August 4, 2011, I was supposed to try surfing, have fun with the waves and go extremes but my friends cancelled the getaway, so I decided to go on my way squeezed in clothes, charger and all other very essential stuff to my backpack and dare my self to travel solo. 8:30 pm Victory Liner, Kamuning Cubao, my tweet was “this is it”, and so be it. Seriously, I don’t have any fear that anything bad might happened, it could be my last travel and it could be an en route of my soul to heaven meet San Pedro, whatsoever. That very moment all that I have was adrenaline, adrenaline that finally after years of wanting to try finally “this is it”.
My seat number is 24, when I got in the bus my seat mate is not yet their so I sat beside the window which I do prefer for my sight seeing and part of the soul searching (charrr). When my seatmate came I smiled and he smiled back or the other way around, I don’t remember anymore but I was actually waiting him to say “ahh, miss that’s my seat number and you’re seat is on the aisle, get up and move a little over” or maybe in a little nicer way but fortunately and thank God it didn’t happened, I got my preferred sit, do my sight seeing and tried to find my soul. Going on with the trip, I check if there is wifi on board to tweet a little more but the bus I took don’t have it, so I plugged in my earphones search my eheads playlist and so on. Suddenly the man beside me crack the first conversation, the first question is “sa’n ka nagwowork?” I replied “sa pasig”,(period). Plugged in my earphones again and do the sight seeing. I’m an ambivert but most of the time introvert and besides I remind myself to not trust anyone, because anyone could be your predator.
First stop over (if I am not mistaken),he asked if I’m going down I said “no” but changed my mind when I realized I need to go to the C.R. I get the tissue from my bag and loose the toxic waste on the bowl, when I got back he ask a familiar question “tibo ka ba?”, I immediately said in a very stiff note “hindi po (of course not)” and laugh at him, the reason he ask that is because the khaki pants I’m wearing and I don’t know for all the reason in the world to ask that question is the look of my pants, familiar question with an unfamiliar reason. I am always mistaken as that maybe because of the way I walk or because I am not the girly girly type but not in the way that I dressed. The moment after that was a laugh out loud and question keep rolling and answers keep rolling too, and then back to my playlist again, I also tried to catch some sleep which I didn’t succeeded or maybe I had a little nap which I’m unaware of, until 2nd stop over came. On the second stop over, he invited me for a lugaw which I said yes because I think I need to load some energy or maybe I just like the invitation, well anyway whatever the reason we ate lugaw at “lugawan stopover” (not the real name, I just named it) and yes he did paid for the bill, which made me so uncomfortable but overwhelmed, I knew it right stranger are friends in the making. the title of the scene is “you had me at lugawan, chos!”. Questions roll again, he ask about my zodiac sign actually my birth month first, which I answered “Pisces”, I think he thinks that it is weird to travel solo, he thinks now that pisceans are weird and came the age question, oh well he was the first one ask about my age, I just don’t know the reason maybe of astrology sake or he thinks I look so young or I look so old or he’s just curious, I answered him 25 and ask the questions back with a “po” in the ending and he replied “bakit may po, kasi 39 na kaya may po”. The conversation became so long but not very long there are times that I look over the window plugged in my earphones and portray the introvert me. He talks about Tabuk, the right pronunciation of Callao, offered a coffee, his work, delicacies, get my name including surname (the question that is supposed to be ask first before all the other question), ask about my number which I gave without any hesitation and also as part of my dare, dare to have friends along the way, to trust.
I ate my breakfast at Lories cafe and restaurant which is the saddest part of the journey–eat alone. I am the type of person that would rather skip meals than eat alone but part of the dare is to be alone so be it. Then go on with visiting St. Peter and Paul cathedral, the Callao cave and San Carlos cave and what happened will be written on other page of this blog. Before he got out of the bus at Roxas, Isabela he said to see me in Tuguegarao for the coffee and a dinner. My plans kept changing, there are tons of ideas playing in my head, I even tweeted “I feel so aligaga”. So, I texted him that I might not be able to get back at Tuguegarao because I am planning to see the circadian bats which will happen when sun sets to rest and perform job to other side of the world and also I haven’t check in yet to a Hotel. Suddenly, after the San Carlos cave I change my mind and I decided not to wait for the sunset and the circadian bats because I already seen the bundle of bats inside the cave and I feel so dirty spelunking over the muddy San Carlos cave and decided to have dinner with a stranger that happened to be a friend.
We had dinner at RGT which serves the best “bulalo” but unfortunately we were not able to catch it, better luck next time. At the diner with his friend, he offered to try other foods of Tuguegarao for lunch next day and if I want to go to Tabuk in Kalinga to buy Kalinga blend coffee, my reply is “pagiisipan ko (I’ll think about it).” Second day–my last day came, the jeepney bound to Piat wasted my precious 2 hours waiting for the passenger but I do understand and I know I am not in Manila and because of that I have to change the plan, I have to checked out first at Hotel Lorita at 12 nn before heading to Iguig for the Calvary hills instead of Calvary hills first before checkout which in time for the lunch. So, I texted Jinky that I will not be able to have lunch with them because I have to go to Calvary Hills, after all I am in Tuguegarao to visit Calvary Hills and not to have lunch with them but I love to have company while eating but the time tickling over my itinerary. When I am already in Iguig the heat is smiling back at me, I was dripping in sweat from the burning heat, it feels like in a Calvary literally, my plan to stay a little longer to the Church shift to a decision to text Jinky and have a late lunch and besides I’m also thinking it was 1pm and the first trip to Manila is 5pm, I don’t wanna kill time waiting for it to hit 5. The lunch push through at Kainang Pilipino with the rest of his gang and I said yes to Tabuk road trip to buy that special Coffee of Kalinga, trying my luck to be the sweetest girl who will lend coffee to my coffee lovers family and some friends. Yes, I hop on someones car, a total stranger guy’s car with 4 boys at the backseat just for the place and the coffee, with extra scary stories, no not scary, actually morbid stories about tribal wars and how unsafe the place I bump in just for the coffee and the place which I never imagine my happy feet could be reached. And, the reason I said yes is maybe the over flowing of adrenaline, the dare I want to prove, the trust I want to share and the experience I will forever cherish. To let you know really I didn’t feel any fear at all (yabang), there is no intuition at all that those strange guys I met that eventually became my friends will do any harm on anybody, after all I’m not afraid to die any moment from that time up to this time, I’m living life as if the last day basis but I was joking to already call my parents deliver my farewell piece even if I’m not into it..hahaha.. I love my family and the life I have right now and I’m taking good care of it but sometimes we need to take some detour on not so safe road, sometimes we just need to move and dare to get out of the boat and walk on the water. Tabuk is such a lovely lovely place, maybe morbid stories coming out are good for them, so that it could not be reach by some predator in disguise with his exploitative hand that will harm its beauty, those hills I’ve seen are so majestic and the infos that strange guy lend me will forever be kept and shared.
Life is a never ending search, we need to search to live, sometimes we need to leave in order to search and to live the life. We need to smile back always when someone smiled at us because strangers are friends on making. I learned a lot from that journey, my lonesome pilgrimage. Sometimes all we need is just one move, move to dare your self in order to find it, we may not found what we are looking for but surely it will be a blessing. In my search for solace, I found someone–a friend that made me feel so special for a day and took me to a place I never thought I’d be able to reach.