Kwentong Pag-Ibig ni Romulo

Itong blog na ito ay halos 5 buwan in the making. But the love story behind it is made to last for a lifetime.

BABALA: Kung babasahin mo ang blog na ito, siguraduhing handa kang langgamin. Bakit? Malalaman mo pag nagbasa ka. Isa pang babala, siguraduhing marami kang oras, may kahabaan kasi ang blog na ito. Ito na ata ang pinakamahabang blog na nagawa ko.

MGA BAWAL:

· Bawal ang “KJ” (kill joy) dito.

· Bawal ang hindi corny at cheesy dito.

“You will find love in the most unexpected place at the most unexpected time.” Iyan ang sabi sa akin ng isa kong kaibigan noong mga panahon na lugmok ako dahil ako ay isang BRO (broken-hearted). (Ooooops, hindi ito konektado sa blog ko na “Inagaw ang lahat Sa Akin”, eto eh totoong kwentong pag-ibig na).

First Day High

2003. Unang taon ng aking pagtuturo. Kakagradwyet ko lamang ng taong ding iyon, at nagrerebyu para sa nalalapit na board exams. Maaga akong pumasok sa Tuesday class ko ng 7:30 kung saan may mga nakatambay na mga estudyante sa harap ng Adenauer 401 (classroom ko). Napatingin ako sa isang babaeng naka-agaw ng sa aking atensyon dahil na rin sa mapupungay nitong mga mata. May mga tumakbong bagay sa pag-iisip ko ng mga oras na iyon gaya ng – “Magiging estudyante ko kaya eto? Dito kaya siya papasok sa klaseng papasukan ko?”

Nagfirst bell na, hudyat para pumasok na ang mga estudyanteng nakatambay sa labas ng classroom. Hinintay ko kung papasok ang nabanggit kong estudyante ngunit tumayo lamang ‘to at umalis. Hinintay ko ang second bell, nagbabakasakaling babalik at papasok ang naturang babae. Ngunit, subalit datapwat, umabot na sa 3rd bell eh walang magandang babae na mapupungay ang mga mata ang pumasok sa clase ko. Nalungkot ako.

Serendipity

Lumipas ang isang buong semester. Nakalimutan ko na ang naramdaman kong pagkamangha kay “Miss Tantalizing Eyes” (un ang binigay kong codename sa kanya mula nung una at huling araw na nakita ko siya sa unibersidad). Hindi na rin ako umasa na makikita ko pa siyang muli.

Umpisa ng 2nd semester SY 2003-2004. Tuesday ulit. 7:30 to 9:30 ulit ang oras at sa Adenauer 401 ulit ang pasok ko. Hindi kagaya nung unang semester, hindi ako maagang nakapasok. Tapos na ang 1st at 2nd bell kaya dali-dali akong pumasok at tumungo sa classroom. Pagkapasok ko ng classroom, sinabi ko sa mga estudyante ko na isulat nila ang pangalan nila sa isang 1/8th sheet of paper at ipasa eto.

Since unang araw pa lang ng pasukan, classroom rules at getting-to-know each other muna ang aming ginawa. Isa-isa kong tinawag ang mga pangalan sa papel na sinubmit sa akin, hanggang sa tawagin ko ang pangalan na ito —

“Ramirez, Maria S. – Where is Ms. Ramirez?”

May isang babaeng naka-red orange ang blouse ang nagtaas ng kanyang kamay. Mapupungay ang mga mata nito at isang matamis na ngiti ang ibinugad sa aking pagkakatawag ng kanyang pangalan. Mabilis na nagregister sa utak ko ang mukha ng babaeng ito. “Siya nga! Siya na nga!” Un ang paulit-ulit na sinisigaw ng mga neurons ko habang nakatitig sa kanya. Siya yung babaeng binansagan kong “Ms. Tantalizing Eyes”. Siya yung babaeng minsan ko lang nakita noong nakaraang semester na parang bula na lang na nawala dahil ni minsan, hindi ko na uli siyang nakita.

“And how would you like to be called in class Ms. Ramirez?” – pa-simple kong tanong na agad naman nitong sinagot ng –

“Maria SIR.”

Para akong binuhusan ng malamig na tubig ng marealize ko na SIR o guro nga pala nila ako sa klaseng ito at hindi isa sa mga kaklase nila. Problema nga ba yon? May “university rule” bang nagsasaad na bawal ma-inlab ang isang guro sa kanyang estudyante?

I Think I’m in Love

Mahirap bumangon ng maaga lalo na dito sa Baguio City dahil masarap matulog lalo na at malamig. Pero dahil may dahilan para gumising ng maaga at para na rin hindi malate sa pagpasok sa eskwela, eh talaga namang alas-singko pa lang eh ginigising na ako ng alarm clock ko.

In-short, inspired akong pumasok, lalo na tuwing TTHS dahil na rin kay Ms. Ramirez. Lumipas pa ang ilang araw at linggo, mas lalo akong napapahanga sa kanyang kagandahan at iba pang katangian. Maraming beses kong nahuhuli ang sarili ko na bigla-bigla na lang nakatitig sa kanya tuwing may quiz o seatwork sila… (Hindi ko lang alam kung may mga nakakahuli ding mga kaklase nya sa mga nakaw kong tingin kay Maria).

