The habal-habal sped off down the slope at the junction in Damay, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon as I sat just behind the rambunctious driver of the Honda motorcycle. To keep my balance, I am tightly holding on to the customized metal frames at the rear end that serves as a seat for a passenger in this ingeniously converted mode of mountain transport.
As it negotiated stony and narrow paths as well as blind curves on this rough trail that used to be a logging road, the air seemed to get cooler as we climbed in elevation. The high canopy of trees above parted and as we came and stopped at a clearing at one side of the mountain, lo and behold, just before us, a majestic view of Bukidnon in the heart of Mindanao. Its plateaus, hills and mountains with the awesome Kitanglad and Kalatungan mountain ranges looming at the background set in place to form a perfect panorama that easily imprinted in my mind.
I am exhilarated. I am ecstatic. And I am humbled at such natural beauty!
I always love going to and experiencing places. Be it in the rugged landscapes of Batanes (above) or tasting durian for the first time in Davao. Become teary eyed as strong fried chili finally made its mark at a streetside diner in Bangkok. What about gazing up the majestic brick wonder that is the Spanish colonial era church in Tumauini, Isabela or crossing the open sea dangerously between Homonhon Is. and Guiuan in Samar on a small banca against strong waves from the Pacific? Or inadvertently breaking a taboo in Batad, Ifugao that, thank God, it didn’t cost me much for the ritual to be done again?
Travel offers all these wondrous sensory overload. It broadens one’s horizons. It is not only a discovery of places, people, vistas and food. It is not only about reaching the destination. More than that. It is a personal journey to one’s self.
Travel is a passion.
No wonder I constantly have itchy feet and hit the road to nowhere.