I fell for Fall

14958250_10211370026432263_482084234_o

©wrgomez

In this quiet coordinate of time and space, I can hear the distant rustles of an early Fall. That achingly beautiful slow death of summer when the sky almost mirrors the earth. The trees, all red and brown…putting the blossoms of spring to shame. Always, as September ends…a new spell begins. And like a music, the years behind danced in seasons…but not today. I will not beg for a winter…nor wait for another sun. I became the Autumn that September I had you. And like all celestials, you went your way. Like a comet, your Hello was a Goodbye. But I will always have you, like I will always have Fall. It is where I live the pain…it is where I will truly live. While my days remain and my nights appear, while I give the people I love all my living years. It is in my quiet dreams, awake or not, that I will live our moments in an endless replay. We will always have Fall and my Autumn is here.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hello Goodnight

IMG_4241

And the sky turned gold, burning the horizon

Where the sun slowly dove onto once more

I could hear my gentle breaths more clearly now

I could sense the cold a little deeper, too.

I do not know if I miss the night

All I see is the beauty of this twilight

I want to catch the moon, the stars and the blackness of space

But to have this night is to say goodnight.

To say goodnight is to bid goodbye

To bid goodbye is to kiss this night

You are the night I hate to see

You are the night who never misses me

You are the night that I long to stay

But while this earth turns,

I can only befriend the day.

So goodnight dear night.

I will be your fixture when uncertain

I will stay when you can not

And just love when you will not.

Goodnight…

Dear night….

Posted in Uncategorized, Verses | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Panglao, you had me at South Palms

 

Dear Ella Marie

image1

I fell in love.

Not the kind you get every day but just as familiar as you remember your true love.

I fell in love…

…not with a person…not with a place.

I fell in love with a moment. A moment that will be more than just a memory after today.

 

So much for the dramatic preface. But oh how I meant it.

After the almost 8-hour visual treat around some of Bohol’s famous landmarks, we were on our way where the air was saltier.  There was an almost deafening silence inside the car. Maybe we were all becoming weary or maybe it was the afternoon heat. Or perhaps, it was because I was on my way to a place where I once stayed awake from dusk till dawn. And the thought of it was like a dream.

Panglao Island, located at the southwest of Bohol and east of Cebu, carved a name for itself and had fast become one of the country’s beach and water sports haven for local and foreign tourists. When I was just trying to book for accommodations, I was surprised of the many options Agoda had offered and all were pretty inviting.  But the moment I saw its name, I knew it was the one. And boy, was I right!

And just like how it was 10 years ago, Panglao Island had me at first sight…but this time…it happened in South Palms.

 

 

As soon as we got out of our vehicle, complete with cute puso-like garlands made of palm leaves that they put around our necks and the very refreshing complimentary welcome drinks, we were greeted by genuinely warm smiles of the resort staffs ushering us to the reception desk.

IMG_6481 - Copy (2)IMG_3460IMG_3451

The lobby and reception area exuded a fusion of contemporary minimalist Balinese interior and local elements of nipa, cogon and shell that accentuated the generally white exteriors organically blends in the canvass of sands, skies, greens and the seas.

After getting our keys, we were escorted to our little home for the next 2 days.  The first step onto the sandy cobble-stoned path leading to the garden villas had immediately took me back to the whimsical chapter 1 of “The Longest Weekend”. It was like a déjà vu.

IMG_3456

Preview of the beach from the lobby

We passed by the sea of palm trees and saw the teaser of the beach. The glimpse made me skip a heartbeat. Each step we took saw a story waiting to be told.  It was quite a long walk but all worth it. What with all the greens, blues and browns that abound the view.