December na – ibig sabihin, Christmas break. Bigla ko siyang na-miss, hindi nakakatulog sa gabi sa kakaisip at nagigising na lang ako na humihiyaw ang utak ko na tila gustong irelease lahat ng mga kemikals gaya ng 5-HT o 5-hydroxytryptamine, serotonin at epinephrine na nagiging dahilan ng mabilis na pagtibok ng puso ko, at pagka-walang gana sa pagkain. Waaaaaaaaaah! Matagal ko ding di naramdaman ang mga eto…Eto na naman ang mga sinasabi sa kanta nina Jam Morales na ni-revive ni Lea Salonga “I think I’m in love, I think I’m in love with you.. Every single day, every single night, I want to spend them all, with you….” Haaay… I’m in-lab… Sabi ko pa man din sa sarili ko na trabaho muna, at tsaka na yang lab lab na yan…

You Changed My Life in a Moment

January 2004. Excited akong bumalik ng school. Napansin ng mga kabahay ko na sa pagpasok pa lang ng Bagong Taon eh, marami ding nakaakibat na pagbabago mula sa akin – gaya ng mga sumusunod:

· *Tumatagal na akong maligo (dati-rati 5 minutes lang ako kung maligo, 3 minutes kung masyadong malamig, ngayon 20 to 30 minutes na, pagshashampoo pa lang yun ha…).

· *Paglabas sa kwarto ay umaalingasaw ang amoy ng padalang pabango na Polo Sport ni Lola mula Tate…

· *Napapadalas din ang pagpapatugtug ng mga Lab Songs sa kwarto ko gaya ng Love is All That Matters, Falling atbpng sentimental songs na dati-rati naman eh di ko pinapakinggan.

· *Tuwing gabi, kung ano anung baduy na love notes ang sinusulat ko kung saan-saan – mula sa class record ko to my lecture notes hanggang sa kama ko, my mga post it na nakasulat ang pangalang “Maria”.

Nais ko na sanag ihayag kay Maria ang nararamdaman ko pero hindi ko alam kung paano. Medyo natotorpe din kasi ako, bukod dun eh, nag-aalangan ako dahil nga baka may masabi ang marami. Natatakot ako na baka may masabi ang mga kaklase niya o kaya ang mga co-teachers ko. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, ang hirap naman.

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Torpedo

Pebrero. Love month. Nataon ang February 14 (Valentines Day) sa araw na sila Maria ang estudyante ko. To break the usual scenario sa klase na lecture lecture lecture, nagkaroon kami ng activity. Tutal, Health Care naman yung subject, tungkol sa Caring ang ginawa naming activity. Gumawa sila ng mga messages of love and care, at dapat nilang ibigay etong mga ito sa mga taong nagbibigay ng inspirasyon sa kanila na nasa classroom. Bago ang dismissal, kinailangan ng ibigay ang mga ginawa nila – laking gulat ko ng iabot sa akin ni Maria ang heart letter na ginawa nya.

“The true measure of love is to love without measure.” – yan ang nakalagay sa iniabot niya sa akin na note. Gusto kong kiligin ng mga oras na iyon. Gustong sumigaw ng puso ko… Naramdaman ko ang pag-init ng mga tenga ko. Hindi ako makapaniwala. Napabuntong hininga na lang ako. Umalis ako ng classroom nila na may napakalaking ngiti sa mukha.

Pagkalabas, may mga nakita akong Valentines booth. Naisipan kong magbigay ng bulaklak na ipapadala ko kay Maria. Dahil nga sa torpe ako, ay hindi ko kinaya na ako mismo ang mag-abot ng rose kay Maria kaya’t inutusan ko ang isang kakilala. Binilin ko sa kanya na wag na wag niyang babanggitin na sa akin galing. Mabuti nalang at napapayag ko siya matapos pangakuan na ililibre ko siya sa Jollibee.

Eto ung nakalagay sa note na binigay ko sa kanya.

Dear Maria,

“The true measure of love is to love without measure.”

Anonymous

Para akong timang nuh? Syempre pa, magkaka-idea sya na ako ang nagbigay dahil kapareho ng binigay nyang note ung inilagay kong note sa bigay ko sa kanyang rose, kahit pa anonymous ang nakalagay. Pero syempre, idedeny ko kung magtatanong sya. Tanga? Torpe? Gago? OO.

Kinahapunan, nilapitan ako ng isang kaibigan niya na naging kaclose ko (si Cassie, na hindi ko estudyante). Tinanong niya ako kung ako daw ba iyong nagbigay kay Maria ng bulaklak. Syempre pa, itinanggi ko. Pero sa bandang huli, nahuli niya rin ako. Nagmakaawa ako na wag na wag niyang sasabihin na ako nga iyong nagbigay. Natawa na lang siya. Tiwala ako kay Cassie na hindi niya sa sasabihin. Sa katunyan, humingi pa ako ng favor sa kanya. Hiningi ko ang cellphone number ni Maria. Binigay naman niya ng walang pagaalinlangan. Ayos, solb!

