What will happen if your friends are as crazy as you are?
We all experienced few boring months on board and we decided to go channel our inner Enrique Gil and Maja Salvador during our eight-day Bicol Getaway. From Sta. Magdalena, Sorsogon to Pili, Camarines Sur; whether it's on top of a hill or deep inside a cave, walang makakapigil sa aming sumayaw.
Check our travel video below, and please be reminded that you need to take an extra caution when taking a bath on a hot spring. :)
We have the tendency to become afraid of things we do not know. The fear of the unknown somehow lingers on our minds despite the current advancement of technology. Be it because of what we heard or read, that fear is being magnified by stories from other people that turned out to be full of either exaggerations or personal opinion with no basis on actual facts. However, that fear stops when we are able to prove that such stories are nothing less than urban legends and rumors far from the truth.
I was actually afraid of making a transit in Papua New Guinea. I have read about road crimes, security guards being knock-out by thieves at night, malaria, and other things that apparently makes PNG a dangerous place in South Pacific. I have heard some of my crew mates telling stories about people throwing rocks on taxis, people roaming around the city with their bolos and cannibals in the mountains. I have had so much of those stories that it somehow instilled fear on me, and I almost choose to stay in the hotel until our flight back to Manila despite our two-day stay and my plans of doing few sight-seeing in Port Moresby.
Things turned out to be different when we disembarked last Saturday (June 4). There are some roads under construction on our way to the city and few people sitting by the roadside waving at us. I didn't feel threatened at all, instead, I was surprised to find out that Port Moresby is similar to some areas back in the Philippines. When we arrived at the hotel, we were welcomed by the hospitable ambiance and hotel personnel who immediately attended to our luggage.
Ganitong-ganito rin ang panahon noon. Mainit at nakakapaso. Malinaw pa sa alaala ko ang huni ng mga duli-duling nakadapo sa puno ng dapdap malapit sa amin. Akala ko sumisigaw sila dahil tulad namin, naiirita rin sila sa init. Ilang taon pa ang lumipas bago ko nalaman na humuhuni pala sila upang makahanap ng possible mate. Parang simpleng love story. Kumanta si lalaki ng pag-ibig niya kay babae, na-in love si babae. And they live happily ever after. Napaisip tuloy ako, kung boses lang ba ang batayan ng pag-ibig, mamahalin mo ba ako[crush] at magiging tayo? (Naks!)
Madalas din kaming manatili noon sa bahay ng lolo ko sa kabundukan, mga dalawa hanggang tatlong oras na lakaran mula sa bahay namin sa paanan ng bundok. Minsan, buong tag-init kaming nakatira doon at luluwas lang kapag malapit na ang pasukan. Tuwang-tuwa na kami noon sa pamumulot ng mga nahulog na niyog at pili nuts na ibinebenta namin upang makaipon ng perang makakadagdag sa pambili ng mga gamit pangeskwela. Maliban sa pamumulot, nakagawian din naming lantakan ang mga bayabas at kakaw na hitik sa bunga sa daan pauwi sa bahay ni lolo. Umuuwi kaming mahapdi ang dila noon sa kakasipsip ng buto ng kakaw.
Binilang ako ang oras na ginugugol ko sa mga social networking sites sa isang araw at lumalabas na halos anim na oras at tatlumpung minuto akong nakatanga at nagpapaka-stress sa mga nakikita ko sa laptop at sa cellphone sa buong maghapon.
Dahil alam ko naman na walang kahihinatnan ang mga pinagagagawa ko, minabuti ko na lang na mag-OC mode simula Abril uno. Nilinis ko ang kwarto ko, tinapon ang mga basurang dalawang linggo nang hindi nagagalaw at nag-ayos ng mga gamit. Tinago ko rin si lappy, nilalabas lang kung kailangan at sinimulan na ang puspusang workout. Kailangan na talagang magtino. Para sa bayan. Para sa ekonomiya.
Four percent fluent na daw ako sa Spanish sabi ng Duolingo, isang language learning app. Mga ilang linggo na rin simula nang ginamit ko ito, at nakakatulong nga naman sa pag-improve ng bokabularyo. Kailangan ko na rin talagang magseryoso sa pag aaral ng Espanyol, dahil kung hindi, hindi ko makakausap ng matino ang mga naging kaibigan ko sa Livemocha. Nakakalungkot lang dahil isa-shutdown na daw ito sa 22.
