Day 4/10

A visit to the city about an hour from this town. The waiting time for the van to fill was the same as the travel time.

That waiting time was spent taking note of the things I’ve done during the break. I had ticked the boxes beside the massage session with the local manghihilot and the swim/dip.

I also attended mass yesterday (after a quite some time) – in a dress. I realized being in a dress makes people act more kindly towards you. The 5pm service has already started and the seats were occupied. I was already preparing myself for an hour of standing (there I was thinking, “This is what you get for coming late”) when manong offered his monobloc seat. There happened to be other females standing. I was the only one in a dress. Attending Sunday services wasn’t really part of the list. It’s just noteworthy for my case 😀

Spending time in Legazpi was a treat. A good meal and a quite a long time in the bookstore. I also had to run errands for the aunts and the sister. In the process, I also got a copy of a DVD I couldn’t find back in Laguna. A (welcome) distraction.

Today, I attended another service. About an hour after returning from Legazpi, the youngest aunt, asked me to accompany her to a service at the cemetery. I had to recite the first reading in front of our relatives. See, I was the only one who could read the fine print of the prayer pamphlet. The elders needed glasses and they seemed to all have forgotten to bring their pair. Great! I survived. It wasn’t so bad. The youngest aunt and I attended a small family gathering – that means there were less than 15 of us.

Day 3/10 November 2011 Break

If it weren’t for the second sister’s power of persuasion, I wouldn’t have seen this. I was shaken awake and was invited to a trip to Busay Falls in the next town.

It’s a couple of minutes’ ride from here. I didn’t plan on going. Staying asleep is the best way to deal with a late evening. Then I thought, it’d be my chance to finally use the camera I brought. So I decided to join the couple to the falls but not for a dip.

There’s a ten-peso entrance fee and a P25 parking fee for motorcycles. Cars and buses are charged higher. It’s a small fee to enjoy the place. I had a great time with the hike to the second falls.

It’s not like I get the chance to visit this place every time I come home. Plus, I haven’t gone the beach yet. I cannot go back to work without a swim – be it salt or freshwater.

Plus, the water massage at the foot of the smaller waterfalls was great for the back and the shoulders.

Day 2/10 November 2011 Break

I realized the date setting in the mobile phone was set a day in advance. I was writing entries and was trying to schedule tasks for this week and the dates were just wrong. The kitchen calendar and the mobile calendar were in conflict. At least I have the mobile phone to blame this time.

Worked on one of the materials I needed to complete and continued with the readings. It just feels great to be home. The greatest advantage is being surrounded by moving people. Back in the apartment, the shadows moved because of the light movements. Plus I don’t have to decide what or where to eat 😀

I forgot how cold water is compared with the Los Baños water supply. The air’s cleaner and the breeze stronger. It’s more humid though. It’s hot and humid. A good time for siestas. With this weather, I’m sorely missing fruit shakes.

Spent some time to use some memory space and later, catch up with high school friends.

Day 1/10: November 2011 Break

A disadvantage of going home, you’re reminded of how much you’ve grown, vertically – and horizontally. Gotten used to it. It’s seems to be part of the welcome greeting.

The first thing to do whenever I come home (after the greetings, of course) is to check the supplies. The aunts usually have a stock of chocolates collected in the past months from pasalubong of relatives. They don’t really consume the sweets because of their health condition. They have a concerned niece for that 😀

It’s also a chance to do prepare the list for the groceries I’d need to get. For people who don’t eat chocolates, the house seemed to favor the sweet taste even in dishes. I’ll need to balance that with salty items. By evening, I was craving for salted peanuts.

The first day is basically catching up with the aunts and the father – family news, nephew news (yep, there’s a separate session for that), and local gossip/news (it’s interchangeable around here).

Ended the day with a salt and mild alcohol session with the second sister and her husband. A good start 😀

 

homebound

I’m going home 😀

Managed to deal with loose ends before I go back to the hometown for a break. Completed the forms needed for next semester’s enrollment, met with my adviser,… Everything seemed… – seamlessly timed? Usually, I’d be under greater stress during this time of the semester with all the waiting, walking to and back the certain parts of the campus. I’d get on the bus relieved to have managed escape from here. Not this time. No complaints about that.

Got a book (some reports) to finish. I shouldn’t be thinking about that – yet. I have a book for distraction, a notebook to scribble on, and a memory card to fill with non-conference/training/seminar related subjects.

The twelve-hour bus trip starts in a few hours. It’s a good thing the Turbina Bus Terminal already has 24-hour stores and restaurants with decent comfort rooms.

All I have to do is wait – and I can’t stop grinning.

12-hour Bus Trip Essentials

  1. bottled water,
  2. mints/ candy,
  3. tissue,
  4. alcohol/hand sanitizer,
  5. five/ten-peso coins in your pocket (for comfort room fees),
  6. jacket (preferably with a hood), and most importantly
  7. fully charged music player.

sisterly talk

Sundaes are light and fun – and so should conversations during such consumption sessions. I bet the eldest sister didn’t see this one coming. I didn’t. All the negativity came out. I needed a truthful assessment of the current psychological state. She was kind enough to provide that – and more.

It was a selfish thing to do, I guess. Some people just want to cool down and relax with their sundae. It would be nice if it were negativity-free. My bad.

a change of heart

Two chapters through Aleph and I now understand the book was valued at such price. An earlier entry talked about how underwhelming the first few pages were.

It’s a book not to be finished in a rush. It takes some time before one could take in all the words. I’ve dog-eared every other page to go back to quotations I’d want to reread. Right now, I’m just engrossed to be part of a personal journey conveniently packages into a book. I have to put it down to process things and figure out how it would be of use for my context.

There are books that entertain, providing an escape for a night or two – or until one finishes the book. They can make you feel sad, giddy, happy. The words can make you cry. Basically, you wish you’d be a character in the book and live in their world even for a while (forever is another option, if only possible). Usually, there are slight variations to present cliche lessons and story plots.

There are books that provide facts and information. They can be good conversation fillers and you feel that you’ve got loads to share with your friends next time you meet.

Then there are books that you cannot possibly finish in a sitting. You stop at a page and take a couple of deep breaths and you cannot help but reflect. You look for similar experiences and then you feel relieved that you’re not the only one dealing with whatever it is you may be dealing with. The words you read, sometimes you have to write down because you know you’ll be needing them to keep you going at some time. This type of book brims of life’s lessons. Translated in simple English, I found a text (that I can bear to read) that integrates discussion of faith, unbound by religion.

This book leaves one feeling light and positive, looking forward to what the next day. Headaches are expected – from reflections, I guess. The words present another (not necessarily new) perspective of things. Right now, I’ve come to like this one:

It isn’t what you did in the past that will affect the present. It’s what you do in the present that will redeem the past and thereby change the future.