Posted by: theboyfromsmallville | July 21, 2007

Don’t be a stranger in your own land

 Or… Coming home.

My Lakbayan grade is B-!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out atLakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

Thanks to the moonchild for this one.

I had been struggling to post something the past few weeks. Luckily, I stumbled upon this post by the Moonchild and it got me reflecting on how much I had bounced around the country for most of my life. I have, for one, established residence in the three main islands of our archipelago, a blessing considering that some people have never even travelled outside the boundaries of their current zip code.

In my life, I nearly got myself killed by drowning at the northernmost tip of Luzon Island (I forgot the name of the beach now, which is not surprising since I tend to block off nasty memories–such as being sucked straight into the sandy ocean floor by a powerful undertow that had me picking highlights of a life that was flashing right before my eyes) and gulping down ice-cold beer while polishing off tuna jaws and tummies grilled over orange-glow coals just ten minutes after having been plucked off a fisherman’s net.

Of course, much of this travelling was done by way of cheating. I am not a chronic backpacker. My job just affords me the chance to see most of my beloved country.
So, in between both NDE’s (near death experience and nastily drunk experience) I had:

Picked strawberries, gritted teeth, smoked weed, ridden horseback in Baguio;
Kissed a giant clam,  eaten fresh worms, gone searching for Rico Yan’s ghost in Palawan;
Wolfed down two whole chickens on a bet, gotten the massage of my life in Bacolod;
Lost P5,000 and won P13,800 in a casino, played with Tarsiers, swum illegally in a beach in Iloilo;
Sun-toasted myself, banana-boated, ogled at half-naked women, played golf in Boracay;
Swum across islands, lived like Tom Hanks in Castaway, gotten chased by dogs in a lonely, unlit cemetery road, gorged on urchins in Pangasinan;
Raised fish, dove into Taal Lake, played golf, gotten really wasted drunk, wasaked with the wasakrew in Batangas;
Consumed a huge bowl of bulalo, driven like a madman, tasted mushroom burgers, fallen in love in Tagaytay;
Paid homage to the underwater dead, jammed it up with PBB Housemates, fallen in love again, hot-and-cold-springed in Camiguin;
Hot-and-cold springed, fallen in love really hard for the first time in Laguna;
Trekked the foot of Mt. Apo, feasted on the finest egg-and-crab omelet in Davao;
Grown fat on longganisa and bagnet, slept in a haunted house, walked under the sunset on cobblestoned streets, had a deep, insightful conversation with a mason in Vigan;
Viewed Mt. Mayon from different angles in Albay;
Calmed the tension of a christian-muslim misunderstanding in a cafeteria in Lanao;
Caressed Ma. Cristina’s waters, walked a mile in a forest in Iligan;
Tightroped a mountain from where you can see both eastern and western edges of Cebu, crossed a hanging bridge in Balamban;
Crossed myself in front of three crucifixes marking the spot where people were killed in a gunfight between soldiers and insurgents, wasaked with the wasakrew in Quezon;
Surfed–or at least learned to, wasaked with the wasakrew, played beach volleyball and football in La Union;
Fallen in love hardest, gone toy- and cellphone-hunting, eaten like there was no tomorrow in Nueva Ecija;

My other escapades escape me now. But I will update this post as soon as I get a chance to clear off the cobwebs that have obscured the images of my trips around the country.

Of course, this is not to mention the places that matter to me the most: Cagayan de Oro, where memories of the wafting aroma of sea breeze, of sitting at the edge of a pier watching ships coming and going and of freshly-baked pan de coco dipped into hot chocolate make the heart warm up to now; and Cebu City, where the birthplace of crushes has become the haven for tired, beaten souls that want to rest in afternoon porches amid the unending laughter of the innocents.

I have lived there. In Cagayan de Oro. In Cebu. I have lived in San Mateo, Rizal, in two different houses where you could lay down awake all night, yet the darkness would never seem to give way to day. I have lived in Quezon City, the capital of Smallville, where residents always manage to find laughter and love in the most unsuspecting places. I have lived in Manila, where I learned that the reason why life beats you up is that it wants to point you to the direction you are so stubbornly not taking even when you should.

There is a negative to all this moving, all this transplanting, all this uprooting. You tend to have a mishmash of memories that make you lose your sense of history of you. No friends. No photographs. No looking forward to drinking binges with old pals talking about the old days.

But hey. The sunset in Cagayan de Oro is far different from the sunset in Baguio. And the laughter of children in Cebu is different from the laughter of children elsewhere. So what I miss in memories, I make up for in experiences. Yes, I am trying to convince myself that.

In the meantime, I’ll soak in the experiences of travelling around my country. Thank you, job. Thanks for taking me, too, to foreign places such as Las Vegas, Washington, Hollywood, New York and New Jersey in the United States; South Korea; Chiang Mai, Bangkok and un-spell-able provinces in Thailand; Malaysia; Brunei and, soon, Japan.



  1. I took the test and got a D. :( So, so sad.

  2. tel: sportswriter ka pa naman naturingan. you should have had at least a C+. hehehehehehe

    don’t worry. your time will come

  3. Oo nga eh. Guess my time hasn’t come yet. Pag dumating yan, naku, A na grade ko!!!

    It was nice reading your blog again. :)

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