A two-hour, bumpy ride through verdant mountains brought us from Kin-iway, Besao to Panabungen. Panabungen is a sitio of Brgy. Laylaya which is host to some of the Episcopal Diocese of the Philippines’ livelihood support programs. The Episcopal Church’s foundation has been spearheading programs that benefit residents in chosen areas of various provinces around the archipelago.
I’ve been lucky to have a friend (thanks Arianne! 🙂 ) who’s an active advocate of programs that are being implemented in the place. Today, they’re dynamically promoting the organic growing and cultivation of mango trees and hog-raising thru organic feeding and methods as well. I had the opportunity to meet several beneficiaries of these programs and witness the educational immersion of the foundation’s staff with the community members.
It was a very fulfilling experience. I had the pleasure of being with a jolly company and the opportunity of setting foot on another part of our province. This is when we say we become tourists in our own place. One of the secret wonders of our mountain ranges is that there’s always someplace new to set foot on. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, there sprawl thousands of rambling acres that are yet to be explored and enjoyed. I could brave hours and hours of a bumpy ride if it means looking at the endless lush and greens of our mountains.
I look forward to going back to the place and this time around, it’s to help pick the mangoes come summertime. (Arianne, *wink*)
It’s been a month. After making that fateful decision of starting a new life away from what I’ve grown accustomed to for more than two years (albeit not comfortably as I would have wanted to), I now find myself smelling like a dog, gaining more than a few unnecessary pounds, being a freeloader under Mama’s roof, and basking in the pressure-less lifestyle of the unemployed.
The ultimate resolution to come home was a choice that was spurred both by circumstances which I don’t have control over on and the personal resolve that I mulled over for countless sleepless nights. But I am not writing this to justify whether I made the better decision or not. I write this for the sole reason to emphasize that nothing will ever come close to the bliss and contentment of being home with your loved ones.
For the past weeks, I’ve occupied myself with spending time with the family. I’ve devoted myself to the idea of making the most of home as I realized how much I have missed the simple yet irreplaceable joys of family and being home.
Each day is met with luxuriating under the covers while the hairs of my ears prickle with the morning chill. Nothing says good morning better than the sound of roosters crowing and the familiar smell of Arabica coffee. The rest of the day is spent juggling hours among trekking, biking, walking the dogs, some house chores, making myself a bit useful in my sister’s shop (though I could only do so much), and struggling to steal internet connection that has drastically been evasive since I came back.
Life back in my hometown has never seemed so busy and exciting. Knowing how easily I tire from routine, I anticipate my butt to start itching probably when I reach the second month mark. But for some reason or reasons, I don’t fear the uncertainty. That of which has always plagued me to my wits’ end before. The uncertainty I’m expecting nowadays has never felt safer. Strange, but yes. I’m welcoming the ambiguity with open arms. This decision has obviously paved me a blank slate so I could start with anything—either it be the most expected next step or a completely unforeseen one. Whatever the next stride would be, I’m sure it’s going to be awesome.
The best thing about being back home is the feeling of security and safety. Being assured that your loved ones have your back, even physically this time, is just priceless. So yes, I’m not saying I’ve closed my doors to the possibilities of life outside my comfort zone. New is good. Change is good. Foreign is good. But not now. Till then, I’ll be very happy filling out my diary pages with how green the hills are, how crazy the dogs can get and how delicious ‘daing’ is especially when you eat it with your bare hands.