Kinagabihan, binalak kong itext si Maria, pero mas nanaig ang pagiging torpe ko. Ilang araw pa ang lumipas bago ako nagkaroon ng lakas ng loob para itext siya.

“Hi, Maria. Musta ang school?” (message sent).

“hu u?” (reply ni Maria).Nakalimutan ko, hindi pa pala ako nagpapakilala.

“Ay, sori. Si Sir Rodrigo pala to. =)” (message sent).

“Ay, sir. Kayo po pala. Okay lang naman po.” (reply ni Maria).

“Ah, ok..mabuti naman. Sana hindi ako nakakaistorbo sayo…” (message sent)

Walang immediate reply. 5 minutes na, wala pa din. 10.15. Hay, nakastorbo nga ata ako.

Tooooootoooootooooot. Tunog ng cellphone ko.

“Hi sir, pasensya po, late reply. Gumagawa po kasi ako ng assignment sa Chem”. (text ni Maria)

Sabi ko na nga ba, nakaistorbo ako. Wrong timing. Siyempre, wala na akong nagawa, Kaya –

“Naku, sorry at naistorbo kita. Cge, tapusin mo na yang assignment mo. Goodnight. Sweet dreams… (kinikilig ako ng tinetext ko ang mga ito. message sent..sabay lundag sa malambot kong kama!)

“Kayo din po sir. Goodnyt!” (reply niya pero walang sweet dreams…)

Nahirapan akong matulog ng gabing iyon. Paulit-ulit na nanumbalik ang mga text messages ni Maria sa utak ko. Wala namang ibig sabihin ang mga texts nya, malandi lang talaga ako… ehehehe. Matagal-tagal ko ring hindi naramdaman ang mga eto… In-lab nga talaga ako kay Maria.

Nahirapan akong matulog ng gabing iyon. Paulit-ulit na nanumbalik ang mga text messages ni Maria sa utak ko. Wala namang ibig sabihin ang mga texts nya, malandi lang talaga ako… ehehehe. Matagal-tagal ko ring hindi naramdaman ang mga eto… In-lab nga talaga ako kay Maria.

Bawal na Gamot?

“Hindi ba bawal yan?” Iyan ang tanong ng isa sa mga kaibigan ko.

“Anong bawal dun? Wala naman akong asawa, wala din naman (ata) siyang boyfriend o boylets yun ang sabi ng mga friends niya)”.

“Bahala ka jan, ingat ka. Tsaka baka may masabi ung mga classmates niya…”

“Fair naman ako pagdating sa classroom eh, tsaka alam ko naman ang mga ginagawa ko.”

“Oo na, basta goodluck nalang…”

Iyan ang mga naging usapan namin. Aminado ako, medyo naaburido ako. AT naiinis. Bakit ba kasi may mga ganung bagay. (na kesyo bawal daw ang teacher – student relationship).

Chemistry Week. Kinuha ako ng Department Head ng Chemistry para maging judge sa Talent Showdown nila. Pumayag naman ako. Sa hindi ko inaasahang pagkakataon, kasama si Maria at mga friends niya sa Pop Dance. Ahem, pinagtatagpo ata kami ni destiny. (iyon ang nasa isip ko noon).

Natapos ang show, hindi sila nanalo dahil marami ang mas magagaling sa kanila. Sa labas ng theatre, nakita ko sila. Masaya kahit natalo (para daw sa plus points yun, kaya sila sumali sabi ng isa niyang friend).

“Sir, sama ka sa amin. Coffee tayo sa Klatsch!” – sambit ni Cassie (isa sa mga matatalik na kaibigan ni Maria).

Gusto ko syempre kaso nahihiya naman ako kasi, ilan lang sa kanila ang kakilala ko at hindi naman sure kung kasama si Maria, kaya tinext ko eto kahit na kaharap ko na siya.

“Sama ka sa Kaffe Klutsch?” (message sent)

“Opo, sama daw kayo sabi ni Cassie…” (reply nya)

“Okay lang ba?” (message sent – nananalangin na sana positibo ang reply). Wala siyang reply.

“Sir, sama ka na!” May nagsalita. Sino? Syempre, si Maria! Kinilig ako at siya na mismo ang nagsabi. Hindi na ako tumanggi pa.

Lumipas ang ilan pang mga araw. Matatapos na ang 2nd semester ng school year na iyon. Ilang gabi na rin akong balisa dahil habang tumatagal, para pahirap ng pahirapa ng sitwasyon ko. Namomroblema kasi ako kung paano ko ihahayag kay Maria na gusto ko siya. Sulatan ko kaya siya ng Love Letter? (Baka naman makornihan siya). O, sa text kaya? (Uhm, parang mejo rude ata yun). O personal na lang (hindi naman kaya ako himatayin sa kaba).

Napagpasyahan ko na ang huli ang aking gagawin. Pero – Kelan? Saan? Paano? At mas marami pang tanong ang isa-isang pumasok sa aking isipan.

Kung Okay Lang Sa’yo

March 20, 2004. Last day ng pasukan. Final exams nila sa akin. May ihinandang party ang mga estudyante ko kinagabihan. Pero bago pa ito (medyo fastforward ako ng konti), nasabi ko na kay Maria (sa pamamagitan ng text) na may imumungkahi ako sa kanya. Niyaya ko siya na kami ay mag-usap.

