Camiguin Island 2018

Ah yes, summer, that two month period where there’s nothing but sunshine and not a drop of rain. And the feeling is starting to creep up again – wanting to travel. For this year, the holy threenity (Jessa, Lala and I) have decided to explore the beautiful and mystical island of Camiguin.

Located off the coast of Southern Philippines, Camiguin is a small province known as an “ Island Born of Fire”. This is so because of its volcanic origins and eruptions, the island’s tourist attractions like the hot springs, the islets, the cold and soda springs, the waterfalls and sunken cemetery came into existence. source

Probably a month before we leave for Camiguin, we were informed that Lala would not be able to join us because she had an important family occasion to attend to, in the same day we leave for Camiguin. Our tickets were non-refundable and the trip can’t be rebooked. Hence, in this adventure – you’ll be seeing Jessa & I. We left the exact same day a year ago when we left for Siargao – April 7. This is getting to be an unspoken tradition for our little trinity. And crossing fingers for more!

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we’re here!!!!

We arrived with a list of places to see and curious hearts. It was a bit rainy when we waited for our flight at the airport, but the sweet sun managed to smile on us just before the plane took off.

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We stayed in a private resort – private because they were not publicly open, but because we were already there asking, they took us in. Hurray! And it did not disappoint. Above is a photo of their patio/dining area with a lovely view. The fresh breeze hits your face like it’s the first time. The owner and caretaker were so gracious and warm. We spent hours talking about how the resort came to be, their families and how life teaches us that it’s important to stay loyal to your roots, because it’s the only thing you have when there’s nothing left. We only stayed there for one night since it was a bit pricey for our budget. For now, they’re still preparing for their public and grand opening, but they are initially called Aninipot Villa, lovely place.

We planned to chill and relax for the afternoon and will consume the day tomorrow for the day tour. Chill, we did.

 

 

It was a chilly morning, but it will never stop us from exploring this quaint and quiet island of Camiguin. We rented out this tricycle and kuya tricycle for a day – that’s PHP 1500 for one day, totally affordable for folks who did not bring any vehicles and it’s best to get the know the place better through a local guide. Camiguin is basically tour-able in a day.

 

 

We started our day off with breakfast – of course. Then we set course for the first batch of our itinerary. Noticing that there are several locals in the area whom I’d assume as tourists, it’s refreshing to know that they’re exploring the beautiful islands of the Philippines like us. I’d want to go off and see the Vatican, yes, but I’d like to begin with my own roots.

This is arranged literally on how we toured, yes I still remember, and on the photos it starts from top left to right and down left to right. Cloudy as it seems, you’d feel the harsh shiver of Mt. Hibok-hibok – a stratovolcano (made up of layers of lava and ash) and is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. *yikes! Sorry I’m terrified of fire. But nonetheless, it was a beautiful sight from afar. In areas near Mt Hibok-hibok, they built strong concrete walla in case the volcanoes erupt and spews lava and rocks. We then moved to this underrated and haunting Old Church Ruins. Its moss-covered walls, cracked bell tower and it’s rich history tells us that it was destroyed by a volcanic eruption during the 16th century. It is supported by these huge century old trees that looked hauntingly beautiful. Not a bad place for a wedding, I tell ya. But that’s the romantic in me. I love how it was so damaged but it was so beautiful at the same time. We lit a few candles and said our prayers, then we moved along to one of my anticipated places to see – the Sunken Cemetery. Quick background and a tragic one at that, Mt Vulcan erupted and causing the place to sink below sea level. Meaning, a lot of people died which was why they built a huge cross in remembrance for the folks who died. A short boat ride would take you to the huge cross itself – giving you the Mt Vulcan view but we declined as it was raining a lot. We took a few minutes to witness this tragic yet marvelous spot, then we left. It’s a bit odd that they took this area in as a tourist spot as it had a tragic story behind it but it was a way to remember them, and if you haven’t noticed that in this life, it is very hard to recall something that’s in the past, specially when the memory is associated with pain. Enough of the sad and gloomy stuff!

