Biri Island

Biri is a statement. I can't be adding anything to its name if I use beautiful as a predicate because after seeing the island, Biri cannot be anything else but that. 

It is a respite after traveling for over 20 hours. From its people, to the view, and the simplicity of life, everything is a relief from the tiring trip and the numbing stress at the office. The island provides a sense of calm and an avenue for thinking about things that we try hard to ignore every day. 

Not Just Passing By Baguio

Baguio City
Even with a little hangover, I forced myself to get up earlier than usual on Christmas day to turn off the fan. It was cold.

I had to get my first cup of Benguet’s finest. And in the middle of my musings over coffee, I must have decided I wanted more of the cool air for twelve hours later, I found myself adjusting my seat on a bus bound for Baguio.

How to Get to MOA from San Pedro on a Payday Friday

Be on the National Highway in San Pedro at exactly 5:23 in the afternoon.

That is a good time to be sentimental if you like sunsets. Watch out for those green buses that snake their way through the road. If you are the kind that likes adventure, get on one of them and take a window seat. You will know why when you get to the skyway, where you'll see flashbacks of your life before you. That will just be for a few minutes before an old movie of the Action King shows the exciting part of story on the bus TV. He fights back to avenge the death of his mother. Say the lines with him. You know the script and the plot very well. All movies are the same.

Remembering Her

The phone seems useless beside the vase today.
She won't be there to sulk if I did not call.
And I won't be making the call even if I want to tell her 
How my dog bit me last night while playing fetch
It was an accident, I'd say
She'd tell me to see a doctor, quit smoking, and, 
When are you coming home?

I pick up the phone,
useless beside the empty vase, 
and remember you today, 
as I do every day.

The Crater, the Sea and Taking Chances

(This is an account, a very long one, of my trip from Bulusan's crater to Southern Leyte's Limasawa, then to Kalanggaman Island in Palompon.)

We weren't late for the bus ride.

We had three minutes before departure, but somebody had already taken my spot. He asked if we could switch seats so he could be seated next to his wife. I didn't mind, for I was just happy I made it on time. Besides, he looked like he had drooled over the place. So, I took his seat, took off my shoes, pulled up the leg rest and reclined. The bus slowly started off seconds after. Eight hours was a real long time to travel on a bus, but I was glad for the lazyboy seat.

I ran through my itinerary again. I had to be sure I had enough time and budget for the 9-day trip. From Bulusan Volcano, we would head for Carigara through Samar and Tacloban, then to Limasawa, and finally back up north to Sambawan island before heading for Cebu for some barbecue. This was going to be difficult. I would have to be on the run, skip some meals and probably sleep at terminals to realize the plan. I palpitated, but not sure if it was because of anxiety or excitement.

Kalanggaman Island and Her Stories

I didn't mean to see Kalanggaman. At least, this was not what I had in mind when I created the itinerary.

I was going for Sambawan island in Biliran, Leyte. But while in Limasawa, I figured I would not make it in time for the last ferry that would leave for Maripipi (the jump-off to the island).

But with only two nights left before vacation is over, I crammed searching for other places and considered going for Kalanggaman again. I excluded it from my itinerary, since there are no passenger boats going to the island. Hiring a boat would would cost me at least Php 3000 (see travel notes below). If I were with a group, this would be fine.

Limasawa: Beyond Beaches and History

History class must have been ages ago for I could only remember that Magellan had landed in Limasawa in the 16th century. I didn't know that he'd landed on a Holy Thursday and celebrated the first mass on an Easter Sunday. And I had no idea that this claim is being contested by two other provinces.

But I did not go there to dabble in history (see travel notes below). I went there to be away from the city into a place that’s not frequented by people on vacation. And, that is not to say this was a trip for the birds, either. Limasawa is a place that does not need to have white beaches or interesting tourist spots for anyone to love it. Being there is the reward.