Like other dutiful students of literature, I am good at Loneliness Exacerbation 101. It was with my romantic images of heroic love endured by Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf that I spent the weekend before Valentine’s Day in Panglao Island: that idyllic, sun-kissed coast off the province of Bohol that is said to resemble Paradise. But, what do you know, I’m still alive.
Determined to shut off the run-up to Valentine’s Day, I booked a reservation with a tour operator specializing in group travel. We were 11 in the group but I felt alone. We rarely knew one another and we would tour Bohol for the next three days. This post would be it, not as a remembrance (god help me if I had to read this again) but as an outlet.
Turned out, our Bohol trip didn’t remind me of the Lord of the Flies and we are now new friends. I didn’t bring any phone and camera to the trip in Bohol so I would not be reminded of where I came from and not have concrete proof of that weekend.
First day was a little uneasy. Here were 11 persons who didn’t know one another. Fortunately we had a curious resort in Bohol called the Paragayo. The rooms were made of local materials, Modern Native Inspired as the resort website said the Paragayo Resort was. After lunch, we headed to Alona Beach on foot, feeling the sand on my bare feet (and also the sun-kissed, yielding sand, lolz, I shouldn’t have done that).
In the early morning of the next day we went to church, saw the Loboc River and had lunch on a boat. The experience of having great food and great conversation while the verdant riverbanks of Bohol slid along was way too cool. Then the island adventures began.
We hopped from one island to another, kayaked from one island to another, and I had this moment with the manong boatman (lolz the ridicule was not mine alone as Jane, one of the “lone ranger” in the Bohol trip with me, joined along in making pa-cute with the manong). The Bohol trip was not as depressing as I thought it would be. As Jane exclaimed, rather without shame, “TRIUMPH!”
Going to a beautiful place (read: beach) that is likely to be populated by beautiful people (read: happy couples on the beach) is like rubbing salt on wound. But no matter what romantic slump I may have right now that is not what I am looking for. I just want to take a breather and think things over. No, not even think things over, just a breather, some amount of time in a different place with different people.
These days, I’m done with asking the “why” and am now looking forward to answer the “where.” You know what I mean? One can consider what happened to him/her from every angle, but after some time he/she just has to stop asking and move on. I know that sounds cliché but I doubt if that makes it any less true.