There are so many things I thought of blogging today. After swimming 750 meters on a very rainy day with fog all over things just made sense and suddenly my mind was clear and I am ready to write again. I went back to my room to find the Philippine Star. I was able to read Jessica Zafra's column about the trips that she did with her sister who was married recently and I remembered the trip that I took a few years back. Me and my dad fondly called it the Great Vacation for it was spent inside a van, across 16 provinces, 6 barge rides and thousands of kilometers.
Daddy had long been talking about doing something. Like me, he is not the type of person who enjoys staying at home. Even if he has no money, he'd rather see new places than be a home buddy. The year was 2003. It was summer and we embarked on our grand vacation. Our team was basically everyone in the family. My father, me and my other 5 siblings, my step mother, our driver and one house help. We all cramped inside our van, with me as the navigator seated in front, we travelled across the country for a great adventure.
From our house in Makati, we went south, passing through Laguna, Lucena until finally reaching Legazpi City by eight in the evening. We had dinner at the Provincial Headquarters where Daddy's classmate was Provincial Director. Originally, the plan was to sleep over and then proceed to our next destination so that we can see Mayon Volcano at daytime. But my stepmother was excited. She wants to reach Samar the next day so after taking a little rest, we started travelling again towards Matnog, Sorsogon where we will take our first barge to Allen, Samar. By morning, everyone around us were already Waray-speaking and we encountered our first problem. Something in the brake of the car got damaged and it was unsafe to travel. Still very tired, we slept inside the van while waiting for it to be repaired. After about 3 hours, it was finally fixed and we headed towards Catbalogan. In Catbalogan, we were greeted by a family friend that was originally based in Cebu. They gave us a sumptous lunch and then we went on our way to my stepmother's hometown, Motiong. The thing that caught my attention going there was the big shell that stood in the middle of the road like a monument or something. I learned later that in that place their industry was the cultivation of that shell (its a tahong actually... a BIIIIIG tahong). In Motiong, we finally were able to get some good night's rest where we were able to lie down a decent bed. We also had the opportunity to take a dip at their spring. It was really fun and I saw a cross dressing gay who was more beautiful than my sister (forgive me sis, that's the truth). We then travelled to Leyte passing through San Juanico Bridge. We visited some sites in Tacloban before finally heading to Ormoc to catch the barge going to Cebu. We spent the night aboard the barge and we were able to meet another family who was also travelling across the country in their van. I just realized that our idea was not an original one, who knows who else were using their van to travel across the country. In Cebu, we finally touched down to familiar territory my father being assigned there for the longest time and speaking a dialect that all of us speak. Since Cebu was no longer that interesting, we just took our breakfast and proceeded to Toledo City. From there we took another Barge going to San Carlos City, Daddy's hometown. We spend several days in San Carlos meeting our cousins and of course, hanging out at my uncles restobar, we got drunk, had some fun and then we were off again, our next destination, Boracay.
Leaving San Carlos was a whole new thing. We had more people and we were now in two vehicles. Apparently, our other relatives also want to go to Boracay so they went with us. Our team now had my other brother who was already in San Carlos, my three cousins, my Aunt and my Lolo. We left at dawn towards Bacolod arriving 2 hours later while the sun was still not out. I haven't been to Bacolod since I was in Elementary so it was surreal to go there again and listen to Ilonggos around me. We took another barge to Ilo-ilo and then started our way towards Ibajay, the Home of my Ancestors. It is interesting that in this place one baranggay is mostly composed of people who bear my family name, the baranggay can actually be renamed to our family name and noone will complain. We said our greetings to the close relatives we have there and then we went to Malay, Aklan our springboard to Boracay. It wasn't the first time that we went to Boracay, having relatives from Aklan and Daddy being assigned as Batallion Commander based in Aklan, we took advantage of it. We swum, went sightseeing on foreigners sun bathing topless (we even saw one group of Japanese women swimming naked) and of course roamed around like no other. After a two days, we went back to San Carlos to attend my uncle's festival in nearby Sipaway Island (its Refugio Island in the map). It was from there thatI realized how fun it is to take pictures. There were just so many things that the camera can capture. I was interested but did not know anything about photography. I enjoyed taking the pictures only to find out that the picture I took lack the skill of a good photographer. From that initial experience, I vowed to learn about the art and two years later I was the official photographer for my uncle's body painting contest (you can go to this site to find some of the picture I took including my uncle's talent). The festival was fantastic, with live bands, an adventure race and a whole night of dancing and getting drunk. The next day we were so tired but happy of course. I chose to be left there while the rest of my family, went back to Manila through Mindoro, Batangas and back to Makati.
I do not know if I gave justice to how wonderful that trip was. It took me and my family to different places, places that we've never been to and had fun. It was a period where we bonded as a family and had a grand time spending time with each other and enjoying the beauty of the places we've been to. When I have my own family I would want to take another trip like that. The immediate plans that I have right now with my cousin in San Carlos is to travel around Negros. I'm hoping that if I can go on break by October ( I wish, please pray for this people) we might just do this one. For the meantime I will have to end this entry now and wait for something to happen again to put me in the mood to write another of my wacky ideas....