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.
Our respective jobs has made us coffee-dependents, email junkies, and nocturnal creatures. Staring at those computer screens all day, answering a gazillion emails, and plainly succumbing to being a corporate slave. But of course, all work and no play makes us cranky and moody, and so the holy threenity (composed of me, my lovely friends Jessa Dungog & Gaila Vivares) decided it’s time to get out of our comfort zone and explore the waves of Siargao 🌊. It was one of the best trips I had so far and I will definitely be going back again! It was also one of the first few trips that I have been on without any family member. So hello to that!!
So to begin, Siargao Island is a tear-drop shaped island in the Philippine Sea situated 800 kilometers southeast of Manila in the province of Surigao del Norte. Siargao Island is greatly influenced by the winds and currents coming uninterrupted from the Pacific Ocean, intensified by the Mindanao current running westward through the Siargao Strait, which is why I guess the waves are so imminent.
Siargao is also the surfing capital of the Philippines!!!
So to fast forward, we booked a flight to Surigao City from Cebu, and from Surigao, we hopped on a ferry to Siargao Island. We were so giddy and excited and nervous and just all around stoked about the experience. We’ve never been to this place before and we’ve done just a little research about it. We haven’t booked any hotels yet (since most require 3N, 4D stays), so we just wanted to try our luck. We were kinda scared at first because what if there would be no hotels there?!?! Right? But we are fearless nomad princess warriors. So, what could go wrong?
When we first arrived, we saw that the airport/city was still a bit in maintenance since an earthquake occurred a month ago (we were a little apprehensive if we’d go through our trip, but who could stop these giddy girls right?)
Anyway, when we arrived, we rode a tricycle and had a quick munch in a local carenderia. We didn’t take pictures at this instant because we were s t a r v i n g. Haha, then we rode a small fast craft in the early afternoon en route to the zen island of Siargao! Slept for a few minutes and then woke up to the shaking of the boat (not a boat person, btw) and noticed it was raining. Went back to sleeeeeep. Woke up around 2 and voila! We are here!!!!!!!
Thankfully, there were a lot of resorts around, some are fancy, some affordable. We went around and found the perfect place. Perfect since it was directly the boardwalk outside and we can hear the waves just calling us already. So we booked Keso Resort for 2 nights and rested for 5 minutes to check on our things and take pictures. You know, for their instagram/snapchat. (i uninstalled mine a long time because phone issues). SO! Shall we get to main course? The BEACH!!!
Ah yes, Wish i could live here…..
We had our activities planned our for our entire stay while we were swimming. No pictures this time. We just enjoyed the beach to ourselves!!!!!!!!!!! PARADISE!
I feel like listening to all the Aviicii songs already! Hahahaha, after walking around (phone-less and camera-less since we had them charging the room, we just realized how beautiful this place is. And how untouched, how un-commercialized it is. Crossed fingers it will stay that way please.
It’s such a breather not seeing buildings and cars and buses and people wearing those blazers and not to think about work for a short time. It’s definitely a good feeling. Realizing we’re not getting any younger, we talked about our plans in the future, our personal lives and how we want to be remembered by when someone asks us, hey do you know her? Funny how strange and mysterious things happen to us in unexpected ways, we don’t argue, but we go with through it and hope it takes us somewhere beautiful. And here we are. With my friends. On the paradise that we call Siargao! Must come back here the soonest! So after the chitchat, we checked a few places we could have dinner in, and sadly, the thing about Siargao is, since it’s a very secluded area, you’d have to rend a motorcyle/tricycle to go around the area. It was around 6pm and the nearest restaurant we could find was at the nearby resort. We would’ve wanted to try something local. Lesson learned. We also wanted to sleep early since we were exhausted from the trip and from all the squealing and fan girling of the beautiful paradise. Planning to wake up at 5:30am since we booked surfing lessons at 6! Talk about balance, goodluck to me!
