a reality check that hit me the most


      We travel, take a break, take a nap, quit our job or if these things are not possible due to a lot       of consideration we settle ourselves to heartbreaking pathetic complains and complicate our life.  The first sentence hit me the way that it  hit you, were not perfect creatures, everybody gets tired.  But sometimes due to too much self centeredness we forget about the world and miss out the fact that we’re far more blessed than the people and their situation we overlook because we’re too focused about our own misery.

Siem Reap, Cambodia well known for its renowned heritage temples, even mistaken as Angkor Wat.  A South East Asian country and (just like us) a third world country.  A place where most lives were dependent on hope and dreams, a place very much like us holding on with hopes and dreams.  Sad to say, correct me if I’m wrong we’re far more better in terms of progress, as far as stock exchange is concern or at least as I see through my own life, having a frappucino to sip after 8 hours of work, 3 meals a day with snacks I crave for, having a 32 days leave and having a chance to travel and see the life out of my comforts.

Although not part of the itinerary we still go besides we are templed out and gone tired of too much stones.  Passing down several houses along side, sat down at the front seat of a tuktuk with a 360 degree view of Philippines rural area look a like landscape, not expecting anything not even a harsh reality

As I hop on the boat, as the driver put on the keys, pull on the motor and gradually maneuver the boat out in the open.  Suddenly I uttered this word “I’m so blessed”.  The boat lost its way,the motor stop while we’re half way through to where houses are lined up and while staring at the small boats that holds a soul paddling so hard, paddling so hard to survive a life. The two nice to goodness cambodians help each other in paddling in order to maneuver back again and finally got it right like taking chances on luck and life.  Then, the driver ask us if we want to drive, curious that I am I said yes, I drive.  Although sitting and just looking at the other side of tourism and contemplating with it is not a boring thing to do we still ask question to know more, to understand more.

The water is clear when its raining and brownish when its sunny and when the rain is heavy, when the water level becomes high  they have to evacuate to highlands to save their life.  Not all families are blessed to have a boat so when school time they fetch kids one by one, house to house like a school bus and send them to a floating school.  You can buy school supplies or foods at a floating store and donate it  to the floating school. The tour guide used to live at the unsafe village with his parents and siblings but his parents died while fishing in the night of heavy rain and now took charge of his siblings while learning english language in exchange of 20 dollars a month.

Traversing the wide river, there are kids on the boat holding snakes, asking for one dollar, houses with kids asking for one dollar, homes with hopes and dreams.  A place where remnants of their kingdom’s internal conflict, problems with genocide and past war left struggling  people just to makes ends meet.

It hit me the way that I hit you, we’re not perfect creatures.  It’s given life is an unending quest for an end.  But, isn’t sad to realized that we struggled so hard, paddled too hard to an ideal reality we perceive.  Isn’t sad to realized that we fret because of a daily routine that give us a frappucino to sip at the end of a very stressful day, we fret because of a missed piso fare, we fret because we have been cheated on, we fret because we are working on a holiday, we fret because of petty things which we can survive without.  Isn’t  sad to realized that we soul searched the whole world to understand our selves, to discover things that are only within us and there is this side of tourism where what they only need is just the basic necessities–food, clean water and a safe shelter.

A place full of life, overflowing with hopes and dreams that sad to say is a place where hopes and dreams flows down through its neighboring places and eventually discharges out to sea.  A place where poverty is a daily reality, a place where pollution is just a normal thing and a place where life begins and ends in a struggle to make ends meet.  A day to day basis of struggle for basic necessities without even minding about safety. A place where progress is sad to say, (again) correct me if I’m wrong is backward.  And as I close eyes put my hands together will not just pray to be able to see the world but also pray for all struggling nation and pray for an end to all the wars and selfishness.  

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How much is the “experience”?


a photo taken at Saigon Backpacker Hotel

I’ve heard and read a lot of stories like this many times before and I’m laughing out on how much hassle did it cost them for this kind of, (fine!) “major katangahan” and now I have my own share of tale, a tale I will never ever forget and never (promise!) commit the same mistake of (yeah I know!) “katangahan.” I swear in the name of all the gods and goddesses, from Vishnu to the apsara.