4:30 ng hapon. Starbucks sa John Hay. Dito namin napagpasyahang mag-usap. Kabadong kabado ako ng mga oras na iyon. Hindi ko kasi alam kung saan hahantong ang pag-uusap namin. May halong hiya, takot, kaba at excitement. Si Maria naman eh parang balisa. Kumain muna kami, hanggang dumating sa punto na –

“Ano yung gusto mong sabihin?” – Tanong ni Maria

Hindi ako nakasagot agad sa tanong niya. Lahat ng mga minemorize at prinactice ko noong isang gabi ay unti-unting naglaho. Mabilis akong nag-isip. May mga gusto na akong sambitin pero parang itinali ang dila ko.

“Ano kako yung gusto mong sabihin?” – Tanong ulit ni Maria.

“Ah, eh…” (unti-unit na akong pinagpapawisan).

“Huwag ka sanang magagalit ha, pero matagal na kitang gusto. Hindi ko alam kung dapat ko bang tanungin eto, pero… Pwede ba kitang ligawan?” (nanlalamig na ako sa mga oras na iyon. Hindi ko mawari kung tama ba na itinanung ko iyon sa kanya. Nagiinit na rin ang mga tenga ko, parang anytime eh sasabog na).

Napabuntong hininga si Maria. Ako man ay napabuntong-hininga din.

“Nakakagulat ka naman ssssii.. (gusto niya atang sambitin pa ang salitang sir, pero di niya ito itinuloy). Natutuwa ako sa iyo pero, uhm… Pero wala pa po sa isip ko ang mga sinabi mo. Sobrang strikto ng daddy ko… Wala akong maipapangako sa’yo pero.. ikaw, kung makakapaghintay ka ba…”

Naisip ko, basted na malupit ba ang tawag dito?! Hindi pa rin ako maka-imik. Paulit-ulit na umaalingawngaw sa pandinig ko ang mga kasasambit niyang mga kataga.

“Uy, baka naman hindi mo na ako pansinin niyan…” Sabay tapik ni Maria sa aking kanang balikat.

“Kahit gaano katagal akong manligaw, okay lang sa akin. Hindi naman ako nagmamadali eh…” – iyon naman ang aking nasabi habang nakatitig sa kanyang mga mata.

“Tsaka, bakit naman hindi kita papansinin?” (sabay subo sa kinakain ko).

“Eh malay ko ba kung kagaya ka ng ibang lalaki jan…” – pangiti nitong sagot. Sabay sabi pa ng —

“Naku! Mag-aalas-sais na pala. Baka hinihintay na tayo ng mga classmates ko.” – sabay tingin sa relos niyang suot.

Umalis kami ng Starbucks para tumungo sa class party nila. Napagkasunduhan namin na walang lalabas sa naging paguusap namin.

Kinagabihan, bago ako matulog, muling naglaro sa isip ko ang naging usapan namin ni Maria. Natanong ko ang sarili – “Naging kuntento ba ako sa sagot niya sa tanong ko o may inasahan ba akong ibang sagot?”

Aminado ako – medyo nalungkot ako pero naisip ko din, at least hindi naman talaga ako basted. Kumbaga, may pag-asa pa.

Getting to Know Each Other

May 3-weeks na break from school. At sa mga panahon na iyon, naging madalas ang pagtetextan namin ni Maria. Nagsimula ang summer classes, pareho kaming estudyante noon kasi imbes na magturo, nag-enrol ako para sa Masterals ko. Halos araw-araw ay nakikisabay ako kay Maria sa pag-uwi niya kahit pa sa SLU Men’s Dorm lang ako nakatira. Napapadalas din ang pagbisita ko sa kanya sa kanilang boarding haws. Hindi namin ito pinapahalata sa mga kaklase niya. Ang mga nakakaalam lang na nanliligaw ako sa kanya eh yung mga malapit niyang friends na sina Cassie, She at Jeoms; at syempre yung 2 kabahay niya na sina Jem at Sheryl.

Naaalala ko pa yung mga moments na gusto naming magsine o kumain sa labas, kinakailangan pa na lagi kaming “in-group”. Baka kasi may makahalata yung iba niyang classmates. Salamat kina Cassie, mas nagiging madali para sa amin kasi sinasamahan nila kami.

Matatapos na ang summer classes. Naging mas panatag na ang loob namin ni Maria sa isa’t isa. Naisip ko isang gabi – “Sasagutin na kaya niya ako kung tatanungin ko siya kung pwede bang kami na?”

Pero naisip ko din yung sinabi niya sa akin noon sa Starbucks na wala pa iyon sa kanyang pagiisip. Sabagay, nabanggit ko din naman sa kanya na, kayang ko namang maghintay.

