see beautiful, huge trees that you can’t fully cover in an embrace, bats and wild flowers. And of course, the breathtaking sight that every waterfall gives is such a wonder.
However, after the third waterfalls and a steep hike, I got a sick feeling and decided to rest for a while. My dizzy feeling was probably illuminated on my face and so Nicko asked if I have a heart condition. I lied and said no (my blood pressure soared two weeks ago with no detailed reason).
When my head got heavy and my vision black and blurry, that’s when I told him I can’t probably go on with the hike. He gave me massages on my fingers and hand until I was feeling okay and I did turn out fine, guys. But when the whole thing was happening, the thought of dying is rushing in my mind.
I thought about my parents, of how much heart break I will give them if I died right there; my sister who would probably scold me over and over until the very end; and my soul mate who would perhaps end up searching everywhere but to no avail, I died already. 😀
Today I realized that turning a year older is indeed a celebration of thanksgiving for this beautiful life. Yes, beautiful, no matter how your circumstances right now looks like. If we could only marvel at the beauty of our scars that made us stronger, the beauty of being alone that made us know ourselves better, and the beauty of disappointments that make our faith grow wider – then we’ll see, life is a wonder.
Returning – Day 3 Feelings
I woke up in the middle of the night on day 3, probably because of the number of people keeping me in their thoughts on my birthday. Haha!
I thought this whole traveling alone thing is scary, I thought. But going back is what scares me the most now.
Maybe I am just one lazy person who doesn’t want to go back to work anymore or maybe I want a different situation when I come back – something I am still pondering on today.
Anyhow, it takes bravery to return to reality again!
I realized that this is quite a read! So let me finish by saying, I tried to wander off and get lost. All I got were wonders and finding, loving myself over again.