The People I Met in Siargao

I have been writing, rewriting, deleting, and leaving whatever I started for the past x days. It seems that I have no words to actually describe what I want to share. I was asked to share about my life in Siargao but I feel like it’s really nothing worth sharing. I didn’t have adventures nor toured around the island. I guess if I were to share what happened, it would be about the people I met.

I spent most of my time in Siargao either working or holed up in my room, to the point that the owner of the place I’m staying at got concerned that they only see me during meals, but then I’d disappear into my room again for three days straight. I have had bad episodes while I was in Siargao, where I had to force myself to do mundane daily tasks, which is why I’m almost always in bed sleeping or just laying around. If I didn’t make it clear enough, I broke up with my boyfriend of almost four years, along with some decisions I should or should have not done.

So, being the (ambivert) (forced) solo traveler that I am, I had to find ways how to socially charge, and I’ll introduce you to the people I met in Siargao. I may have given a background through my last entry, but I may or maybe giving more details here so I can introduce them properly.

Island boy reintroduced me to the hookup culture, something I knew back in the day (LOL), before I became in a relationship. My relationship with Island Boy was nothing but alcohol and sex. To the point where I had to go to a bar cause his ass was high and drunk and he booty texted me. My adventures with Island Boy was fun and crazy, nothing more. We barely talk, and I don’t think we really know each other. There are some quirks I noticed, Island Boy likes his eggs sunny side up with runny yolks, he mindlessly ‘claps’ his feet together before crawling in bed, I noticed him doing it quite a few times, he’s left handed, and he likes the perfect amount of cuddling, which isn’t too annoying, quite a good kisser too, I must say, he also like Adele’s Hello to put him to sleep. He snores heavily, and sometimes would talk in his sleep. I don’t regret being crazy with Island Boy, he taught me how to loosen up, and he’s the boy I wish I met when I was younger, who I made out in bars without care and who held me close when someone tries to flirt with me. He made me feel good when we’re together, but makes me feel like shit when we’re apart, the mind games, push and pulling was something I’m reminded of. And, like any fuckboys, Island Boy moves from one girl to another. And it’s not something I did or didn’t do, it’s just who he is.

Manong (I’d like to call him that, even tho I’m older than he is) was introduced to me by Island Boy. I didn’t truly mind him, he seemed nice. He’s the only one who didn’t tease me with Island Boy, and he’d say hi to me when he sees me. We bonded over bottles of beer talking about whatever, existential crisis included. I’ll be honest, I’m not all too sure if I lead Manong, but I don’t think so. I mean, I treated him as a friend, didn’t flirt with him or anything to my knowledge. I treated him as a really good friend, I enjoyed his company. One evening on a party, Manong became ‘touchy’, which I feel like is out of character. Somehow, I let him be. Maybe I enjoyed the attention. I feel a little betrayed as I started questioning his intentions, I feel like the ‘friendship’ was just to get in my pants. Manong was my wakeup call, I felt like my bad decisions were snowballing.

My wifey, is this lovely German lady who loves dancing. When she’s feeling bummed, she would dance the night away. She became my ‘wife’ as it was the easiest way for us to get rid of guys who just can’t take no for an answer. I remember telling someone, ‘Yeah, I’m sorry we’re married’. And that’s when the wife thing became a thing. She lives with her friend, and both ladies are lovely. Good listeners and have so much to say, too. They’d constantly remind me to not think about the problem, rather think about the solution. They kept me sane when shit hit the fan with Tinder Boy.

I want to talk about Tinder Boy but I don’t think I will, yet. We’re still kinda in each other’s lives and I’m uncertain with what we have, so until we get that shit together, I guess I’m not gonna talk about him fully, yet.

Of course, I met locals who are more than worth mentioning, people who’d annoy and tease me all the time. Would ask for cigarettes during parties. They’ve been nice to me (but would annoy the life out of me. CONSISTENTLY.) and my life in Siargao wouldn’t have been as interesting without them.

mari_fotor

 