Love Moves in Mysterious Ways

May 22, 2004. Last day ng summer classes. 7pm. Boarding House nila Maria sa Aurora Hill. Naka-black and white na stripes blouse si Maria. Naka-gray na jacket ako, black and white din na shirt at blue cap. Nag-take out kami ng dinner. Matapos magdinner, kwentuhan tungkol sa school. Sumagi ulit sa isip ko yung ideya na tanungin siya kung pwede bang kami na. Pero paano? (Kantahin ko kaya ang “Say That You Love Me” ni Martin Nievera? O kaya, magjoke ng –

Rodrigo: Maria, gusto ko T-shirt na lang ako.

Na sasagutin niya ng –

Maria: Bakit naman?

Rodrigo: Para naman itry mo kung bagay ba ako sayo…

Pero, yaiks!!! Ang corny ko pag ganun. Baka bigla pa niya akong palayasin.

Alas-diyes na ng gabi. Malapit na akong umuwi. 10:30 kasi curfew sa Men’s Dorm. Nakikinig kami ng radyo nun, K-Lite. Biglang tinugtog ang “Love Moves in Mysterious Ways” ni Nina, ng biglang magsalita si Maria…

“May gusto ka bang sabihin o tanungin sa akin?”

Nagulat ako. Gaya ng scenario sa Starbucks 2 buwan na ang nakakalipas, napipipi na naman ako.

“ Ha? Ano naman ang sasabihin o tatanungin ko sayo?” – pangiti kong sagot.

Ilang sandali pa ay nagsalita muli si Maria – “Tayo na!”

Para ata akong nabingi sa 2 salitang binitawan niya. Halong pagkagulat at saya yung naramdaman ko. Parang hindi ako makahinga, ambilis ng pintig ng puso ko. Niyakap ko siya ng mahigpit na mahigpit. Sabay tanong ulit –

“TOTOO??? Hindi ka ba nagbibiro?”

“Oo nga…” – buong galak niyang sinabi.

Sana ay nakita ko ang itsura ko matapos marinig ang sinabi niya. Wala na akong maalala sa naging reaksyon ko nang oras na iyon. Ilang minuto pa, kinailangan ko ng umuwi. Isang ngiti ang permanenteng tumatak sa mukha ko habang pauwi ng Men’s Dorm… Habang naglalakad, hindi ko napigilan ang sarili kong sumigaw —

“Woooooohoooooooooo! Kami na…sa wakas, kami na…” (Sabay talon, ngiti, at kampay ng kamay).

Mula noon, ang ngiting dinulot ni Maria sa aking mukha, ay hindi na umalis pa at sa tingin ko hindi na mabubura magpa-kailan pa man…mula sa simbahan hanggang sa aming magiging tahanan.

“Falling in love happens by chance not by choice.

Staying in love happens by choice not by chance.”

Nagmamahal,

Rodrigo

8 Years

Long after I have given up, my heart still searches for you without my permission…

Exactly 8 years ago this day, August 22, I died. It was that day when she left me without saying anything except the words “Let me go. You deserve someone better…” through a text message. Seven words that ended up our almost 7-year relationship.

She was my world. She was my everything. I want to believe I gave her my heart and soul. But this day 8 years ago, she decided not to be a part of my world any longer… And from that time on I have been alive but dead inside. I have been alive but dead inside for 8 years.

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EIGHT years is a long time. I felt bad because that breakup up 8 years ago has created a space in my soul which needs a packing at the most basic. All these time, I tried various ways to forget her. But I guess, some love never dies. Maybe, the extent just gets abridged with time. But even so, 8 years seem to not have managed to revive my heart. Maybe another 8 years?

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But then again, 8 years are still too less if I equate it to the number of years I may still have to spend. I am not promising anything but I hope that someday, my heart would feel alive once again… no matter how long it will take for that time to come.

It takes a strong heart to love, but it takes a stronger heart to continue to love after it’s been hurt.

Filipi-Know: Pinoy Words I Love.

Words are exceptionally the most commanding force presented to people. The use of such is something we do every single day whenever we talk to people, and even to ourselves. We either have the freedom to utilize this power beneficially through words of inspiration, or damagingly using words of desolation.

Words have authority. It can either make or break a person. It has the ability to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to harass, to humiliate and to humble a human being.

So I am sharing some Filipino words I love to here, and say. Which one is your favorite? Can you use them in a sentence? Take it away.

pizapgigilmarilaglambingsulit

Take it easy everyJuan.

Random Thoughts about Life & Love

So here is to veering away from my usual posts. Admittedly, I do not feel inspired to make an entry here in my WordPress account the past weeks. So many travel backlogs that need to be shared but it seems that my laziness is hitting me to the core. Every night though, I find myself clouded with so many racing thoughts. So I am giving in to these random things that has kept me quite jittery for some time now. And yeah, this entry is in Taglish. So bare with me.

Kit McCallumonce once shared,

“How often we must bear the challenges of living and loving?
The endless roller coaster between happiness and sorrow;
The constant ups and downs of daily strife.
And always the question remains …. why?”

Perplexity
How often do we ask the question “Where do I go from here?” If life is a series of challenges and lessons, then only by reflecting on our past triumphs and mistakes, can we wisely choose the next path that we will ultimately embrace.