Our surfing lessons were at 500/head for an hour and boy, it did not disappoint!!! My friends and I took on the challenge and learned the basics on the shores before wandering off and taking the waves. Damn, it seemed so easy on the sand, but when we were on the sea, it was a bit hard. But that’s for the first 15 minutes (char). I got the hang of it after and surfed like a maniac. But Jess and Lala were the fast-learners for this, clap clap! I was the last to master this. Huhu, is it because of my huge thighs?
They also had an option of someone taking videos and photos of us when we surfed and most of the bloopers we had. I think it was 500 as well. I forgot. Speaking of bloopers! We had a lot of videos. More on that later!
Hurrah! I finally know how to surf. *brags to friends bah! do u know how to surf? i know!!! and then *panics because i have a memory of a clownfish
Anyway, we were famished!!! We ate our scrumptious lovely breakfast prepared by Keso staff. We had the same order because that’s what girlfriends are for, right? Duh.
Aaaaand my stomach just made a sound. I’m hungry just by looking at this yummy perfection. *meow
One of the Keso staffed approached us and said that we needed to go since someone already reserved the room for the day?! sorry i was a bit confused about this part because we were a bit frustrated why they didn’t tell us ahead of time. Good thing we paid in half. So, we bid the resort goodbye and transferred to the resort next to it, Boardwalk, a bit more pricey but definitely worth it.
Soooooo, to continue our adventure, we rented the koya tricycle that helped us two days ago to accommodate us to our island hopping! It was his banka (boat) and we negotiate to and fro, got a cool rate of 1500/3 islands! It was a bargain and a match made in Siargao. We had the boat and the whole afternoon to ourselves. Awe-some!
I apologize in advance because I forgot the names of the exact islands we were into, but they were (Daku Island, Naked Island and Guam Island). If i get it wrong in the next few photos, please let me know!!!! sorry i have the memory of a clownfish.
One thing I was really thankful about this trip were my company, these two brats. Haha kidding. The trip was a delight because they made it feel like home. They are my friends when I was the happiest and they were with me when I was at my lowest. We got through the grey bits together too. Each one of us has a distinct trait that complements well with our little group, thank God. And by the way, I’m the clumsy-weird one. So, that’s that!!! Let’s get to these islands shall we?
So, the first island we explored was Naked Island.
NAKED ISLAND. We were wondering, why naked? Do we have to get naked to get in? Is it a nudist beach? noooooooo. Because the damn place is pure sand. PURE SAND. IMAGINE THE PURRFECTION. My photos dont do justice but believe me it’s a slice of paradise. Thank God it was sunny. It was a 15-20min boat ride from the island and we were pointing random islands and asking, “koya is this it? kani? mao ni? taka ka jes! (is this the island? how about that one? or that one? no? jes, stop pointing at random islands that’s not the right one” sorry i had to put it into verbatim because it was funny hahahaha time flies.
You might a little patch of grass but that’s it. There’s not hut, or cabin, or a tree (but i saw a plant) or anything! It’s bare naked. And there were such a few people there that we just said, to hell with it! and wore our bikinis. In Cebu, I usually don’t do that because we see judgy eyes not far away. But here, who cares?!?!?!?! YOLO right? lol.
GUYAM ISLAND. Now before we get to our funny story, you might expect a lot from this island before booking or flying out, like fast wifi, or spotless beaches, no crowds – you are wrong. Sometimes the “spotless” beaches you see on social media is fake. So many filters and adjustments, it just kinda disappoints people, don’t do that okay? Which is why, before flying out here, we really told ourselves not to expect too much. Well in fact, we didn’t expect anything. We just wanted to have fun and take time to waste a moment for a while, which made this trip memorable!