Hmm, coffee sounds good? Amiright?

 

 

 

Tucked in and secluded somewhere in Camiguin is this gem of a cafe slash museum slash haven for wandering souls. And they have one of the best coffees I’ve tasted in my life. It was very authentic and I don’t know they made it but it was just heavenly. Just imagine – drinking coffee in a cold morning listening to the sound of the ocean waves. What’s not to love, right? I mean, come on. Not to exaggerate, but you’d have to visit The Beehive Museum and Cafe to know for real. It was such a nice place that we didn’t want to leave. If your favorite song had a tangible place – this was it. That’s how I’d tell it. Not quite sure where exactly it’s located but you can use Waze or Google Maps. Treasures are hard to find but they are totally worth it. We even bought packs of coffee before we left.

Since Camiguin is an island with a lot of volcanoes – understandably it had a lot of waterfalls, hot springs and cold springs. Now of course, to appreciate the places, we’d have to see and feel it with our eyes and not with our cameras. So we left our phones for this part. Jessa and I felt the warmth, we swam, we shivered through Tuasan Falls, Ardent Spring and Hibok hibok Spring. We left out Sto Nino Spring as hundreds of people swarmed the place and there’s always next time.

 

 

Off the coast of northern Mambajao is another gem you shouldn’t miss – White Island. And yes, it is literally white. It’s a naked sandbar! Well, that’s kind of redundant. It’s a sandbar!! We love sandbars not because it’s made up of two of our favorite words, but because it’s literally just sand and you’re surrounded by nothing but the sea. It’s a different feeling to see it for yourself. Truly, it was such a beautiful place. And standing on the sandbar, you can see the entire Camiguin island! Locals say that Camiguin is shaped liked a woman. Do you see it? The head, breasts, waist and legs? And they always say “Ayaw jud na palagota ang babay” which translates “Do not anger the woman”. Funny because it is an island shaped like a woman and it has active volcanoes which erupts. So, then – you’d know how a woman gets angry, you better hold on and just close your eyes and pray.

 

 

Before getting back to the resort, we noticed an interesting old purple house (wow for adjectives) by the road. We stopped by and realize it was a jewelry store called Treasures Camiguin that specialized in creating accessories using sea glass is considered as a livelihood for locals. Very interesting and peculiar objects, sea glass are polished and transformed into a beautiful pendants for necklaces, rings, anklets, bracelets, you name it! Odd as it seems, creating these items and made from “trash to treasure” is a resourceful way to make use of its natural resources, don’t you think? You’d only need a spark of creativity, sea glass and voila! You’ve got one of the tourism spots in Camiguin. And they sell it at their place (Purple House) or you can find it almost in any restaurant as it is one of the biggest tourism projects in Camiguin. Now that’s what I call innovation.

As our trip drew to a close, Jessa and I didn’t want to leave. It was as if Camiguin was our long lost soulmate who embraced us with big open arms. You’d never find any other place like it, that I tell you. We have felt both it’s breath of warmth and its bitter cold, but we won’t have it any other way. As much as we’d like to stay, we can’t. Will come back soon, fingers crossed!

 

 

Camiguin is definitely an underrated place, like a silent godmother who’d invite you back to her house only to see she lives in a castle with like fairy forests and stuff. Overall, our trip to Camiguin, you might have read or experienced with us – was one of a kind. It was a chance to re-unite with nature, history and with ourselves. I’m not getting any younger, and so are you kind reader, sometimes we need to be reminded of who we are and what we aspire to be. I’d hate to admit but in reality, there are days and weeks in my life that I feel lost, that there’s nowhere to go and hide. There’s always a part of me that has this need to escape and wander and thrive in wherever I am happily lost in.

But maybe we need to feel lost to find ourselves.

