Alas, my poor, dear life dangled by a thread as our cranky jeep skidded through the narrow mountainside road of Buscalan. While my friends were reveling in the novel experience that is top-loading, I was mumbling incantations inside my head dedicated to the bululs guarding the stretch of rice terraces right before our eyes. I felt like the rice gods were scoffing at me, chuckling like mad emperors overseeing a wretched gladiator immured within an amphitheatre, as I tightened my grip on the rooftop railing whilst our ride rocked and rolled along what seemed to be a sorry excuse for a road — my sweating hands weren’t helping at all.
After a looooong hiatus, I’m finally back in the blogosphere. Yay!
I’m sparing you the details, the why’s and the how’s (the juicy part, I know) but in a nutshell — 2016 was one helluva year. It literally drove me nuts, up to a point where I had to regularly see a psychiatrist. True story.
If there’s one page that I would tear off my life book, that’s it — the year 2016. It’s worth drinking a glassful of water from the river of Lethe. I’d be real blunt and honest about it — I hate it to the bone. 2016 was the dark night of my soul. Continue reading “Ars Longa, Vita Brevis”
I took this photo during our most recent trip to Basilan.
If you’re not too familiar with these floating cottages, they’re traditional Bajau houses— abodes on stilts, made almost entirely out of driftwood. These houses forthrightly reflect the lifestyle of the nomadic people who live in them: simple, close-knit and pretty much wedded to the ever-changing whims of the ocean. Bajau communities of old were even more noteworthy; families lived in small boats called lepa-lepa. Traveling in a flotilla, they traded with strangers from lands faraway and bartered their bounty of fish for fruits, trepang for cloth, pearls for sacks of rice. Continue reading “Sea Gypsies, Social Standing and the Rat Race”
The landlocked province of Nueva Ecija is often perceived as a vast expanse of drab, uninspired flatlands, with nothing much to see but endless rows of rice and corn fields– but behind the pretense of a sleepy, pastoral town, little did everyone know that it hides an adventurous flip side. Continue reading “General Tinio, Nueva Ecija: Enchanting Emerald River”
An overnight bus ride to the upper fringes of Luzon. Then, a grueling, five-hour lampitaw ride further north, to the haziest verges of the Philippine territory, all the while battling the tumultuous waves of the Babuyan Channel. This is how Calayan, the Arcadia of the North, tests its curious visitors. It makes sure that only the bravest, starry-eyed wanderers, those with the true heart of an adventurer, will ever tread its verdant pastures and wade in its turquoise waters. Continue reading “Calayan, Cagayan: Arcadia of the North”
The otherworldy shapes and colors of Biri’s rock formations readily evoke a phantasmagorical scene, like something out of a Starcraft map. Tidepools display a mesmerizing gradient of turquoise fading into a subtle seafoam green; oddly-shaped metamorphic rock sculptures blanketed with a verdant carpet of grass, jutting out of the waters of the mighty San Bernardino Strait– whose elements, the wind and the waves, continue to shape, mold, twist, break and build even the grandest megalith in its unforgiving territory through the years– and maybe even through countless eons to come. Continue reading “Biri, Northern Samar: Alien Topography”
So, Tawi-Tawi happened.
It was not really my most unnerving feat to date, as I’ve been to Basilan not just once, but twice. You see, Basilan is dubbed as one of the most dangerous provinces of the Philippines, along with Sulu. The province of Tawi-Tawi bookends the southernmost chain of the Sulu archipelago, earning an uncalled-for stigma of compromised peace and order situation that its neighbors are infamous for.