Now, on to our funny story. this island was as calm as a peach, there were a few cottages with families playing volleyball and some kids swimming. No sweat, we found a semi-secluded spot where we could just laugh our asses off because we ventured into an island hopping and we don’t know how to swim. Sounds cool, right? YES! So, we dove right in. And guess what? THE WAVES ARE STRONG. Not the kind of strong like lifts you up, but the kind that really washes you away from the shores like it brings you away from it. Not really sure how to explain in (i suck at explaining natural phenomena) but it seems like the waves would just suck you into the ocean and all the sands gets inside all the weird bits in your body. It was so funny. I was holding a 100 peso bill because we heard there was gonna be a fee for the island preservation or something. So all the while, I was holding it up, while we were swimming! Just imagine how funny and hard it was, we were laughing so much we just didnt care! The bill got wet and i just didn’t care anymore. We were having so much fun from the all the crazy-ness. Jessa took a video of it and we will never post the whole thing (with audio) because it would ruin us forever (me mostly because i was hysterical). Good times!!! When we were done swimming, we asked around if there were any fees, and guess what? no feees!!!!! So much for holding it up high, huh? I just put the bill on my lap and let it dry when we were on our way to the third island, Daku.
DAKU ISLAND. Not sure why it was called daku but it wasn’t really big. HAHA! A lot of people were there though, we also paid 10-15 pesos each for the fee. A lot of people were there, swimming, dancing, singing their way through life. Whew, why can’t I earn money this way? Life is just better simplified. People insist in making it complicated. We enjoyed the waters and swam a bit deeper because we are brave women!! And there were also rented bancas so that we could just rest our arms when we get tired. It was around 4:30PM when we retreated back to the island and took a catnap.
We strolled around the area, bought a few souvenirs for the folks back home (i didnt forget u guys come on) 🙂 This adventure would’ve never been possible without you. Hihihihi. Our trip has almost come to a close, and we were now thinking of coming back here. 3D2N ain’t enough, people. Believe me. So many things to do and sights to see, time flies fast here in Siargao!!!
We also talked to a couple of locals and felt really good that even by the simple livelihood they have here, they are happy people who are just chill and want peace out here.
We would’ve loved to stay here for a couple more daysssss, but our corporate lives have to go on……. but definitely, definitely coming back!!!!
So far this has been, and i have mentioned this to my other friends a million times, one of the best trips of my life, because it was such a beautiful paradise, and I spent quality time with my girlfriends. Need I say more?
Two hours before our flight, we stayed in the nearby cafe, Basti’s for brunch and coffee before boarding and going back to our surf-less lives in Cebu. Love u Cebu, still!
Sorry if most of the photos aren’t in great quality, though. Sometimes, our eyes see things more clearly than captured photographs! Hahahaha, just making an excuse here.
But seriously, Siargao is one for the books! A paradise.
Here’s a video-montage of our Siargao stay! Definitely coming back! 🙂 🌊
I had quite the moment gathering these photos for this post. I like taking photos of the places I’ve been in (some even ugly photos), but still, the beauty remains. It makes me feel like I left a part of my soul in these places. Would that mean I’ve got little left? *shrugs
I’ve taken photos of sunrises and sunsets of the ocean, dusks and dawn, concerts where I sang, nope, screamed, at the top of my lungs, mountain highlands in Bacolod and we went there while it was raining, skyscrapers in Singapore, ancient mansions in Silay, museums in Cebu, parks and playgrounds the city, my alma mater that I visited because I was hoping to get another alumni ID since I lost mine, at the local restaurant where my family and I always eat lunch or dinner (great food by the way), beach house in Catmon where almost everyone got drunk (except me), fireworks in Sinulog because we all know Cebu parties the best, the tranquil ocean in Dumanjug where my sister and I spent a night in my uncle’s rest house and I was pretty sure I slept like a baby, the pool house in Talisay where the office spent the Christmas party together and intact because a few months everything changed, the beach front where my friends’ stopped for a while and admired the afternoon sun along with our selfies (haha), the beautiful and aesthetically pleasing church where my cousin got married in, because you can never take enough photos of aesthetically pleasing places am I right am I right, BadBoyWingz where my office mates and I devoured chicken wings, we didn’t even order much because it was a bit pricey, but damn that place has some nice light fixtures, one of the family favorites and one of my so-so likes – Papa Kits Fishing Lagoon in Lilo-an, where we spend random Sundays fishing, swimming, wall-climbing, eating, swimming, some more eating, drinking coffee – yes, in that order.