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Dear mom,

It’s been crazy out here, I’ve been making choices you wouldn’t be particularly proud of. I went partying two nights in a row, I wasn’t drunk or anything, but I know my choices and actions aren’t something you would approve of.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned Island Boy, the boy who broke my heart – just kidding, he kinda stepped on my ego. But then I realized it’s really not me, it’s him, it’s not about what I did or didn’t do, it’s just who he is. Other than the shitshow we had, he’s taught me how to be carefree and just to enjoy life. Our short-lived non-existent relationship reminded me who I was before being in a long term relationship, it’s actually nice.
I also spent quite some time with this guy, he has a long hair and lots of tattoos. He’s been very nice to me, listening to me rambling on and on with my existential crisis. He made a move on me two nights ago, and for whatever reason, I let it happen. And I let it happen again the following evening. Ma, he’s not the kind of guy you’d want to see me with, but he’s a really kind person. I’m trying to avoid him cause I just don’t want to be sucked in the same drama I know how it will end.
I met up with a boy I met on Tinder. We had a couple of beers, and ended up going back at my place, he fixed my sliding door and we watched  a really good French movie. We didn’t do anything else, Ma. He’s genuinely a nice guy. He’s been visiting me at home, but is very respectful. He’s been making me laugh a lot, too. Ma, he’s really young, but I can say he’s more mature than I am. It’s easy to talk to him about the past and the present. He’s a really good listener and I’ve been learning a lot from him, too. Ahh, ma, he’s so beautiful. And I don’t mean just physically (but you should see him, ma, he’s very good looking), he has this beautiful soul you can’t help but be attracted to. He sees goodness in things.
I’m coming home to you Mom in a few days, and I feel like it’s really time to come home. I don’t know what’ll happen to me in Manila, maybe all of this is just a dream, and going back home is me waking up. I’m feeling uncertain if I grew from this experience, or if I learned anything more that what I already know.
I don’t know how much I’ll take home from all of this, if I get to keep the beautiful connections I made and that scares me. I don’t know, ma. What do I do?

Don’t let your Filipino mother stop you

… from emancipating. From living your life how YOU feel like you should live it. From traveling. Or even having a travel life. Okay, before I begin. Let me just explain first. I am not in anyway encouraging you to be rebellious towards your own mother or anything.

I’ll introduce you to my mother and I’ll explain my living set up so you have an idea how I live and why I’m saying this. People have been telling me how lucky I am that my parents are supportive, and I’m not gonna deny of that fact. I will say how truly blessed I am.

My mother, Elsie, was born in a strict family. Her mother, my grandmother, almost entered a convent, “escaped” (that story was told very vaguely to us), married young and became a housewife. A traditional Filipina housewife, back in the day when their role was to take care of the family and isn’t allowed to meddle in her husband’s business. Elsie, born in 1938 (please do the math), was the eldest of 12 (?) children. My mother would tell me stories as to when she’d be invited in the party, her father would have one of her sisters, ask her to go home after 30 minutes. Elsie grew up in a strict household.

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Elsie moved to Manila and was a working student in college. She had her fair share of suitors, being the beautiful that she was (and still is). My mother met my father when she was 30+. They were in a relationship for 3 months (this version varies, sometimes they’d say 5 months), and married after. She had five children, two of which were miscarriages. And I am the youngest and the only girl.

My mother raised me as if it was in the 1930’s. I wasn’t allowed to go out, my curfew was before the sun sets. As I grew older, my mother and I would fight – mostly she’d get mad at me, I never answer back. When I was 18, I stopped schooling and took a part time job in a call center, I worked in the mornings and I get off work at 1PM. If I am not home by 2 or 3PM, she’d send me an angry message asking where I was. Even at the age of 20, I am not allowed to sleep over elsewhere, I had a curfew of 10PM. If I get home later, I’ll never hear the end of it. I’d still be grounded at the age of 23. I’d push my limits sometimes. She’d allow me to travel, but I have to ask permission two weeks in advance, and a constant reminder to her a week until the day of my travel. She’d always say, “I can’t sleep well knowing that not all my children are home”, and yes, that includes my brother who’s 13 years older than I am and has his own family. I really believe that if my mom CAN keep us all under her roof, she WOULD.

Only a few months ago, she was so pissed off at me for wanting to go out at 8:30 in the evening. Yes, only a few months ago, I’m 26. I talked to my dad about it (crying and complaining) and he told my mom to stand down.

Over the years, I’ve learned that I truly had to gain her trust. She’d be less mad if I text her every hour or so, or if I actually ask permission (sometimes, this doesn’t really work). At some point, I had an opportunity to work far from home, she put some thought in to it, let me took the job, but at the last minute, she told me – using her loving, motherly tone not to take it.