Gumawa na ako ng schedule ng mga aktibidades at mga kailangang tapusin para makumpleto na ang mga requirements ko para sa plano kong pagkuha ng license examination sa susunod na taon. Andame ko nang nasasayang na oras sa barko, at kailangan na talagang magpokus para matapos ang mga iyon.
Naglakas-loob ako na i-message si crush. Kaso seen daw sabi ni Facebook. Ok lang. Mukhang ayaw nya naman ng sustento buwan-buwan. De, joke lang.hehehe
Anim na taon na pala akong wala sa isang seryosong relasyon. Magiging halaman na kaya ako?
Pakiramdam ko naadik na ako sa kakapanood ng mga malalaswang pelikula. Dahil ba sa walang magawa, o dahil sa hormones? Basta alam ko hindi maganda ang nagiging epekto. Naapektuhan ang mental processes ko. At nakakaramdam ako ng panlulumo.
I want to stay silent like I did the last time but I just can't.
I still feel bad of what I had said and done, but I keep on looking at the big picture: it's for the better.
I feel bad for having to decide to burn bridges and to let go of a new-found friend, a fellow who I shared same sentiments and interests. Whom I had planned to travel with. Whom I told that I could be with watching the starry night sky.
Maybe we started to look at things differently, or we already had since the beginning?
Maybe we blamed each other yet pointed at the Universe.
Maybe we tried reaching the speed of light and arrived at a point of no return.
You said that you are already happy and at peace in your own world, and then I came, disrupted it. You said that you are not angry, you are already tired. You thought I never cared at all.
True, I came to your world, but did you ever think I shared mine too? I opened up my doors, I also let you in. But what I did seemed to be never enough for you.
I decided to leave not because I didn't care. I thought that I might hurt you more if I will prolong the time for you to hope on something undefined and uncertain. I decided on things because you became part of my world and you mean to me as well.
Like what you thought, I was also looking forward to how things will unfold. I'm not numb, I can feel how others around me feel. But then you decided to trigger a catalyst, I was unable to respond immediately. I felt a lot of things. I was so overwhelmed that I had to get myself together before I can make a response without hurting someone. I felt that things seemed to be in rush, when we only spent countable times together.
I have hoped that little by little we can build a world with our circle of friends in it.
But perhaps, you valued time more than I, and I am not ready to receive a love I cannot immediately reciprocate.
I threatened my best friend that I will go right in front of his house if he refuse to reply to my emails and Facebook messages. I resorted into telling him that because I was really clueless on what had happened to him and I just received news from one of my batch mates that he will no longer work on board a ship. I sent messages one after another expressing my concern, but all appeared to be just being read or "seen" like how they say it on Facebook. So, two days after telling him that I will actually go to Mindanao, he replied. He told me that he is currently facing some personal problems and he shut himself from the outside world. He told me what had happened, why he will stop pursuing his maritime career, and why he chose to go on hiatus for quite some time. After learning his current situation, I started my long reply of consolation with these words: "Anaknampotek, kelan ka natutong magdrama?!"
Well, to cut the long story short, I really did
went to Mindanao for the very first time. Since I will be spending a week
there, I also took the opportunity to meet a friend who was my text mate for
almost four years (This would also be the first time that I will be meeting her
in person). I thought that since I'll be seeing both of them, it would be great
if we can all have a get together, set our problems aside for the moment and
experience the beauty of Mindanao. It would be hitting two birds in one shot.
So, right after I disembarked my previous vessel, I booked a flight to Davao
for the last week of September and spent few weeks first in Bicol then Manila
while waiting for that scheduled flight.
"I don't think we still need God or religion. Science can
already explain everything."
It was the remark of one of the captains I've been with on my
second vessel. Even though most of the crew were celebrating Christmas
downstairs, he chose to stay on the bridge to be on the watch. I was also the
watchman during that time, so after eating to my heart's content, I went to the
bridge to resume with my duties. Little did I know that I will have a
conversation with our captain that will cover things such as beliefs and
He is an atheist. He told me that he would choose not to celebrate
Christmas on board if not for the sake of respecting the beliefs of other crew
members. He said that science paved way for people to be free of the clutches
of myths that hindered advancement. I listened to him as he enumerated how
science overtook religion from one way to another. I want to argue with him,
but given my position on board, I just listened and tried to understand his
point of view.
Excited na ako sa magiging luto sa ampalaya bukas!