IMG_5857

Getting help from just one of the many superbly accommodating South Palms staff

IMG_5858

IMG_5963

letterstoellamarie

The walk to our room was an adventure in itself 😉

IMG_6042

Our home for the weekend

The moment we reached our villa, we knew another adventure is starting. The unassuming exterior of pebble-washed walls and Cogon roof is a little contrast to the contemporary Asian feature of the interior. We stayed in one of the Deluxe Garden View Villas, supposedly the smallest of all rooms but is quite just right for us 3. The room was adequately spaced with a very comfortable King-sized bed to boot.  The mood lighting greatly accentuated the simple yet clean and posh look of the room.  The air-conditioning was perfectly set. Amenities like 32-inch LED Cable TV, Free WI-FI Access, Coffee Maker/Tea Service, regularly stocked Mini-Bar, a Safety Deposit Box, Hair Dryer, Hot and Cold Bath System made me forget the moolah I set free for the vacay. Before heading out and see the beach, me and sibs just got silly and rolled around the King bed for a bit.

IMG_3476IMG_3487IMG_3494

 

South Palms opted for a horizontal development and offered the following different types of villas of your preference.

Deluxe Garden View

Deluxe Pool View

Deluxe Beachfront

Premium Beachfront

Beach Villa

South Palms Villa

Panglao Villa

Check Accommodations http://www.southpalmsresort.com/accommodations

And then we went and conquered the beach.

The Friday afternoon sun was starting to slowly set but it gamely displayed enough sunshine for us. While Prince took photography seriously and roamed the shores, Phoebe immediately claimed ownership of one of the outdoor suspended beds and I found my own lair where I just stared at the receding sea as it met the sky somewhere. It was a native hammock made of twines tied in between just 2 of the thousand coconut trees.

I swear I could stay on that spot for as long as…

…it can hold me…. 😥

 

IMG_3571

And then there was this romantic dinner by the beach set-up. I wish I stayed longer to eavesdrop the couple.  It would have been like watching a movie scene from just yards away.

IMG_5944IMG_5917

IMG_5951

My brother likes to shoot birds than wasting shots on us….

letterstoellamarie

 

We went back to our villa to take a shower and rest a bit before we went out to dinner.  Oceanica Seafood Restaurant was a beautiful medley of blue, purple and warm white from afar as we walked towards it.  We were still feeling the weight of our lunch so we settled for just a serving of Katsu and Chicken Pork Adobo.  The Katsu was cooked just right with the perfect light crunch on the outside around a tender and juicy meat, though the sauce was a bit too sweet for me.  The classic Chicken-Pork Adobo was a winner. We thought the serving was too much at first but the empty plates suggested it was that good!

IMG_5998

IMG_5979

IMG_5980

There was a live acoustic duo playing and they sounded so good that the dinner satisfied us not only gastronomically and visually but pinched our hearts with their cool rendition of Wonderful Tonight.

It was a “Wonderful Night” indeed.

The next 2 days was a roller coaster ride of fun, excitement, freedom and tranquility. There is indeed something about the sea or just being near it that liberates you somehow. Whatever it was, I owned it even for just a while…and it was enough.

 

We woke up to an early bright sun so we decided to bask in it before breakfast comes calling.

 

And then we had our breakfast.

IMG_3606

The Breakfast Table View.

IMG_3590

letterstoellamarie

The Coast Pool Bar

The subtle charm the native elements of the structures and simple details that generously abound the resort were complemented by the bold colors of the beach lounges.  They were playfully satisfying our vision as we roamed the beach some more.

Then the sea came calling.

IMG_3682IMG_3669

IMG_3647

IMG_3638IMG_3653

To our surprise, the resort did not look fully-booked to us as advised by the reception desk when I inquired about vacant rooms for an interested friend. It was as if the beach was all mine that day. There were people of course, but it was not the typical crowded beach you’ll expect and it was still considerably summery. I found out later that resort guests can avail of a free shuttle service to Alona Beach and neighboring resorts if they wanted a more crowded, activity-filled experience or try other restos of their choice.  The 3 of us opted to stay in.  I saw families from a distant and some couples that pass by but other than the sound of the waves, wind and the shutter’s sound nearby, it was the perfectly quiet beach experience I needed.

