I woke up at half past 3 in the afternoon in Manila. I was refreshed and the pain in my eye that has been bugging me the past four days is now gone. We arrived in the capital 12 hours before, hit the welcoming pillows of the quaint Casa Bocobo Hotel at 4AM, visited a government agency for a scheduled appointment, had lunch at a Chinese restaurant, and went home to get some much-needed shut eye. I was glad it was still half past 3. That means we still have enough day light to cover at least one museum, the whole length of Rizal Park, and still be on time for an afternoon tea.
Since high school, I have always been known as the “girl from Siquijor.” Studying at the time when social media was still in its infancy, not many of my classmates have traveled to Siquijor and only knew of the place as scary or the island of mambabarangs (sorcerers). It used to offend me when people associate the island with black magic but I later realized that people make these kinds of judgment because they never had the opportunity to travel to the island and learn about the place. So, I started “educating” my classmates, my friends, and my acquaintances of the island by answering their questions and telling them stories.
Last Saturday, my husband and I attended Mandaue Foam‘s Boho-themed watercolor workshop with CraftCEB and Bored and Crafty’s Meream Pacayra. It’s been a long, long time since I last painted with watercolor (OK, the truth is, the last time I painted with watercolor was in kindergarten). What attracted me to the workshop were two things: (1) Meream and (2) the P500 registration fee. Meream of Bored and Crafty and Thimble Cap is, what I consider, my arts and crafts idol. Her Instagram account (@boredandcrafty) is filled with her daily projects, which, for an arts and crafts enthusiast like me, is inspiring.
It’s now past mid-March, only 13 more days to go before April 1. La Belle Aurore, a second-hand bookshop in Hernan Cortes, Mandaue, will be closing its doors to book lovers and literary patrons on March 31. They are having an ongoing sale with books priced as low as P10 and P30 and buy-one-take-one promos for books priced P50 and higher. I’ve only been to the Hernan Cortes branch twice and their now-closed Junquera branch once, so I have not created a lot of memories with the place. Nevertheless, because I knew the shop is closing and I might find treasures there, I took a last trip to shop and brought along someone who loves books more than I do — my grandmama. It was her birthday a few days after, so I gave that trip to the bookshop a birthday gift to her.
One weekend, my boyfriend and I dropped by The Henry Hotel to check out art at the QUBE Gallery. They were selling art pieces from Cebuano and Boholano artists, proceeds of which would go to the survivors of the Oct. 15 earthquake that hit Central Visayas, most especially Bohol. I was interested in Sio Montera piece above but it was sold already. There was also a floral canvass painting that interested me but it was already wrapped in plastic ready for the new owner. Beside the gallery, we found another cube, which made for good photographs.
Toledo is an economic hub — home to Atlas Mining, Carmen Mining, and now fertilizer plants. The neighboring towns also benefit from their city neighbor’s economic progress as industries expand north to Balamban and south to Pinamungajan. Toledo is also where my boyfriend’s maternal grandfather came from. One weekend in October, we went to Toledo to attend the burial of my boyfriend’s uncle. Because we had little time for sightseeing, I only made sure to at least do two things: (1) meet with my college classmate who brought us the original Balamban liempo, and (2) visit my “Toledo secret.”
One of our favorite places to visit when in Argao is Alex Kafe, a home cafe owned by the Kintanar family of Argao. Alex, from whom the cafe is named after, is already dead but the cafe still lived on.
Baguio is a very long ride from Manila. And a very long trip coming from Cebu City. But Baguio and the rest of Benguet have been in my thoughts and dreams ever since I was a child and happened to read short stories on the region. I was curious and was just very happy when a group of friends invited my boyfriend and I to go with them to Baguio. In order to cut out expenses we book our flights five months earlier than our time of travel and booked our hotels and accommodations two months before the time of travel. I have to admit that because the trip to Baguio was very long (about six hours aboard the deluxe Victory Liner bus), I slept during most of our DIY tour the day we arrived.
There are people who’d want to escape to a small island, far from everything and everyone. There are people who cherish soaking under the sun, and bathing and swimming all day. I am not one of those people. While I occasionally want to escape, the thought of being alone in an island scares me. When we went to Capitancillo, an islet and a light house off the city of Bogo in northern Cebu, I thought the line “No man is an island” is really true.
There is a certain kind of joy in traveling, especially traveling roads you’ve never traveled on before. A framed Robert Frost poem — The Road Not Taken — is a fixture in my grandmother’s house. Whether she mindlessly or intentionally placed that frame in her house, I don’t know. But one thing I do know — that poem has been my inspiration in the many things I do and the decisions I made in life. And I am pretty sure, that poem has also influenced the lives of my siblings and cousins.
Because I can’t get enough of the interiors and decor at Bunzie’s Cove, here are some more photos of the place — in reds, yellows, and oranges.