Valentine's na bukas pero nasa barko pa rin ako. Naalala ko nang nakaraang taon, nakapunta ako ng Dangwa para mamili ng bulaklak. Nang pauwi na (sa Fairview) medyo malayo nilakad ko at nakipambuno pa sa pagsakay sa bus. Nakarating naman ng di masyadong lamog ang mga bulaklak sa mga pagbibigyan. Doon ko na-realize na pwede pala akong maging delivery boy.
Valentine's na bukas. Sabi ni second cook magluluto daw siya ng ampalaya. Iniisip ko naman kung anong magandang luto sa ampalaya. Yung usual na me itlog ba o ihahalo lang sa pinakbet? Wish ko lang na 'wag niyang kilawin ang ampalaya bukas.
Valentine's na bukas. Pero ngayon pa lang andame nang PBB teens sa FB. Post ng mga bulaklak. Mga hart hart kuno. Mga pumuporeber. Bakit ba kasi nagiging overrated na ang February 14?!
Nitong nakaraang araw me nakita akong post na picture ng "boypren" di umano ng sis ko. Naka-tag kay sis, me nakalagay na "Happy 5th Monthsary Mahal Koh." Yes, may "h" ampotek. Nag init mukha ko at nag-comment lang ng "Edi waw!" saka me emoji ng kamao at bungo.
Dahil dun nakapagpost pa ako ng ganito sa wall ko: "Sa galit ko ngayon makakagawa ako ng atomic bomb mula sa tiniktik na kalawang. Tapos lalagyan ko ng ribbon. Then send ko senyo sa Valentine's."
Sa kabila ng nag-aalab na damdamin nitong nakaraan, nakakatuwa rin dahil nakatanggap ako ng magandang balita. Approved na ang promotion ko. Yay!
Valentine's na bukas pero nasa kwarto lang siguro ako ng buong maghapon. Magmo-movie marathon siguro o matutulog lang. O magpe-pretend lang na ako ay isang bubuyog na nasa bingit na ng insanity dahil walang makitang bulaklak sa paligid.
I looked at the porthole for a long time. There, a small
white pot planted with a succulent leaf caught my attention. How long has it
been when I planted it there? Weeks? Months? I couldn’t really remember. As I
went near the plant for closer examination, I saw that molds grew around the
leaf, some part were already eaten out to rot. I knew from that moment that
hoping for the plant to live is futile, and it’s only a matter of time for its
very existence to cease.
It’s my fourth time to be in a commercial vessel. And in
every vessel, I always make sure to raise a plant, give it a name, and talk to
it sometimes like it’s a real person. Pretty crazy huh? Believe me. When
working on a ship, you will somehow awaken that craziness inside of you from
time to time.
As I said before, it is my fourth time to be in a commercial
vessel. Yet, I managed to grow a plant on board for the fifth time. That fifth
plant was the one I placed near the porthole. I watered it as necessary, tilled
the soil and bathed it in sunlight. When
the first roots became visible, I was overjoyed. I was excited for it to grow.
I was excited that somehow, when it turn into a small shrub, it will take away
the gloom of my room.
That excitement turned into sadness when I saw that death
became imminent for the poor plant. I already pictured out how lovely it will
turn out to be, teeming with life in its small niche overlooking the blue
ocean. I already imagined how it will make a small difference: an escape from
my exhaustive day’s job and how it will make me smile on days that I might feel
sad. So much with the expectations I burdened this small plant that it seemed
to have given up on itself.
I wondered where I had gone wrong in the past months for it
not to continue to grow. I remembered how I carefully sifted the soil in its
pot. I have made sure that it is neither too wet nor too dry. I did everything
that I know in rearing this type of plant but this very moment proved that all
my efforts are in vain.
And then I realized that all this time I didn’t gave the
plant a name. It’s quite weird because I named all the plant I had in the
previous vessel, except for this one. How come I wasn’t able to name it when I
cannot contain my excitement for it to grow? Perhaps I was too occupied with my
expectations and my vision of the future that I forgot naming it. Perhaps
subconsciously, I decided that I will name it when it is full grown, with
leaves, flowers and all. A name doesn’t matter now though. Soon, it will wither and die and rot in the soil.
I looked at the plant and felt the melancholy once again.
This time, things were reflected on myself. I grew up believing that I always
have a green thumb. The belief that I
can grow a plant no matter how harsh an environment could be turned out to be
just a mere delusion. I was wrong to assume that I can and I will always be
able do such feat. I was so full of myself until a slap of reality brought me
back to my senses and made me realize that there is no such thing as a perfect ability.
