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?

Stack of books photo: Google Images