(previous Blogger post, October 12, 2006, Thursday)

Every now and then, I’ll be blogging in detail about the places I’ve visited – in chronological order. Some of the details may be inconsequential to readers, but I have my selfish reason, hehe! This will double as my travel journal – a retroactive one, haha! I always bring a pen and notebook when I travel, thinking that I’ll be writing about my day each night before I go to sleep. The thing is, it’s either I’m too tired or I chat with my roommates until we fall asleep. So, I have never, ever written a single word during my travels. Sometimes, I am so caught up in the place and the moment that I even forget to take photographs. Case in point: I don’t have a single picture of the beautiful plaza and fountain in front of my hotel in Paris, yet I passed by it countless times during my stay. I also don’t have a photo of the beautiful park with picture-perfect sunbeams falling on the benches and the ground and where two little French girls tried to befriend me. Looking back, I should have had a picture taken with those girls. Oh well, I’d rather have fewer photos than have tons of those and barely remember the stories behind those pictures. I have some pictures of beautiful places or structures which I can’t even remember their exact location or why I took the picture – other than that it looks good – or what happened to me in that place at that moment. I’d rather live a moment than capture it in film. Yep, I still love to use my dad’s good old manual camera. That would explain why some of my travel posts won’t have a lot of photos in them. Most are not in digital form. I am a frustrated visual artist, and I try to vent it through photography. At least I’m not bad at it, unlike when it comes to drawing or painting.

Aaargh, I’m rambling about travel again. Maybe it’s because I’ve had two nights in a row when I dreamed of being in another place. In one, I was in Bangkok and I was trying to catch a train to go to Shanghai! My problem was that all signs were in Chinese so I couldn’t figure it out. In the other one, I was in Bacolod and I was trying to ride a taxi to go to Iloilo, then I remembered that it’s another island altogether, so what I needed was a ferry. I then went back to my hotel room and ranted about it to, ta-da, WILL of Will and Grace. I’ve never had a logical dream. Who does, anyway?

I’m getting frustrated because I don’t have a new job yet – yes, it’s tough for writers to find regular jobs here in Pinas – so it means I’m grounded. No new places to visit for now. I actually promised a friend, who is seriously itching to go on a month-long seaside vacation, that one of these days we’ll go to Dumaguete and just sit at the boulevard and write and write. Girl, wait til I get that job and we’re off as soon I’m allowed to take vacation leaves.

I think I’m actually working so I can travel, and I don’t know if it makes practical sense. But we only have one life to live and this is a big world with so many different kinds of people. If I could touch the life of just one person who is totally different from me, who knows an entirely different life in another place, then my life is worth living. I know my life has been enriched by sharing moments with people who I don’t normally get to interact with in daily life. One of my happiest times came in the company of fishermen and their families in Manito, Albay. It was one late afternoon inside a hut on stilts at a mangrove area. They were having a videoke session and asked us to join them. We did (I did not sing!), and they gave us warm soft drinks and chips. Then we just traded stories and jokes while they sang. We didn’t want to leave yet when it was time to go, but we had to be on the road before darkness so we reluctantly left. They have very simple lives and they have almost nothing, yet they were among the happiest people I have ever seen. You could see it in their eyes. Yes, they reflect the harshness of their lives, but they still sparkle. I can’t always say that about people like us who have easier lives than them. They taught me that greater happiness can be found in simple things and places.

I did not ask to go to different places around the Philippines. I was just lucky enough to have had a project that took me there. It opened my eyes and allowed me to see how beautiful our country is, beyond the usual tourist spots. It made me see that there could be life for me even outside Metro Manila. Some of my friends couldn’t believe that I’m serious about relocating to a province – if given an opportunity in a province I like. But I really am. Ok, I’ll admit a bias towards Visayas. I am after all half-Visayan. It’s like home to me. My choices for relocation: Capiz (of course!), Cebu, Bacolod, Dumaguete. I didn’t include Iloilo because – pardon me, Ilonggos – I didn’t quite like it when I went there. I can’t pinpoint exactly what I didn’t like, I just didn’t have the feeling that I could live there, unlike in the other places I mentioned. BUT, if a great opportunity arises, I would definitely take it. Iloilo after all is nearest to Capiz.

Whew, I’d better stop now. All this rambling/ranting is making me want to hop on the next plane. Bad idea for now.