I have always wanted to write something to address such question but then I always find myself feeling dumpy doing it. There are things kasi na parang mahirap isulat. Sigurado ako, marami sa atin ang dumating na sa puntong nahihirapan ng magdesisyon sa ilang mga bagay… leaving us wondering on how to deal with delicate things. Iyun bang tipong nag-aalala tayo about choosing the slighter of 2 tribulations (or iyong mas maganda sa dalawang positibong bagay). Most often than not eh, it’s a choice between doing the decently right thing (or giving in to a new judgment) at kung anu-ano pang mga bagay (ie let go of something you think is hurting us, or get hurt and hold on because you love that person). These, perhaps, are very rigid actions lalo na sa isang kultura kung saan lahat ata ng bagay eh personal.

I was in a state of hurly-burly for the past few days. Baffled. Depressed. Anxious. Devastated. Napaka-indescribable yung feeling, un lang – it was in a badlight. I was in a dilemma.

Should I stay? Or was it time to leave?
Kailangan ko pa bang maghintay pa o tama na kasi nakakapagod na rin?
It’s a battle between holding on and letting go.

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Boomerang
As with most things in life, just when we think we had something going smoothly, life throws us a boomerang; causing our relationship with someone hard hit; something none of us was at fault with, but nonetheless, leaves a stubborn scar. I had a misunderstanding with a good friend the past days. My friend was more resilient, offering to piece things back. But my survival instinct got the better off me. And so I walked away. Ma-pride ako, kaya hanggang ngayon, hindi ko pa rin kinakausap. I still am doing the silent treatment. Sigh.

Next topic: Na-miss kong magsulat ng tungkol sa love.

I could not even remember when was the last time I wrote something about love. Yung classic na entry tungkol sa pag-ibig ha. Sa totoo lang, magmula ng ma-broken-hearted ako 7 years, 6 months, 1 day, 23 hours and 55 minutes (as of this time I’m typing this) ago, eh hirap na ako gumawa ng mga tungkol sa love. Hirap man, I still try my best to extract some creative juices. So, if there are things I have learned from my past relationship, eto ang mga ilan sa mga yun.

Battleground
Love is a battleground. Nabanggit eto ng isa sa mga characters sa series na Chuck. I texted this line to my friends. Surprisingly, one friend of mine naively texted back and said – “So if you know that you have all the weapons, don’t get yourself defeated…” (na may kasama tawa sa text).

Her candid remark made me think. OO nga naman. Why would I just walk away and concede, eh marami pa namang paraan jan na hindi ko pa ginagawa; marami paakong weapons na hindi ko nagagamit. It has dawned in me na, may mga bagay nga siguro na hindi nagtatagal… But it is always our choice if we won’t make them last. Na hindi naman talaga sila mawawala if we didn’t choose to let them go. Na hindi naman sila aalis if only we kept our hands gripped together. (Kaso umalis at iniwan pa rin ako…)

In a Nutshell
Relationships come and go like people on a rotating door. Gaya ng mga gamot, its shelf life is finite, although it doesn’t necessarily have to mean short. When it’s time comes, it usually means it’s also time to move on. Moving on does not necessarily mean you have given up. Sabi nga sa kantang One Hello, “endings are beginnings”. Yeah right, there are more magnificent lives to be encountered, more people to meet who are just around the bend.

A magical relationship does not happen everyday. Every once in a while, it needs to loosen too. But at the end of the day, it will always be our option to let that magic stay. Haaaaaaaay, kelan nga kaya ulit darating yang magic na yan?

Love is not an easy road for most;
It twists and turns with many forks in the road,
Although always, and inevitably, we are given a choice …

Do we turn to the right … or the left?
Do we take the high road … or the low road?
Do we take the easy path … or the difficult one?

It’s your choice. It’s our choice. As the Karate Kid’s master says – “Life will knock us down, but it is our choice to get up back.” The warning though, is to catch yourself when it gets too easy.

Lester out. Take it easy everyone.
Lester out.

Hurts & Broken Hearts

Most of you might be surprised to see yet another entry that deviates from my usual posts. Let’s just say, I am trying to share a little more of myself. So here’s something I wrote some 9 years ago.

Loving, getting hurt, and loving again and getting hurt again may sound over-used as a blog topic and it may sound cheesy. But on second thought, it doesnt matter since its always relatable.

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We are all human. Even superheroes have there human side. No matter what our economic background, cultural standings and our chosen profession is — we all bleed the same color if we are cut. But more than that, we are prone to heart break and old battle scars from old relationships that somehow went wrong.

Relationship failures, if we knew why they went wrong or not, we still ask ourselves with “Why? What did I do wrong?” And this could be one sided or on both sides of the relationship.

Some affairs are made in heaven. And there are certain relationships that are simply not meant to be. They are doomed from the very beginning. Then there are those that start off as a storybook romance, and then they sour over time.

After being in a string of bad relationships, we start to wonder if we are defeated… defective… useless… It becomes hard to open our heart again to anyone and to trust someone again. Even if it involves trusting yourself to let go to love again.

BUT, if we don’t let go — how are we going to get over the heartbreak and turn it into another battle scar? Too bad they don’t award the purple heart of valor and bravery for surviving undesirably painful relationships.

“The only way to forget is to accept, and the only way to move on is to look ahead. And let the footprints of the past, be blown away by the wind of time. Only then can our hearts find a partner in the dance of life.” — This is one of my all-time favorite lines from Joe D’Mango.