Late discovery of stupidity

It’s our fourth day already, last day in HCMC (as set on our mind set), we were walking down the streets of Pham Ngu Lao when we suddenly discovered a market where coffees are half the price more cheaper than Ben Than Market and we’re jumping out for joy because it means we can go home with lots of it and enjoy a Vietnom coffee for months after the trip. While we’re off to War Remnants museum, walking down, passing park 23 September and surviving the vietnamese everyday motorcade parade, I suddenly told them to double check our ticket if we (maybe) miss our flight and BOOM! My instinct feed me right in a super late time. Frozen while we stare at the printed pice of paper that says 1:00H and says in unison “kanina pa yung flight natin.” Then there’s the so called “adrenaline rush” that rush us back to MIMI hotel and pile up for the C.R. and immense ourselves one by one on what happened inside the comfort of what we all know comfort room. Realizing that we we’re in a big trouble we end up laughing like lost dogs, thinking out loud and bang the internet, hunt for the cheapest flight and put our hands together and (yes!) pray. It feels like 2 days had past for that 7 or 8 hours after we knew it we already bid goodbye for a hard earned money that may come a long way for another set of adventure if we only kept to our minds that there are 2 ways to tell time and MILITARY TIME is what being used by the airlines. Damn that military time. Rather than blame each other for this major mishap and regret a thing we should do that never cross our minds, we just keep telling our selves the magic word “charge to experience”.

hello girls! you missed your flight? right?
(that's my sister and cousin looking for the cheapest available flight)

and now How much did it cost us for that experience

more than the double of how much we spent to experience two countries at one time, more than twice of how much we pay for the round trip ticket. After saving so so hard, bargaining so so much, after craving to death for whip cream coated coffee this is what we get pay a …..dan…dadadaann…….10,000 pesos worth of one way ticket.

and the Moral of the story

1. There are two ways to tell time. First is the standard or 12 hour clock, the one we (Filipinos) are used to and second is by 24 hour notation, also known as the Military time or astronomical time which is the international standard notation of time. International standard notation of time that is why this is the one being used by the airlines companies, now I know. Thanks for wikipedia and for what happened. Now I know!!!

2. Check the ticket one day before not hours before and don’t just produce several copies of it, look at it and read it. Don’t just worry that you might loose a copy, worry also that there are a lot of chances that you might miss your flight.

3. Enjoy your hard earned money. When I met a Filipino and told him about what happened, after laughing out hard on us (a typical Filipino attitude), he just said enjoy the 10 k and deliver another set of laughter. It is showing tranquility and enjoying life instead of ruining a much awaited holiday just because of unintentional avoidance of circumstances. As what pen and I favorite motto says “money are supposed to be spent”. Time is indeed Gold.

one more time, always check your ticket!!!!

Loss


A eulogy for a travel companion

Its not a boy nor a girl
but its girly, hippie
strike anywhere, anytime at any cause

Its my violet, flat, “pangharabas”, (Lacoste) rubber shoes.

Yesterday morning when I’m about to leave for work, grab that shoes and excited because its Saturday meaning no HR, high ranking personnel will sneak on my shoes and discuss to me the uniform code of blah blahh. I can wear it all day till the end of duty to coffee talks.  I can work beyond the comfort of my shoes.  Suddenly, I noticed that it had gave up already.  I can no longer used it. The slit is too long to give me the comfort I need and work for me.  Also, it is very much worn out already after traveling with from home to work, working 8 hrs a day and more, after braving the floods and unexpected rain pour, and after being with me most of the time.  It now resides on its resting place and someday it might be put in a museum with a caption of my biography. Wishful thinking.  Just a bipolar thought.

Let me tell you his story.  Actually I bought it out of depression shopping.  It was sale, the credit is not working due to max out issue that I can’t comprehend.  At first, I was hesitant to buy it because it is not my personality to buy expensive things for my self, I always rely on balikbayan boxes, hand me down when it comes to expensive stuff but because I was in some state at that time, after roaming around Megamall,  thinking it thoroughly, I bought it.

