Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Rule of Proximity

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Here is the rule of proximity: You get to one place, and it becomes impossible, basically, not to start looking at whatever else is nearby. Climb to the top of one mountain, and you see the whole range. If you make it as far as Cambodia, what’s keeping you from Malaysia? From Malaysia, it’s just a little hop to Indonesia, and onward from there. For a while, the world for me was like a set of monkey bars. I swung from one place to the next, sometimes backward, sometimes forward, capitalizing on my own momentum, knowing that at some point my arms—or, more accurately, my quivering bank balance, accessed through foreign ATMs—would give out, and I’d fall to the ground.

~ Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett, A House in the Sky, 2013

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Climbing Mt. Buntis in Maragondon, Cavite

Thursday, May 29, 2014

All I wanted for my birthday was to climb a mountain, any mountain. It’s that feeling of total fulfillment from physical exertion that I’m after, not really the view from the peak or the scenery along the trail.  Indulging in uninterrupted stillness and unsullied air, pushing my body to do more than I could do, disconnecting from the rest of the world were the gifts that I wanted to give myself.

And so I did.


Monday, May 19, 2014

In the trail of yellow leaves of his autumn

Monday, May 19, 2014

 …but he learned to live with those and all the miseries of glory as he discovered in the course of his uncountable years that a lie is more comfortable than doubt, more useful than love, more lasting than truth, he had arrived without surprise at the ignominious fiction of commanding without power, of being exalted without glory and of being obeyed without authority when he became convinced in the trail of yellow leaves of his autumn that he had never been master of all his power, that he was condemned not to know life except in reverse, condemned to decipher the seams and straighten the threads of the woof and the warp of the tapestry of illusions of reality without suspecting even too late that the only livable life was one of show, the one we saw from this side which wasn’t his general sir, this poor people’s side with the trail of yellow leaves of our uncountable years of misfortune and our ungraspable instants of happiness…

~Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Autumn of the Patriarch, 1975

Thursday, May 15, 2014

On the Road to Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Our adventure started with a ten-hour bus ride from Manila to Banaue. Except for the extreme cold, the ride was pretty uneventful. My siblings and I fell asleep the moment the engine started and woke up to the voice of the conductor crying, “wake up! Wake up!” and the patter of the rain against the window panes. We were five minutes to the town proper of Banaue then.

The bus dropped us off at the tourist center where the officer was peddling day tours to Batad. All we wanted was a ride to the Batad Junction, the trailhead to the village, so we banded with a Filipino couple and several French travelers and rented a jeep that took us to the Junction. The narrow, gravel mountain road to Batad reminded me of Prithvi Highway, the one that we took from Pokhara to Kathmandu, with its landslides, blind curves, sheer drops, hairpin turns, and lack of guard rails.


From the Junction, we descended on foot for another hour and a half until we reached the village. The overcast skies gradually gave way to a blazing sun and we were greeted with this majestic sight:



Right then I realized why people go through so much trouble just to experience the Batad Rice Terraces up close in all its majestic detail.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Faint Whiff of Grandeur

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It must have looked magnificent then, I thought as I gazed at what once have been Diplomat Hotel, that imposing white building up Cabinet Hill. The deserted sanctuary--with its rooms empty of everything aside from some sporadic graffiti, the mold that has crept on its crumbling walls and ceiling, its leaking roof forming a puddle on the main lobby's floor--still has that faint whiff of grandeur that often lingers in the ruins of previously grand but are now deserted places.




Intrigued by the mystery that surrounds it, my sister and I visited Diplomat Hotel on our last trip to Baguio City. I did not sense anything odd while we were there, contrary to reports of sightings of ghosts and other paranormal activity. Like other desolate places, it looked sad to me, and not creepy as some people attest. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Back to My Routine

Monday, May 5, 2014

After a couple of weeks on the road, it feels good to go back to my old routine. Now I can catch up on sleep, exercise, and the TV shows that I missed; I can sort the photos I took and write about my travels; I can unpack and tackle the laundry; I can reorganize my life and build momentum for another trip ahead.
 
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