April 3, 2010
San Juan, Siquijor
San Juan, Siquijor
It’s the time of the year again. That one time of the year that we get to actually go out as one complete family; obviously, events like these come rarely. The usual summer vacation plan would include booked plane tickets and road trips to nowhere but I guess this year would be different. We’re staying in a land my dad fell deeply in love with – a land long forgotten that’s full of precious memories he almost failed to remember. Dad recently bought a vast area of land just up the mountain – it is something that lit up his spirit every time a thought of it comes up. I have not seen him so excited about something in such a long time. What might this land be? It is Siquijor.
We have been staying here for three days now and quite frankly, all I ever thought about was how hard it is to live a life in here. There’s barely any water, no reception, no internet, nowhere to buy midnight food (or good food at all), no transportation, no mattress that we could sleep in, no anything; thank heavens there’s electricity. The whole three days seemed to be more of a hassle than a real vacation; Dad just scolded me earlier today about how we don’t belong here – that we can’t adjust and live a life being poor; I felt a strong emotion of regret for bringing us along.
It is only tonight that I realized how much blessed I am to be able to experience all the things that I just did – or even the things that I am about to. Eight o`clock: there is no speck of light outside – the whole world just stopped. The whole world seems to be in a deep slumber when mom curiously peeked outside the house that we’re staying in. As she put one step outside the door, I saw her eyes lit up and her lips started to smile. She gazed in wonder as she saw the strong lights coming from the mountain from afar. Those lights were the only ones up there; our soon to be place of abode – our humble and cosy house.
My dad and I decided to go outside and walk on the very dark street to get a clearer view of what my mom just witnessed. To my surprise, I wasn’t paying attention to the lights at all – I saw the most beautiful sight I have ever seen in this lifetime: a sky bombarded with stars that seemed like different sizes of diamonds scattered and left there for the whole of humanity to see. I never saw such wonder in my soon to be twenty years of life – not even way back when I lived in Cavite as a kid (I still remember that moment in my life when I went with my yaya to buy something at a sari sari store and as we walked back home, I was just gazing at the stars while I held her hand to guide me through).
As I gazed up at the stars in bewilderment, it all sunk in to me – this place is beautiful in so many ways. I soon realized that the simplicity of life in here is way better than the hassle of living in the city when we are on a constant rush to get things done; we head out early, drive out only to experience long hours of being stuck in traffic, work our minds off trying to get work done, try to manage our personal lives, worry about what other people would think or say, all the other things that boggle our existence. I have one question to bring with you after read this: When was the last time you stopped and gazed outside just to see the sky?
There are so many things I have taken for granted in this trip. Not only the beauty of this majestic and mysterious island, but the love of a father and a mother who only want to bring pride and honour to the family name; parents that only desire a better future for their three children so that they would not experience the hardship they had to go through. I always remembered how dad would always tell my mom and I that he is doing everything not for himself, but for the whole family – he has only a few years left for his body to be able to climb up the steep mountain and it won’t matter until then; he just wants the family name to have something.
I never saw it that way – to me, this place would always be his legacy.
As I indulge in a deep slumber, I’m thankful that I found a piece of myself in Siquijor. Indeed, this island does wonders – wonders of the heart and spirit that no other things could ever replace.