Now, I still have to have a few days notice when I’m leaving Manila. And when I’m away, she’d text me everyday when I’m coming back. I have come in to terms that it’s who she is, and how she expresses her love to me. She’s not out to make my life miserable. She’s just concerned.

At the end of the day, I had to understand where my mom’s coming from. Why she’s always so strict with me. She’s worried, she doesn’t trust this world. She’s concerned for my future and she only wants the best for me and my life. But, I have to make her understand how I want to live my life. And with that, we met halfway. She lets me go out now. She lets me travel a few weeks at time. And every time I come home to her, I would tell her stories and I see how she appreciates them and I feel she’s happy when I’m happy. Any mother would be, any mother would. Your mother only wants your happiness, and when they see it, they’ll trust your decision.

Now, I know you’ll tell me. “You don’t know my mom, she won’t listen to me”, I’ll ask you, have you talked to her and have you listened to her side?

mari_fotor

 

Five weeks.

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Five weeks seemed like a short period of time, looking back, it actually flew by faster than I hoped. Two weeks turned three, three turned five. It wasn’t my plan to stay in Baler for five weeks. On my fourth week, I was contemplating if I should extend or if I should go back to Manila. I decided to leave, I said I wanted to miss Baler. I wanted to keep coming back for more. It’s only been a few days and I’m finding myself regretting that decision.

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Miserable Manila is back.

I don’t know whether it’s the air, or the traffic, or the hustle, or the people that’s making me miserable in Manila. I have not left the house ever since I got back last Monday evening, only because I don’t feel like going out. The thought of the crowdedness and all the vehicles and whatnot stresses me out. It’s only been a few days and I already can’t wait to leave.

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On the simple rural life.

When I got back, my dad and I were catching up and he remarked “Maybe that’s what you prefer, maybe you like the rural life”, and I do. I really do. I love going out on trips to different surf spots, going on picnics, being able to swim in the ocean whenever I want, walk to places, ride motorbikes, hangout on a friend’s house because they’re your neighbours, playing with kids. I mean, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies in the province, but I like how I don’t have to rush. I like how everything I need is accessible, and I don’t mean the luxuries within reach here in the city, but my necessities – like food to cook, water to drink, ocean to play on.

Indefinite plans for the future

I have this strong feeling of wanting to go back, but I feel like I would on the time (?). I’ve yet to plan it, but in my head, Baler is one of the places I would want to settle down in.

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How it’s like living with eight boys

The other day marked my second week here in Baler, this is the first time I’ve been away from home for that long. I’d usually only go on trips for a week at most. Since John left me here, the boys kept me company.

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I grew up with two (WAY) older brothers, so I know how things pan out when it comes to teasing, annoying each other and even playing rough house. But even that did not prepare me for this kind of living setup.

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I am now living with at least eight boys, age ranging from 21 to 11. I’m gonna say it now, it’s fucking crazy! From  stinky toilets and smelly farts, trash talks during pusoy dos, smacking the shit out of everyone (them, not me), swearing, rough houses and take downs and tickle wars. I have come in to terms that by the end of this trip, I could identify their farts. CRAZY.

Some days are crazier than others, some days with voice raised we all would piss each other off. Demanding wifi password, phone password, movie marathon on the laptop. Calling each other out for not taking a bath or brushing their teeth. Making the youngest cry, you know, from trash talks to actually physically hurting each other. 

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Thank you Kuya Nico for taking care of my underarm. LOL 

Some days are more mellow, like male cats who like straying away, these boys would go out on minutes, hours or even days at a time. They always go back here, tho. Which I’m extremely grateful for. They would watch out for me, making sure that I’m with someone or I’m okay in being alone.

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Above all that, they’re treating me well. They’d help me around the transient I’m staying in, cook food for me, do the dishes, give me motorcycle rides for errands. Some days I’d tidy up the room, but once in a while they would surprise me with a better or lazier way of tidying it up (depending on who did it).

The other day the transient we’re staying at had guests, some of the male guests were staring at me, which annoyed the hell out of Neil. I thought he was just being picked on, so I told him to just ignore it. When we got back, the guys flocked together stared at me at the same time, I snapped at them saying “hi” with a sarcastic tone (which didn’t help). Neil was on game face on. I’ve seen that look, I know how far he’ll go. But I’m very much thankful that he’s always looking out for me.

The past few days had been quiet, not everyone is ‘home’, which kinda makes me sad. But it’s okay, they live a stone’s throw away from me anyway.

mari_fotor