Monday, February 2, 2009

Wondering While Wandering

After being stranded in Itbayat, I decided to postpone my trip to Sabtang until the later part of this expedition. So instead of taking another falowa ride, I’ve been walking around Basco and its nearby towns these past few days. Last Tuesday I walked for hours until my calves ached. I was even pleasantly surprised when my good old hideously deformed and calloused farmer’s feet still developed blisters despite the impenetrable carapace they have developed. (Reminder to myself: The next time I get a surplus paycheck, I would have to lavish these unsightly but unfailing appendages with first-rate walking footwear.)

Perhaps it was providential that the earphones of my iPod finally gave up after two years of faithful service during this trip. I was devastated when it did - I lost the only boyfriend I ever had. But I was also compelled to enjoy silence more, to listen to what the wind and the waves are saying, or to simply enjoy the sounds they make. I also lost my cheap but trusty sunglasses. I mourned for this loss since I was never without them during my Philippine journeys from southernmost Mati in Davao Oriental to the northernmost Itbayat. They have concealed my fear, masked my affections, veiled my wonder. But with this loss, I am obliged to look at the sky and see its colors just the way they really are.

Walking has a way of clearing the mind. I learned a lot of things during my walks. I’d like to illustrate them using some pictures.

A late afternoon scene from Tukon Hills. Batanes is hilly and walking across these hills can be grueling. But I figured: If you’re having a hard time going up the trail, be assured that the walk down would be a lot easier.

Mahatao View Deck. The view up there may be spectacular. But there’s a different view below, and it can be just as astonishing as the view on top, or even better.

Signs like these abound in the winding roads between Basco and Ivana. Blow your horns, people, especially if the road is narrow and winding. Sometimes, you just have to say it!

Inscribed in a glass from a carinderia during one of my frequent stops. Sometimes, we ask God for signs. He sends us a written directive in response. No admonition can be more vivid, coming at such a perfect timing that perhaps even the poet can forgive his wrongly spelled name.

The abandoned old port in Ivana, also known as Radiwan Point, with the island of Sabtang looming ahead. Some things, when ruined, become more beautiful, the way broken people can become even more beautiful too...

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