BUT, again, we have to take baby steps in learning how to let go of the past and how to trust again, even with all the wounds and scars and broken hearts.For if we don’t, our heart would not heal enough to give ourselves another chance at the crazy roller coaster called love.

Perhaps, one difficult situation one could possibly be into is when two broken-hearted individuals collide. I wonder if together, it would help them heal each other. Sounds weird, but it could be something that could happen. Its about taking chances, its about taking risks, its full of uncertainty… but who knows… a sweet love story is on the brew.

I wrote (and first posted) this blog at my Multiply account on October 24, 2008. It was inspired by my bonding with some friends who have shared their love stories with me – most of which were tales of being broken-hearted. During those times, I was in a seemingly perfect relationship and so hearing their stories made me realize how fortunate I was with the person I have. Some 9 years after I wrote this one, it made me reminisce my personal “hurt and brokenness” experience 7 years ago. So I guess we all have our fair share of injustices when it comes to love. Nevertheless, I am still on high hopes that someday, I will meet that someone who will make me believe in love again.

***Photos used are 9 years old as well 🙂

If it is meant to be, our hearts will find each other when we meet. And if our hearts melt together so will our bodies and souls. Then every word and every touch will fuel our passion flame. I will be yours, you will be mine, and we will be one.

Romblon, PH

It’s a pretty lazy Sunday. So I opted to go through my Facebook photos and saw this Romblon album. It brought back memories of my stolen hard drive where all of my 2005 to 2013 HD travel photos were stored. Twas one of the most heartbreaking things that happened to me.

So I am reposting here the photos from my Hambil Island, Romblon in June of 2013. The photos were just downloaded from my FB so quality may not be very good.

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San Jose is a fifth-class municipality in the province of Romblon, Philippines. It is more commonly known as Carabao Island, or Hambil Island, and is located the southern tip of Tablas Island. It is in close proximity to the world-renowned Boracay Island, separated by a narrow body of water called Hambil Channel.

In June of 2013, during a trip to Boracay, I came to see what this Romblon paradise has to offer. I stayed 2 days and 1 night in this island and I must say that it is a more serene counterpart of its neighbor, and understated in terms of its natural beauty.

Once you are in the island, you can hire a habal-habal/ motorcycle for about P300-P500 per day. You can go visit notable spots like Lanas Beach (where sunset is amazing), be brave and do cliff diving at Kuding-Kuding and Angas Cliff (with a P100 entrance fee) or just stay at Hambil Beach which can rival Boracay’s white sand beaches (plus a spectacular sunrise view). You could also rent a boat that could bring you around the island and check some hidden caves and coves.  The over-all ambiance of Hambil is pretty laid-back… Really a great way to commune with nature.

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How to Reach Hambil:

From Caticlan Port: One may charter a tricycle to take you to Tabon Baybay, it is where you can find the port of boats going to Hambil (San Jose). A passenger boat leaves for Poblacion or Lanas, daily between 8AM to 9AM. So make sure you don not miss it. The travel time is around 1 hour (depending on the waves (which by the way can be really scary. The fare is P80-P100 per passenger. The trip back to Caticlan is between 5AM to 6AM. It is pretty early so you have to be early as well so you won’t be left behind.

Another option is from Boracay. In here, one may charter a boat good for 10 people for aboutP3,000 to P4,000 round trip day tour. Make sure to practice your acting and haggling skill. The travel time is about 45 minutes to an hour. Again depending on the sea condition. The boat will either dock at Brgy Lanas or at the Port of Said in Brgy Poblacion on the eastern side where Hambil beach is.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be Juanderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Memories of Anawangin Cove: Zambales, PH

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.

– Dr. Seuss

This is a flashback post. It’s been 12 years and 7 months since the first time I have set foot in Anawangin. And today, I went on to visit memory lane and put into writing the memories of this trip with a group of friends.

It was January of 2005. Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City. For most of us living in the City of Pines, this means getting out of Baguio so as not to feel the congestion of the city. You see, people would usually flock their way to witness the annual flower festival. My friends and I decided to spend a 3-day getaway in Anawangin Cove. During this time, Anawangin was barely known as a beach destination. I have heard of it from my mountaineering friends who did an exploratory climb at this side of Zambales.

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So, 5 days before the Panagbenga, I did the planning for this getaway. Actually, the first plan was to saunter Mount Pinatubo. But then, I was more enticed to go on a beach escapade. So with limited time, I disseminated our itinerary hoping more of our friends will come join us on this trip. Luckily, 10 friends decided to come along even if most of them didn’t really have much of an idea on what to see in Anawangin. I remember myself assuring them that the place is something they’ll like just to make sure no one would back out on the last minute. Here goes our itinerary:

Day 1 – Baguio to Zambales: Mount Pundaquit Trek

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There are no direct trips to San Antonio, Zambales from Baguio. Since we have a friend from Pampanga who is joining us, we agreed that we would meet there. So we took a bus that passes by Mabalacat (Victory Liner), from there, Gladys (together with her cousin) fetched and all together we went to Angeles to take a bus that is bound for Iba, Zambales’ capital. It was a pretty long (and tiresome trip). All in all, it took us around 9 hours to reach San Antonio town proper.

