It is April 17.
I never realize that the tickets for Catanduanes were filled up. I make the mistake of not buying them ahead of schedule. But my soul wants to go out somewhere. My body wants to go away. My mind is already tired of the hustle and bustle of the city, even if others say otherwise.
Even if a writer says that I “belong to Manila,” I want to go.
11 pm and it’s just the start of the queue for the “chance passengers” bound for Baler. The clock ticks.
At 1 am, I get to hop on the bus, lucky to get a window seat. Months ago, my someone is the one who’s sitting there, as we travel to another resort town.
Now, I’m all alone. As the bus exits the expressway, starting its climb up the mountain roads of the Sierra Madre, I close my eyes.
When I wake up, I reach the bustling town of Baler, rent a room near the market and start to roam around.
During these two days, I reflect on life. I finish a book called “The Dictator’s Handbook”, where the authors talk about the thesis of politicians being the same, regardless of time, type and place.
After reading the book, I sometime wondered whether I should be a politician myself.
The book also taught me that if you want maximum gain in this world, enter politics. You’ll never go wrong.
Most importantly, this book taught me that if you want to have a clean conscience and go to the next life with a better slate, politics is the last profession in the list.
The thing is that life may not be the way that you have planned it back in the day.
This is most especially true in my case, I guess. Well, after all, who would think that I would sit here in front of my laptop and being able to pursue many avenues?
I loved Baler’s spontaneity. Its great food, friendly locals and natural sights made me feel that I was actually free and young for once.
More than Quezon’s statue, Don(y)a Aurora’s hut, Sabang Beach or Dicasalarin Cove, the concept of Baler itself made me feel that I was actually alive.
You don’t have to worry too much about the other persons in the queue, for they are also busy ensuring that they don’t screw up everyone else’s experience.
Thus, I can say that I was genuinely happy that I went to Baler.
What is life?
Is life something to be controlled? Is life just a path that is already predetermined since birth?
Is life a series of choices that leads to an end, to a purpose?
Baler taught me to be comfortable in a place where I didn’t know anyone.
It taught me that life doesn’t need to be always about the grind or the chase.
It taught me that I can be myself and that I can be comfortable in my own skin.
It taught me that dreams can always be beautiful.
Most importantly, Baler taught me the importance of family and loved ones – and why we should always value and cherish them.
If I had the resources, maybe I would buy a house in Baler.
Or maybe not. It has been last destroyed by a huge tsunami in the 1700’s.
I’m now back. I just hope that I get the chance to go out again.