Mixed Dorm, Mixed Feelings

It felt like doomsday the moment I opened the door of my dorm room.

It was a 10-bed room that’s cramped- luggages and backpacks lined the sides of the bunk beds.  A scent, which was unmistakably masculine, wafted in the air.  The first thing I saw when my eyes rested on the bunk bed that was in front of me- a pair of socks left hanging on the ladder.

I screamed.  But only in my imagination, of course.  This was not the time to act like a drama queen. After all, I spent a lot of vacation leaves when I was 21 and 22 camping at islands.  Surely I could take this in.

Pulling myself together, I put on my best smile (although, for all I know the expression I wore bordered on grimacing).

Hey.” I said to a roommate as I closed the door.


Rewind: Matnog, the gateway of possibilities

Matnog, the edge of Luzon

// August 2009
On the edge of Luzon

Ayla, Ced, Herbert, Rex, Ver and I were at the brink of exhaustion when we finally arrived at Matnog. We came all the way from Legazpi Airport- a five-minute tricycle transfer to the terminal, two-hour van ride to Sorsogon City and another two-hour jeepney ride to where we were. We were dropped off at the port, and the gated pillar welcomed us with the words “You Are Now Leaving The Island of Luzon”.

Matnog is a jump-off point of Luzon to Visayas, through its Roll-on/Roll-off ferry terminal services.  A whole lot of possibilities became available. We could go to Northern Samar in Allen, then push all the way to Mindanao. But we don’t want to leave Luzon yet. Approaching a couple of boatmen, we asked the question we would definitely get an answer: “Saan po rito ang next Boracay?” (Where can we find the next Boracay here?)

In the next minute we were on our way to Subic Beach, a part of Calintaan Island. Halfway to our destination, a huge wave swept towards our boat. It caught me in mid-sentence.

Rewind: On reaching the highest point of Luzon… with a hangover

Mt. Pulag's summitUpon reaching the summit.  Taken by Brian Sahagun.

// March 2009
Drunk Climbing at Mt. Pulag

Battling piercing headache, limp body and slight altitude sickness, I managed to scale Mount Pulag’s summit.

My other companions, who were able to witness the sunrise at the summit, cheered jokingly when I arrived.  Jerks, I muttered under my breath.  The summit was enveloped with dwarf bamboo grass, giving it a hue of golden brown, especially that the sun was up.

I plopped lazily into the grass, put a hand on my forehead and closed my eyes. The wind blew softly.

Being 2,922 meters above sea level never felt that good.

How to persuade a beach person to climb a mountain

Climbing mountains has never appealed to me.  Sure, I’m somebody who gets into sports; I’m not afraid of heights either (okay, maybe just a little).  But the thought of ascending meters and meters of land leaves me exhausted.  Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I’ve always liked the beach- it doesn’t expect you to be physically fit whenever you come for a visit.

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Rewind: Scramble Crossing at Shibuya

Shibuya Scramble

// August 2010
Scramble Crossing at Shibuya

After the obligatory tourist photo at the Hachikō Exit, it was time to take part in Shibuya’s scramble crossing- where all pedestrians cross an intersection in every direction.   Clearly I did not have the wardrobe and props (see shorts and flipflops) to channel Scarlett Johansson in the film Lost in Translation.

While I prefer to be always on the move, this was the moment I secretly want to be in once awhile- to just stop in one corner and let time pass by.