You were there when I was feeling down and it was a relieve when people make notice of you and not my sadness (melodramic mode.)  You were there when I was hit by a love bug for Maira-ra point, got lost at the desert of Ilocos Norte and failed to see their renowned sundunes.  You were there when I lost my flip flop at Crystal beach beacuse I was betrayed by that whisky at left hand and San Mig at the right as my chaser, you saved me and let me change the beach fashion for the mean time,  after wondering why in the world those people (I forgot the nationality, I don’t want to sound racist) wearing their hardcore stilletos over the beach of Boracay.  You were there when we hit Baler and help me out with those pathetic mimicking.  You were there most of the time, carrying me, giving me the comfort I need in my occasional ordeal in wilderness, be it sunny or rainy.  Now you’re resting.  You will be missed.  Afterall, there are begginings and ending point in the full circle of life and we reached our memento.

I really do literally put myself into a character’s shoes.                                      —RUTH RENDELL


inside the shoe box-flipping back and forth (January-June edition, series of 2011)


inside the shoe box- flipping back and forth 

Join me as I indian sit like playing jack stone and review the events of a great two zero one one, the year that it was.

The time to begin with

JANUARY (New Years eve of 2011)

The best time to start a new even we can do it all year round anytime.  This is the time of year to reevaluate life. Figure things out, sort the important from the unnecessary and let go.  This is the time when I realized that moments of the past 2010 becomes a memory and putting too much value on it.  This is the time of the year where I just closed my eyes, put my hands together and thankful for all shaky rough roads I had surpassed, thankful for all the blessings and for the power up of confidence and strength.

A love month, my birthday month-a not so special one.

February

I don’t celebrate birthday just to end day banging the dishes neither Valentines because isn’t pathetic to order a coffee for one and talk to your self. So, I did the best thing to do, cuddle on my bed and date myself in wonderland.   Plus the fact that it is the month where I got my sanction, no pay checks for the next 30 days.  Suspension days, suspension blues.  This is also the month where I spent most of the days ordering 50 pesos McSaver meals and getting used to aloneness and aloofness.  The month it was.  The month of sparing away from drunken nights and promise to cut my tardiness into two per payday.  The month of partiming in a unusual Laboratory and taking respite on my Facebook Farmville.  My silvery year that slips unnoticed. 

Going back!

March

Before I get back to work, we made a comeback to my second province–Zambales.  Before heading to a Zambales sleepover, coffee talks at the usual Subic Starbucks, over the beach lunch and North expressway road trip, we attended first the birthday bash of a dear kachikahan who at that time is up to bid goodbye to our Philippine homeland and look for a much greener pasture.  Suspension blues ends well.  

          Hitch!                                                                                          connecting trip to cave connection

April

Vacation leave... Banaue Rice Terraces... 
Sagada...Stranded...Outing...
and utter this words to myself "You should travel more often" 
and 
blow a kiss on the wind.

To see a once just a postcard thing and to unleash the mighty caver in me. To taste the famous pinikpikan and to taste other Sagada’s delight.  The Falls, the adventure, dead tired with a smile, the stories to share and happy thoughts. The epic top loading and to see Mountain Province (Bontoc) view deck, panoramic view.  It is also the month when we had our Laboratory outing and for the first time I tag along.

Jam-packed!

May

I only realized that May was a jam-packed month while doing the collage.  My cousins made a vacation here in Manila, so we have to stroll them around.  We took them to Manila Ocean Park only to find out that it is not enjoyable, it is so tiring and didn’t find any jaw dropping moment at all.   On one of my off duty I took the kids to Lamesa Eco Park for them to experience swimming pool (chlorine style) and compare their swimming pool (spring style) in the province.  They grew up in our province where beach (our “baybay”), rivers and spring is just a walk away, you just have to choose where you want to take a bath. We also took them to Manila zoo and made a comeback after being over with school field trip. The kids in them and the remnants of childishness, I will forever be a kid at heart. Their favorite is the QCMC and their hatest is Divisoria.  Jam-packed because while I am rushing them to experience Manila, I am also squeezing in the social meet up and gatherings I had to attend in my off duties.  The bridal shower of Ma’am Jean, Highschool Reunion, thanksgiving party of my dear friend Jether for graduating in Med. School with coffee talks and pressing comments and insights in my social network world in between those events.

June

French Class and classmates as a new found friends…

Tuesday and Thursday coffee talks and chismisan Venti style…

The Makati rain, the floods of Jupiter Street, Makati and MRT rush…                 (the yellow umbrella bought at 7/11 and the tales that lies beneath)

Discovering rice coffee and a coffee shop by the art galleries…

 

to be continued…..