Tuesday, March 13

Happy Birthday to Me

What I love about this trip is that nothing was ever planned. Whatever was planned, never happened.

The initial destination was Jomalig Island off the coast of Quezon Province. Something that I have been looking forward to for the previous 2 months with a set of friends from my previous life. A trip to Donsol was something I was planning with another friend, for May. But when all the plans turned out to be written in water, I decided to take a couple to Bicol at short notice. We took the sleeper train to Naga -- something that I've been wanting to do back in college with MOWREC -- headed to our first destination: Donsol, before working our way to the hot springs of Irosin in Sorsogon. 

The butandings were a novelty. An experience mostly spent waiting for the large fish to come up from the bottom of the sea, followed by a sudden burst of frenzy at spotting it slowly surface to feed. My first time seeing the white spots on its gray back, my impression was: "it's so wide!" it didn't even register to me where it ended. Truly, "a shark as large as a whale" I thought.  It was such a rush at finding myself swimming right above its flattened head, twice! 

a dingey waiting
Out of all the things we did in this trip, other than my excitement at swimming with the whale sharks, I loved the quiet morning spent at the crater lake at the heart of Bulusan Volcano. The fog above the water . . . the dingey and kayaks waiting . . . calling onto me to break its surface with a paddle.

calling onto me: "break its surface with a paddle"
We circumnavigated along the 2km shoreline of Lake Bulusan. Cruising under a canopy of leaves spread over our heads, trunks and vines entwined,  branches of trees bowing down and sometimes touching the surface of the water. The lake was so inviting I have to remind myself that 40,000-year-old Bulusan is the 4th most active volcano in the Philippines -- its last eruption was just on February, 2011

We saw some locals swimming. I thought it was so beautiful not to try it myself. I don't want to be the girl who misses out on the brilliance of a moment (I like to stop and spend time listening to the sound of the unseen). So I brought the kayak to shore, took off my dress and went into the water with them. Not soon after I saw the fallen blue-green flowers of the Jade Vine -- endemic to the tropical rainforest surrounding the lake -- floating, carried by the current. We followed its source and found the cascading claw-shaped blooms (locally called "tayabak") growing on vines beside the water. Spectacular - Spectacular.

it's too beautiful for me not to try it . . .
For me, the beauty of traveling is that I can go about my thing as if I'm invisible -- moving among people who don't know me. At the same time, I am doing things with a purpose. Each movement is a personal acknowledgment of my small presence in this world.

I don't want to be that person who starts each day oblivious of the brilliance of possibilities. I don't want to be ruled by what I already know. I want experiences that transcends my limitations.

And I have lived another year with a sense of awe.