Sunday, March 8, 2020

Being in the Right Place at the Wrong Time

Once you dub this place as a 'hidden paradise' it ceases to be one

How do you travel? Do you travel just to find a venue for your being: your youness? Do you go to the beach or the mountains so that you and your friends could run around; or play hugot songs on JBL speakers; or to celebrate the birthday of your kid; or to sport your top-of-the-line drone; or to drown yourself in your ‘bigay ng seaman friend ko’ whisky; or to find isolation for your pot session; or to enjoy the bonfire; or to flirt with a coworker and have sex? Then it’s still about you: not the beach nor the mountain. I understand, that’s what we mean by having fun. We probably cannot have that fun in a mall. That’s the default idea for enjoying a place or ‘getting a life’I am not suggesting that we stop this practice altogether! That would be outrageous. What I’m getting at is that we try to explore some channels for our idea of fun. Let’s try to give room to the idea of enjoying the place by letting it be; by letting the moment be about the beach or the mountain and not how you can utilize it for the sake of your fun. No, it’s not just for the solo travelers. In a Celestine Prophecy kind of world, like-minded individuals could gather in a place, not necessarily interacting with each other but individually celebrating the being of the place.

Later that day, my isolated tent would be joined by a group of seventeen, then of five, of four, another four, and another four.

Lagataw treks have always been that way. The climb party may gather at some stations and have some discussion (that could get loud sometimes) but these discussions are normally about how nature tamed and controlled us, and not us utilizing nature; it is about how it is to be in a place. And when we do get loud, it is in celebration of our victory over ourselves: for pushing our limits and limiting our push, or a joke as a temporary relief from the battle we call the climb. We get to know ourselves deeper by acknowledging our own extents and limits that nature has shown us.

Last weekend, I was thrilled by the idea of being on a quiet beach--to be in a space-time reality where it is all about the beach and not about me or my issues in life. I just wanted to listen to the sound of the waves and get to know the cove; how it is at night and how it is as I peep through my tent in the morning; to enjoy the ebb and flow of the waves evidenced by their lulling sound in the dark. Unfortunately, the place that has been dubbed as a hidden paradise was indeed a paradise for those who wanted to have fun. Talk about being in the right place at the wrong time! And the sound of the waves was drowned by the general idea of fun that night; the music of the cicadas was muted by the chorus of ‘hindi tayo puhwedeeee, pinagtagpo pero di tinadhana’ by a group gathered around a bonfire; and the glimmer of fireflies was adulterated by LED fairy lights.  How na├»ve was I to think that a place that has been YouTubed as a hidden paradise could still be hidden on a weekend! I should give Wednesday a try next time.

Saksi ang piping lampara sa gabing puno ng 'kasiyahan'. Play in Dolby surround 7.1 system

Sayang ka kung wala kang nakita sa ulan kundi ang basa sa iyong katawan. Sayang ka kung wala kang nakita sa araw kundi ang sunog sa iyong balat. I want to extend the lyrics of that song to Sayang ka aking kaibigan kung wala kang nadama sa kalikasan kundi ang iyong pansariling kasiyahan.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

I've become so used to memes that I've lost the talent to create titles to blog posts including this one. See, there's a period. How could this be a title?

This morning a friend asked 'Ser, kelan ka magbabalik?' And before I could give an honest answer,  the whole history of lagataw flashed through my mind.

Fifteen years ago, I went hiking for the first time. Then it became a goal. I'd make it a point to climb a mountain once a month. I made a list, a  little black book, a blog. Then it became my nature. It was no longer an effort. My world had been rearranged. I just woke up one day and all my friends had hydration packs and trekking poles instead of Marlboro packs and sticks. I gravitated towards heights wherever I lived. Cantabaco and Alegria when in Cebu; Batulao when in Tagaytay;  everywhere when in Benguet; and a slackline when in the city. Then I became procreative in my passion, adding a handful of nouns in the glossary of Philippine mountaineering. In case you didn't know, I coined Bakun Trio and Luzon 3-2-1, without any intention or vision, whatsoever to make them the standard name to those itineraries. They were just pompous titles to my albums in the now defunct And not so long ago, I added the highfalutin terms, KKB and Timbak U. And only a chosen few were able to understand. This was probably the pinnacle of my outdoors life. The outdoors had literally become my career. It was a lie when I would post 'the return of lagataw' on my wall, because there was no return, so to speak. My absence was just an effort to suppress the itch to climb. Climbing was my default drive and the question 'Kelan ka magbabalik?' required no answer.

And suddenly today, that question has become meaningful. It has become something I can relate to, something I have to ponder upon. And now it requires an answer I cannot readily give.

Will bringing back this backpack full of camping stuff straight out of the holidays guarantee the revival of lagataw?

YOU deserve a holiday!
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