It has been a hell of a year, all the emotional turmoil, mixed with joy and disappointments. I don’t know about you but it has been a productive year. On some days I have cried my eyes out for the things I wished I would’ve done, or things I would’ve changed. But on some days, I feel like a sunshine radiating on everyone and asking if they’ve had enough scoops on their ice cream. I’ve had my fair share of ROFL-ing and LOL-ing, and I’ve come to realize that this year has been entirely about me taking risks and letting go, because damn it, I am twenty-two, and it’s about time I live my life the way I want it. That being said, I have understood my family better, why they do this, why my parents sometimes don’t allow me to hang out, why my sisters are overprotective (sometimes), the way things work – taxes, paying bills, grieving, hopelessly moving on from something that has never even started, babies, death, more babies, the glitzy politics of work, and the idea that there can never be too much love for another human being, because sometimes, it all just falls into place.
I have grown a deeper sense of appreciation for art and music – because, simply put, they were there for me when I was not entirely myself. They made sure that I always put my feet on the ground, and remind me of who I am and what I value. I don’t know much about art and music, I just believe that they are there to disturb and comfort you in all aspects of life.
I know I still have so much more to discover about this so-called life and the intricacies of online shopping, but I hope 2017 will be as much adventure as 2016 has brought me.
There can never be too much of the places I’ll explore.
Sucks how at the ripe age of 20, I still haven’t gone out of the country. I love my country, that is the truth. But there were always times where I longed to be somewhere else, somewhere that I didn’t know anything of, somewhere that I didn’t know anyone, and just a place where I can be deliberately lost. In spite of all the chaos and stress I have at school, I still think about what I would be doing if I were strolling in the streets of New York, or visiting a temple in Thailand, or checking out a museum in Germany. It’s all there. It’s all in my head. I just wish I could let this out, through writing my frustrations. As I’m getting “older” (OH NO), I somehow find it hard to suppress these thoughts in my head. I feel like I’ve been bitten by the travel bug, actually, a long time ago.
I’ve read blog posts about traveling and how to approximate your budget with all these expensive hotels and fees. I’ve also thought hard about saving a lot for traveling in the future. However, it just seems like I’ve been putting them off lately. But like I always say, I’m still young, I’ve got a lot of things to do, money to earn, people to meet, knowledge to learn, books to read.
I’m turning 21 next year, and hopefully I get to travel by then. *fingers crossed*
What I’m about to put here folks are not that all interesting. Just random stuff I thought of. Don’t judge me. 1. I eat a lot but I feel full like after 10 minutes of eating nonstop. And then I go hungry again. 2. I love the smell of rain (petrichor). 3. I am fond of the smell of incense. 4. I am a big fan of the Harry Potter series. 5. I play Diablo. 6. I was born on April Fools’ Day. 7. I make faces when I look at the mirror. 8. I am bibliophilic (lover of books.) 9. I love good and intellectually stimulating conversations. 10. I am the youngest daughter of the family. 11. I have 4 sisters. 12. I eat a lot, and I mean, a lot. 13. I am weirdly scared when I pass by a statue of St. Peter. 14. I am a sucker for rom-coms. 15. I hate anything with many small holes (goosebumps) 16. I like reading horror stories. 17. I don’t eat the pineapples in my pizza. It’s just weird. 18. I was labeled as Miss Goody Two-Shoes in high school. Like, seriously? 19. Looking for Alaska is one of my top 10 favorite books of all time. 20. I am nocturnal. 21. I am a big fan of Will Ferrell. 22. How I Met Your Mother is my favorite tv series (so far). 23. I don’t have nice teeth. 24. I have a recurring dream about a specific place 3-4 times a month. And I don’t know where that is. 25. I think I’m a non-conformist sometimes. 26. My comfort food is pasta, pizza and fries. 27. I put lyrics, drawings, and random doodles in my notebook. It’s kind of taking up space but who cares. 28. Most of the time, my bed is a mess. 29. My parents are 1/4 Chinese and 1/8 Spanish. 30. I am logophilic (lover of words). So yes, now you guys know me a little bit better.