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Empty Decisions

Do you ever wonder how often we make decisions in a day? The smallest decisions like what shoes to wear to the big ones, like what do you reply to a risky email from your manager?

We often get so caught up with our world’s turning and watching one another’s, but we never take the time to actually notice the little things. And I always make it a point to notice and appreciate the littlest things. People who know me well – family, close friends, boyf – they would know that I space out sometimes and look at the damnest things. I know it’s not really a good thing to space out sometimes, but I can’t help it. I stop my tracks for one minute and just look around and appreciate whatever’s happening around me. It’s not necessarily that you think of everything that’s going well in your life right now, it’s the thought of taking the time to think about that small plant beside you, with a tiny flower, people walking around chatting and laughing, tall buildings around you. That’s as simple as it could get.

We make decisions everyday, every hour, and we often take it for granted. The smallest decision could ripple into the biggest surprise of our lives. I could provide numerous examples but I guess you could come up with your own.

One day after work, I was walking in the park near the workplace, and this is around 5 in the afternoon, the sun was beginning to set, it was a bit windy and I had my earphones on. It was such a normal afternoon, but I was so happy. There was no such reason why. I was late for work that morning, I was bored and stressed at work, and I was hungry. But I was happy. And to tell you, I’m not normally happy. So I thought, “Why?” Because I decided to be. Because I decided to appreciate the fact that I got off work early despite being late, because I decided to just smile amidst all the crazy stuff at work – leaving it all behind me because there’s always tomorrow. But of course, there are days I would just shut in and avoid talking at all costs – that is because I have decided to. Sometimes I just create situations in my head that make me sad and well up. Precisely with my own making, my decisions.

See, every good, bad, empty decisions we make – are not happenstances or whatever you call it, some do influence, yes, but I guess it is always up to us.

 

 

All There Is

Tonight, I will talk about chance.

Wolves howl as the night grows deeper.
Twigs sway with the wind on its fingertips.
The first raindrop falls on my bare skin.

I always thought of “chance” as something you just get. It’s just like nothing has changed. If you were given a chance to do something or change something, then good, if not, well it’s fine. And for me, that’s all there is, there’s no catch, no light at the end of the tunnel, no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

To tell you the truth, that’s true. A chance will only get you as far as making the same stupid ass mistake you’ve made – a hundred times. A chance will only make you feel as if the world has nothing much to offer, a desperate calling of the universe asking, “what the hell are you doing?” And I guess that’s all there is.

But the universe being its kind self, nods its head, takes a deep breath – and gives you only that – a chance. Oftentimes, you will question yourself, confuse yourself, doubt even, because why would something so precious and unlikely, a tiny bit of hope and a spark of light – come to you? Shaking in disbelief, you laugh.

But of course, the world will not have much to offer to you, but you have yourself, and twenty four hours. That’s all there is.

That’s all there is.

Dancing under the water

The thing with keeping myself awake (time check: 1:18am), with half the world asleep is I tend to remember my thoughts and emotions throughout the day. And of course, the ones I remember… feel very real.

I was swimming/floating in the pool around 3PM, alone and anxious, thinking if I were to disappear at that moment, would anyone notice? Imagine that moment being utterly peaceful, yet the chaos inside was bubbling with anxiety and doubt. What a combo. But of course, life is short and has much to offer for this strange looking human and it was sure enough that someone might definitely notice if I were to vanish, but only if they already thought about me which unfortunately happens rarely. It was an odd sensation, because I am not sad, nor frustrated and angry, but I was oftentimes perceived as strange and moody and to that, I can attest. That feeling had stayed with me even until now that I’m lying in my bed, restless, listening to my deep breaths, orchestrating my next sentence.