Upon arrival, we decided to buy some fresh produce in the market since there are no stores or restaurants in Anawangin. After which, we took a tricycle to reach Brgy. Pundaquit – the jump off to Anawangin. Good thing I have a prior contact with a guide, Manong Alfring a local. We were asked as to how we would like to reach Anawangin. You see, there are two possible options. One is to trek Mount Pundaquit, and the other one is to ride a boat. Of course, the boat ride was the faster means however, we opted to do the climb. Some of our stuff was taken by Manong Alfring and his companions, who are taking the boat. So they will just wait for us at the beach camp.

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And so we went on with the hike. Our guide told us it was a pretty easy climb. Having climbed Pulag before this trip, I have to agree with what the guide claimed. However, as the sun goes up, the weather became warmer that eventually made almost everyone tired. It was a mistake on our end when we didn’t bring much water. The heat was sweltering and our water supply was rapidly dwindling keeping our pace slower. We had to motivate ourselves and patience became the key for us to reach our campsite.

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After 3 hours or so, we reached the peak and its breathtaking view made up for that very weary feeling we were all experiencing. It was a 360 degrees view and Anawangin Cove was already visible from where we were. The sea view further motivated the group not to give up. Two more hours and we finally reached Anawangin with the pine trees seemingly welcoming us. A few more minutes, and we were treated with a spectacular sun down. It was lovely. It made all the weary feeling melt down.

We did set up our tents (yes, there were no resorts/ cottages before in Anawangin), and cooked our dinner with the help of our guide. We had a simple dinner by the shore while sharing stories under the full moon. Recalling that night, it was so serene and really relaxing

Day 2: Anawangin Cove Explored

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Some of us woke up early, the others stayed a little longer inside their tents as they were still feeling fatigued from the other day’s trek. I went to stroll along the beach while taking some photos. Waking up to the sound of the waves and the smell of saline water was energy revitalizing! It is such a picturesque place. Looking back, Anawangin’s picture perfect backdrop contributed to my being a photography enthusiast. We actually spent almost the entire day wandering around. The waters of Anawangin was crystal clear and really refreshing so we had a great deal of time swimming or just wading in water. We also went up a hill where we had a jaw-dropping view of the cove and the mountains. The mini pine tree forest at the foot of the mountain is unbelievably photogenic. There is even an estuary that leads to the sea. And at the end of that day, we again waited for the sunset. It was yet another spectacular sundown.

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Day 3: Capones Island

Everyone had to wake up early on Day 3 because it was time to leave Anawangin. However, before going back to mainland Pundaquit, we went on for a side trip to a nearby island called Capones. There are actually two islands near the cove, however, we have to stick to our itinerary since we still have to go back to Baguio. It was a 30-minute boat ride amidst huge waves… From afar, the island looks like a shoe. The island’s main attraction is an old lighthouse. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open when we got there so we ended up taking photos along the shore amidst huge, exquisite rocks. I had an unforgettable experience here since I had a bit of an accident. I didn’t anticipate that some of the rocks were slippery that caused me to slip off and have some bruises. Nonetheless, the happy experience overshadowed this minor incident.

Before going back to Baguio, Gladys invited us at their home in San Fernando, Pampanga for a food treat and for us to freshen up ourselves. It was yet another long and tiresome bus ride. But who cares, we just had an awesome and adventure-filled trip! I told myself I’d be back in Anawangin. (And guess what, after 5 years since that first trip to Anawangin, I was able to visit it again. Plus, I was able to visit also another cove – Nagsasa and the other island near Capones, Camara). Yay! Cheers to more travels!

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*Thank you to Kuya Jerry for sharing some of his photographs to us.

Also, you might want to check my write up about other visit-worthy coves here in the Philippines.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Of Rain & Of Tears

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.” — William Shakespeare

So today, I decided to post something different from my usual musings (triggered perhaps by the moody weather the past days). It was yet another rainy afternoon. It’s raining as far as I can see. It’s coming down unbreakable now.

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It is amusing how the rain is reminiscent of the times I wanted to cry. In some way, as we mature into adulthood, we stop thinking about the hush-hush of crying. We were taught that crying is for babies and that it is imperative to keep our sentiments inside. I was told that boys don’t cry. So, instead of learning to let go of my hurts through crying, I have mastered to numb it through self-anguish and unvoiced misery for several years now.

This is what I have done astray as a grown-up. I am too troubled to cry, and even when I am at the edge of breaking down, and actually shed some tears, I am over-shadowed with unease. I can’t seem to cry. But the downpours takes me back that one of the most prevailing coping skills has been stolen from me.

 

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It is okay to cry…

I have been a lot of painful experiences and many times too, did I attempt to cry it out… But the thought of it as a sign of weakness surmounts the thought that I am hurting.

I have to admit it. It doesn’t feel good… It does not feel good at all…

I gaze out of our window, the rain stopped. The clouds seem to have brought an end to its resentment… But suddenly smoke gets in my eyes, and I started to cry. I lost bottling up my emotions. And it started to feel a little better.

Lester out…