Tumult & moving on, 2012 wrap up, Part 3 of 3

Crossing the channel from Isabela City to Malamawi Island, Basilan

Crossing the channel from Isabela City to Malamawi Island, Basilan

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3

September August was cruel. And in the next four months, from September to December, my travels were more of an escape. Come to think of it, whenever I am in Makati, I just get depressed that I have all sorts of excuses and reasons to travel. That’s what the heartbreak did to me, travel to seek refuge of being anonymous, travel to distract oneself. But no amount of traveling can console me.

A tributary to the Ambuklao Dam, Bokod, Benguet.

A tributary to the Ambuklao Dam, Bokod, Benguet. CLICK TO ENLARGE

For 25 days in September, I was on the road. I traveled to Baguio and Benguet for work and leisure. I crossed the country to visit Zamboanga City, Basilan, and traveled all the way to Ozamiz in Misamis Occidental via Pagadian in Zamboanga del Sur by bus and spent two nights, toured around the place and visited our old home, then spent a night in Cebu before going back to Makati only to change and pack up and travel to Baguio again.

I went to Davao City for five days with a stop at Samal City, supposedly for vacation (but more of distracting myself) but was still able to find work for a magazine article that I did interviews, food tasting and shoots in the last two days.

Bats at Samal's bat sanctuary. Samal Island, Davao del Norte. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Bats at Samal’s bat sanctuary. Samal Island, Davao del Norte. CLICK TO ENLARGE

I didn’t want to stop traveling. For stopping means staying in Makati and remembering the pain, remembering the hurt. Love is cruel. And I was blinded from looking at the many red flags. But travel is always a consolation. I have driven myself to be distracted by exploration, adventure. Discovering new food, meeting people. But at the onset of dusk, when I’m all alone in the room, its one hell of a place to be.

Teduray gong players during the trek to Mt. Firis Complex in Maguindanao

Teduray gong players during the trek to Mt. Firis Complex in Maguindanao

October Just like September, I was traveling for 25 days. I was wearing myself out. I was scared to stop. Fortunately, October was full of travels locally and abroad. And I always had excuses to hit the road, to ride a bus to a far province or ride a plane and cross international boundaries.

I got invited by Microtel to visit Baguio again. And I was just thankful. The cool weather is always welcome and I always feel safe in her embrace. This month’s pain was lesser now, compared to August and September. But there were still moments when I just break down.

The Mactan Shrine in Lapulapu City, Cebu

The Mactan Shrine in Lapulapu City, Cebu. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Heading back to Manila, onboard a Victory Liner bus, I was craving for pansit batil patung and I had another excuse to travel again. Cagayan is also a wonderful place to visit: old churches, pansit, caves and waterfalls. I was there for two nights.

After Cagayan, I was able to snag a free Manila – Zamboanga - Tawitawi – Zamboanga – Manila ticket and off I flew without hesitation. Another travel opportunity to go back to these places again and again. This time, my travels are unhurried. I just spend days without doing anything or just visiting old haunts in both provinces and take pictures. Just enjoy without thinking of what to blog or write about.

I was again in Cebu for liesure. With some friends, we explored Oslob and visited the whale sharks and that beautiful waterfall and spent a night in Crimson Resort and Spa in Mactan.

Tricycles outside the Sanga-sanga airport in Tawitawi, early in the morning waiting for arriving passengers from Zamboanga City.

Tricycles outside the Sanga-sanga airport in Tawitawi, early in the morning waiting for arriving passengers from Zamboanga City. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Malaysia was beautiful, visiting it upon the invitation of Zest Air and Tourism Malaysia and this allowed me to explore Kedah. Within hours of returning back to Makati, I was again packing up and heading strait to the airport for my flight to Cotabato for an NGO assignment.

Maguindanao was peaceful at that time and we were hiking to the Mt. Firis complex with the other Tedurays.

All the while that we were trekking, they also have this party of gong players who accompanied us all to the site. And in the middle of this, as the sun was about to set, all things just came together: the rythmic sound of the gongs, the reason why these proud tribe is going, filled with hope and longing, and in my own emotional state, I experienced my thin place for the first time and I just got weak.

Wedding boat at the Tonle Sap, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Wedding boat at the Tonle Sap, Siem Reap, Cambodia. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Its something that cannot be explained. I just sat there, overwhelmed with emotion. Is the weariness and pain finally catching up with me? But it was different. It became something spiritual and light. Calmness enveloped me after. I was reassured.

After arriving again in Makati, I changed clothes and packed up again for my flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia. Invited for the Blogfest Asia, I was able to explore the city and Phnom Penh without exploring the temples and Angkor Wat. The place is just beautiful that I am planning to go there again and spend a month.

San Vicente Church in San Vicente, Ilocos Sur

San Vicente Church in San Vicente, Ilocos Sur

November I was still in Cambodia for the next four days but have to cut it short for a work assignment in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. Nothing fancy about this month, just the usual travel to Baguio, Tarlac, Cebu and a short trip to Iloilo where I visited Dingle for its beautiful neo gothic cemetery chapel.

Dancers during Capiz's Sinadya Festival

Dancers during Capiz’s Sinadya Festival

December The end of the year started with a trip to the Bondoc Peninsula in Quezon province with my friend Jan. There, we explored for old churches and other heritage houses. We visited Unisan, Pitogo, Macalelon, Catanauan and Mulanay before heading to Atimonan and Gumaca.

The lonely mermaid of Atimonan. CLICK TO ENLARGE

The lonely mermaid of Atimonan. CLICK TO ENLARGE

An invite came through courtesy of Claire, another travel blogger and this time, in Capiz province for their Sinadya Festival. The province is really a beautiful place with great food, old architecture and interesting places. We trekked to waterfalls, pilgrimage sites and entered caves.

This month is meaningful. After the tumult in August, we were still on and off. And it was, finally, this month back in Cebu where I stayed for many weeks for an assignment, that we finally parted not in the best of circumstance and with bad blood. Enmity. I have to do it. There’s no more choice left. Its no longer worth it. From bf, I became a third party and I don’t want to lose more of my self respect or whatever’s left of it.

Breakfast at Caingget, Tagbilaran, Bohol. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Breakfast at Caingget, Tagbilaran, Bohol. CLICK TO ENLARGE

“Love is blind…” they say and I was in that state for so long. Now that the blinders are off, and all those escapist travels seemed to have helped, I’ve come to see the person objectively, connected the dots and there were the warning flags all along. But I was too much in love to notice before. Not anymore.

The last few days of the year were spent in Bohol, which has been great. I traveled the whole length of the circumferential road network of the island province and enjoyed eating breakfast of seafoods in Caingget. It was a great way to cap off a rather tumultuous year for me and my heart. With a friend’s visit on the last day of the year in Cebu, I’m on to the path of healing and living again. Writing all this stuff is catharsis.

2013 will be my year of grace.

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3

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