As I was floating in the pool, I also wondered if our lives have always been pre-destined. I myself feel skeptic sometimes of the circumstances that happen in my life, but I wonder if the people we know right now, friends, families, significant others, pets, ex’s (arent same the category as pets? jk), work colleagues were all, in some way, pre-determined? Were they all meticulously placed in specific locations with agreeable personalities to fit into our world? Were families grouped beforehand? I know it is quite a silly idea to begin with, but my wandering and curious mind can’t help but to wonder. We are a believer of something, we ought to. That’s innate of us to believe in something, otherwise, what the hell are we doing? But even I as a small skeptic would like to believe that somehow the world works its magic in some ways, that maybe, some events were inevitable, some people were bound to meet, come and go and some loves last, through highs and lows. But that’s just one side of the coin, the doer in me, also believes that we have to do something in order to get something. Basically the rule of life dictates that. But that’s in an entirely other chain of thought.

That was a few hours ago.

It is 1:42am.

My mind continues to wander, further.

 

Remains

Remember, every time you say her name

The minutes pass by slower

My heart erupts and crashes in a million pieces

But you told me, you need not worry, my love

The dancing ghost remains in the past

What it whispers cannot be heard no more

//gg

If

I miss the moment I get into the office with a hundred applicants waiting.
I miss the smiles I get from the interns who know/don’t know me.
I miss the instant I greet my colleagues with a warm smile.
I miss the cheerful office partner and chatting with random things each morning.

I miss the familiarity
That certain odd office smell

But who would I be if I stayed?

Two pairs of feet

I’m not the mushy-cheesy-feely kind of girl on social media, I don’t post pics of “date nights” or “happy 2nd anniversary” or whatever that’s called. I don’t express my “cute-sy” side or my frustrations on social media when it comes to personal relationships. Never have been, and never planning to. I do, though, have a lot of insights and thoughts, observations and realizations about my romantic relationship. Sounds kinda like an experiment huh? Haha, no. But I’m a curious human being, I try to ask as many questions as I can, and I honestly believe I got this from my grandfather, interviewing almost everyone he could see. But the point is, for the past few days, I’ve realized something.
Being in a romantic relationship with someone involves a certain level of dependency and vulnerability.
I’m not quite sure if that’s the objective term for it, “dependency” but that’s honestly the word I came up with. Thing is, I’ve already started working with another company, a couple of minutes away from the boyf’s office. And I don’t mind not getting to talk to him 24/7 or have all 3 meals in a day with him. All I want is 5-10 mins of catching up, and we’re all good, which is precisely what’s happening now.
It’s a different kind of attachment now since we’re more involved with each other, and not just the “hello how are you, bye see you” thing since we don’t work in the same office anymore and sometimes the mobile signal/internet sucks. Looking at the bigger picture, I realized that opening yourself up to the other person emotionally is hard, in a sense that you would want to share your plans and goals and ambitions and thoughts and fears and hopes and dreams and everything surrounding you — share it with the other person. That’s how crazy it is, if you really think about it. And believe me, I’ve always been the quiet/weird/awkward/semi-sociable type so it’s definitely not a walk in the park! And worse case, what if the other person does not appreciate or understand you? Ah yes, love is very complex yet simple.
So since the boyf has a foot injury, and he can’t walk more than 100 meters, then of course, we have to adjust — no date nights for now, no movie dates, no nightwalks (we walk around the park and talk), no random snack dates for two weeks now. It’s just a different setting when I’m just theorizing it and now that it’s actually happening.
That, I miss.
But of course, relationships aren’t all physical. It also entails understanding and compromise from both your ends *no pun intended*. You can’t be all too selfish because “you’re PMS-ing” and you want some “qtime” with the partner. It just doesn’t work like that.

I know it’s a hard pill to swallow, because even I am having quite the journey here with the two weeks absence. But how about the those couples surviving long distance? Wouldn’t that be fun? That, is an entirely different story. But for now, this is mine.

My take-away from tonight’s soup session with me, myself and I is that – not everything is going to go your way in a relationship. It has to be met in the middle, compromise, give and take. It sounds so cheesy and all, but it’s true.

I hope next week everyone’s feet will be okay.