Travelling to a new place is always a good thing. For most of us, that “fear of the unknown” gene does not exist. I mean, what could be more exciting than going to places on your own, without your parents? Even thinking about it then sends shivers to my spine. But as they always say, we get a taste of our medicine somehow. And for me, I did, on 2010 when I went to Manila for a Leadership Training, for a week. Although I was with 12 other people who shared the same intense enthusiasm, travelling without my parents sounds pretty much travelling alone to me. I distinctly remember on that night before our flight, I was having chills. I was nervous and excited and anxious and cold and “Are these planes safe?” Well those kinds of things. I felt everything and nothing at the same time, and I don’t know what that really means. But it was my first time in a plane, and I am a little afraid of heights plus mix in a little turbulence here and there and I was closing my eyes and praying the Hail Mary and try to forget all the movies involving plane crashes. So when we landed, I was metaphorically kissing the ground (who would actually do that?) and went on our way to eat breakfast and do some sight-seeing for the time. Being in a new place is so strange, you get to see and experience an aspect that no one ever has, I mean, Manila is definitely a different atmosphere compared to Cebu and this, my friends, made me realize how lucky I was that I was born and raised, and lived in Cebu. Things aside, Manila was very urban. And by urban, I mean both the good and bad sides of urban communities. Smoke, easy access to malls and hotels, traffic, new sites to see, you name it. There’s just something about visiting new places that makes me so happy. It’s that whiff of air ( in my case, smoke) that you don’t get anywhere, it’s like inhaling history, being a part of something larger is kind of nauseating but I wouldn’t mind. However, I remember being on the airport and waiting for our van when this lady came up to me and asked if she could borrow my phone because hers broke out and she had to text a friend. I remembered all, and I mean all of the bad things I heard and watched on the television that reminded me why I should be so careful of my belongings, but to make the long story short, I told her I didn’t have one. Better safe than sorry, I guess.
Getting a little piece of Manila with me, even for a short time, is memorable. In those chaotic moments between hasting ourselves to get to our rooms and putting our luggage back to the counter for departure, I did not take a moment to think. It felt like a blur, which I regret. I was, literally, in a state of “culture shock”. We didn’t even get to get in to the famous “Star City” where I can go play with snow and stuff which was the worst part of the trip since it was the one thing we were looking forward to visit. But we visited Ocean Park, and my love for the ocean has never stopped since. Even though I don’t know how to swim, admiring things from afar still feels quite amazing, with all the jellyfish and little fishes. In a span of one week, I had visited only the tip of the iceberg, people. Getting a taste of being in Manila was like licking a small part of the ice cream, and I am so hungry for more. So I hope someday I can go back to Manila and take the time to really breathe in ( not literally though ) the amazing and wonderful places that it has to offer. I don’t kid, I will go back someday.
Putting all these things aside, my experience of being culture shocked in Manila was a whiff. And I couldn’t tell if it really happened, although I knew it did because pictures and certificates happened to be there. But the feeling, of having really visited the place, and having the time to really take in and experience the fact that I was on my own, and had the freedom to do pretty much what I wanted at that time, did not occur to me. But I know for a fact, I will go back soon. The only question is when. And how to earn money to go there.
— Because reminiscing the past on a rainy Wednesday evening seems to be the best way to spend the night.