Posted by: nastypen | May 2, 2008

Travel Itching

It’s the summer vacation and as a teacher I’m entitled to one. However, what vacation? I am swamping myself with rackets and seminars and art production. It’s hot outside right now but I want to get my knapsack and flee Manila. I remember that time when I just stood up in my cubicle in my first work (I lasted close to six years there) and told people that I’m going away. With no plans etched, I found myself in Batac, Ilocos Norte staring at the “corpse” of a Philippine dictator 12 hours later. Ahh how I miss traveling.

It’s already May. Before I know it, I’m back at the classroom. News reports state that we are in for a major temperature rise this month. It is quite hot and perhaps I get fevered dreams. I see myself out of Makati but I am still in Makati. The heat is giving me cause to run away. But I can’t really move so I let my mind wander.

I recall….

….Falling into an empty fountain in Corregidor….

….wearing black in a cult’s church in Mt. Banahaw when everyone wore white…..

….asking this German couple to accompany me in the Marcos mausoleum because I am afraid of the dictator….

….barging into the Marcos Museum even though there was a sign “No Entry” posted to which I decided to act like a Japanese tourist to feign ignorance of such post….

….running around screeching in the Coconut Palace while wearing a black barong….

….looking at Esteban Villanueva‘s old paintings in Vigan…..

….refusing to stand up during the river rafting in Cagayan de Oro….

….having my cellphone stolen in Baguio after I bought a tiny cactus….

…..almost crying at the sight of the Paoay Church because I don’t have my camera with me…

….having to share a room with an old guy (long story) in Tarlac wherein he strutted out the bathroom wearing nothing but briefs and prompted me to be anorexic for the next 12 hours….

….climbing up the old bell tower in Dumaguete and seeing all those vandalism on a centuries-old wall….

….going through the cornfields in Capiz; emerging with several cuts all over my face….

….wanting to steal the first edition of Noli Me Tangere from a Bacolod mansion….

….crying out in pain as I ate some local food in Naga….

….being excited to see old art work drawn by prisoners in a cell in Boljoon, Cebu….

….buying all those bags for my sisters in Bicol….

….falling and banging my head only to be saved by off-duty military men in Mt. Banahaw….

….seeing the “Yapak ni kristo” (Christ’s footprint) in Mt. Banahaw and almost slipping because I wore sandals……

….getting lost in a Vigan cemetery…..

…..being caught in a time warp in my lola’s house in Numancia, Aklan…..

….fiddling with precolonial skulls in the Siliman University Museum because nobody was looking…..

….staring my grandmother’s dresses in her closet in Jamindan, Capiz; she had the aesthetics of a beauty queen raised by drag queens…..

….hearing horse-drawn carriages outside my hotel room in the Mestizo district in Vigan at 3am; looked out and nobody was there….

….having breakfast at Fort Ilocandia and thinking I was in China at the sheer number of Chinese tourists in for the gambling….

….Nemcy pointing to me where the bodies floated in a major accident at Bocaue, Bulacan….

….shivering outside the church in Plaridel, Bulacan at dawn during a signal no. 1 storm (boy, was that crazy) only to seek refuge at a local beauty parlor wherein the proprietress told me that a dead body was seen near here the day before….

….seeing and saddened by what Imelda Marcos did to the Sarat Church….

….being dragged by a massive pig in Batangas….

….stumbling drunk into an orgy in Puerto Galera to which my screams turned me sober and I ran back to my cottage….

….bathing in an irrigation system in San Juan, Batangas…..

….seeing a small snake pop out as I turn on the faucet in Capiz….

…..enjoying the black sand and swimming at the crack of dawn in La Union….

….having little fish follow me wherever I swim in Boracay, as if they know I have food on me…..

…..being scolded for laughing at nothing in Palompon, Leyte because the old lady at the port might take offense and curse me….

…..being offered a drink by a beautiful tranny in White Beach as the gay bartender danced on the ledge to Kylie Minogue‘s Can’t Get You Out of My Head….

…..the soothing waves of Bohol as I whisked Nemcy up for a picture……

…..sneaking into the priests’ house in Carcar with Addie, Biba and Nemcy….

…..sashaying at a catwalk near the Mactan shrine while someone sang karaoke…..

agh…agh….I need to reignite that spirit of adventure of mine. Here I am typing this in Makati when I could be in Siquijor marveling at the old churches. You might think I’ve been to a lot of places and here I am making an inventory of those as a means to brag. Oh please….. I know friends of mine who have gone to more places in our country and experienced much more than this list of fragments of mine.

It’s a pity that it is cheaper to fly to Bangkok than going to Batanes. Although I said I may put on hold some traveling plans for the moment, I’m getting this travel itch.

I am flooded by these memories of local tourism. And I still feel I need to go out more. I need to see more of my country. This is why I’m doing all these rackets because I DO want to see more of Mindanao. And it’s costly.

My thesis adviser has been inviting me to go to Bontoc with her for her documentation of Northern Philippine textiles. I’m bordering on the “I can’t” zone because I am soooo out of shape right now and I will be a liability in treks. But I yearn to escape the polluted strangulations of my beloved Manila even for a couple of days.

National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose told me to “drop everything but your sketchbook and see your country.” Oh how I wish…how I wish…..


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