That realization and the memories that had happened in the past days enveloped my room in a gloomy atmosphere. It's inevitable. I closed the curtains of the porthole and decided to lay down for a moment. Staring blankly at the ceiling, I knew that everything will no longer be the same.
Being a seafarer means being away from home for months. And that being said, seafarers always look forward to returning home for vacation. They might get excited to see their families and friends. They might be looking forward to their ongoing projects or things they allot their hard-earned money to. Or, maybe they might just be hoping to spend their vacation at home or someplace that will relieve their mind and body of any stress from those long contracts at sea.
As for me, there are few things that I always look forward to in our small town prior to my vacation. Though it is situated on the southernmost tip of Sorsogon (with the nearby town of Matnog), our town, Sta. Magdalena has a lot to offer and is worthy of being called a hidden paradise.
1. The Simple Way of Life. If not for the numerous training and processing of documents during vacation, I would rather choose to stay at home, take a nap under the mango tree and listen to the sounds of nature. Still, even though I have to spend some time in the city, I always see to it that I have time to be at our small hut by the rice fields.
2. The Local Delicacies. Being on vacation enables you to taste your childhood favorite foods again and again. Since foods that are being cooked on board is only limited to the available provisions and the skill of the cook, I always tell my mother to prepare some local snacks like hinagom, muron, binot-ong, and putong kamoteng-kahoy when I am at home. In addition to that, I enjoy honing my cooking skills again by preparing local dishes like laing or pinangat, kinagang and linunti na pili.
3. The Beaches. Yes. Beaches. You may ask why look forward to beaches when you spend a lot of time at sea? Of course, because beaches offer both leisure and relaxation, something that you cannot attained by jumping off a pool of seawater on a ship.
4. Chilies! I like spicy foods and labuyo (local red pepper) never fails to satiate my longing for spiciness. Even if food on board offers a variety of spicy foods, nothing can still compare to foods at home seasoned with labuyo.
5. Waterfalls. Our small town is blessed with waterfalls concealed within the forest canopy. During my childhood years, I would venture deep into the forest, tracing the rivers and finding hidden waterfalls. When I grew older, my urge to do waterfall hunting still drives me do some trekking, with my barkadas at home this time.
6. Gamefowls. No, don't get me wrong. I do not get myself involve in raising fowls for cockfight purposes when on vacation. Though we have few roosters at home, I only look forward to them doing the Tiktilaok! wake-up call.
7. Books. I may not be endowed with riches but I considered them my prized possessions. With today's digital age, paper books seemed to be outdated but for me, the feeling of touching and scanning through pages of a paper book is definitely irreplaceable. I have two medium size boxes full of books and I always check on them every time I get home for vacation.
8. Last but not the least, Quality Time With The Family. Being a seafarer also means being unable to be with your family on important events and occasions. Hence, during the short period of time that I will be spending my vacation with my family, I make sure that we have a quality time together, be it out of the town or just a small salu-salo at home. Most of the time, when I am on board, I would think of the places where our family can enjoy and have meaningful bonding moments together when I return home.
Now you see, those things I mentioned above are the ones that make me look forward to returning to our small town. There really is, no place like home. How about you? What are the things that you look forward to when returning home?
I summon all the forces of the Universe! Be great 2016!
(Nung minsang gumala ako sa Kublai Art Garden.)
Travel. Work. Land. Sea.
Four words to sum up my 2015. Last year may not be as exciting as the previous years for me but it was, unique in its own way. I was able to travel as far as Mindanao, worked with the best people I have met so far, strengthened bonds with friends both online and offline, and spent quality time with my family despite the limited number of vacation days on land. However, my life last year was not always at the zenith.
I spent most of my time at sea, where I experienced the lowest point in my life so far.
I reflected on life and attempted to make a sudden change.
I procrastinated time and time again and regretted the outcomes afterward.
I still went to the alternate universe I had created and sinned.
2015, I guess, made me realize that I have to take a closer look to my actions. It made me rethink about what I want to do with my life. That I need to change my way of doing things, start looking at the world in a new perspective and live life to the fullest. That I need to learn as much as I can and make good use of knowledge to make sound decisions.
Last year may already be in the past but it paved way for improvements in 2016. More than long list of resolutions, it made me think of things to look forward to this year:
Continue reading non-fictions.
Collect books on religion, history, maritime and language.