IMG_3734IMG_3832

IMG_3845

Beach Front Villa

IMG_3703

Under the shade after first swim

IMG_3747

SHAKES! (L-R) Peanut Kisses, Rocky Road & Classic Milky Buko

IMG_3771

 

IMG_6291

The Panglao Villa:

http://www.southpalmsresort.com/accommodations/panglao-villa

 

 

IMG_6252

Deluxe Pool View Area

IMG_6255

IMG_6248

 

IMG_3907IMG_3882IMG_3928

IMG_6307

Room Service Merienda: South Palms Signature Hawaiian Pizza and classic French Fries

IMG_6308

All the swimming (crawling) made us hungry

 

The night was so magical that we refused to end it early…and so the strolling continued.

 

 

 

Last Day.

It was a gloomy Sunday morning and it did not help the fact that we were leaving the place.  We headed to breakfast in silence and had let the weather lead the way.

IMG_6494

It rained hard and we could not agree more with the sky.

IMG_6475

Trying to smile just before saying goodbye

IMG_6484

How to drink Yakult in style

IMG_6470

IMG_6504

IMG_6502

Wrote them a li’l note

IMG_6508

 

IMG_4171IMG_6481 - Copy (2)

What I loved about South Palms is the harmony that all the elements exude reminding you at every angle why you took this vacation in the first place.  If you are someone seeking parties and is more into activities and fun adventures, you may find this resort unexciting. But for me, I came to the right place.

My Personal Rating

   Hotel Condition/Cleanliness 4.5/5

    Facilities 4.0/5

    Location 5/5

    Room Comfort/Standard 4.5/5

    Service 5/5

    Value for Money 4/5

    Food/Dining 4/5

Overall: 4.5

Other amenities and activities you should try: Diving & Snorkeling, Bohol Tours, Palm, The Spa, Fitness & Recreational Center and Boating.

I have not been to many resorts but among those I went to, this would now be my favorite. Being the creature of a habit that I am, I know I will find myself in this place again…soon.

IMG_4175

People say that when you’re in love, you become a poet. And in that Friday afternoon, just before twilight’s entrance, the beach just made me one.

 

When I said I fell in love with the moment.

I meant it at every shutter that froze each millisecond.

I meant it in the way I let the sand and heat hurt my skin.

I meant it with the way I let the waters drown me for a moment.

I fell in love as I lay me down on a hammock and just savored the infinite blue…

…and let me remembered a lost memory.

I fell in love with how my favorite paperback smelled against the salty air.

I fell in love watching couples is silhouette as they walked between me and the seas.

I fell in love with those moments…and that was enough.

On June 12, 2016, on a rainy Independence Day…

…I left a fragment of my heart in South Palms.

Love

Me

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Bohol Story

     

Dear Ella Marie

      And so my vacation happened, at last!

     But no, it was not in Bali, Singapore nor Ireland. It even was not Baguio, Palawan nor Batanes.  It was nothing really grand for a detour from my monotonous life. It was just somewhere near to home, about 2 hours away…where I’ve gone to twice already.

 

 

      Why Bohol again?

      Well, something about the last 2 trips years ago felt missing.  And I wondered, maybe, after this planned trip, I’ll be able to find that missing something.  Also, I’ve been wanting to finish this novel for 4 years already and I wanted to be where the setting of my story is.  So, sometime in April, after hours of ogling over pretty enticing offers from different hotels and resorts the island can offer, I just hit “Book”, submitted my leave request, to my officemates relief, and just waited.

     It was supposed to be just me. Alone. I planned it as a post-birthday gift to myself, who, by choice, would not want to be away from parents longer than a day.  But just a few days before my trip, I decided that I did not want to go alone, after all.  Then I pushed my 2 youngest siblings to come with me.  They needed a break, too, just before classes return.  And came June 10th, the trio packed their bags and went away.

BATCH 1

Pier I – Ocean Jet Boarding Area and Oceanjet 88

       Through the years, I’ve become obsessed with being “always” early so we were at the boarding area at 4:30 AM, exactly an hour and a half before the departure. And at 6 AM, we were just 2 hours away from our Paradise.  While tucked in my seat, I jumped from worrying about whether I brought everything we needed, to regretting not putting a note in my office table about the passwords that could help my officemates, all those while updating my parents of where we were a little too much, I guess. Then I caught a glimpse of Prince and Phoebe sneaking in some lost sleep and then it hit me again—“I am on vacation! Yay!” So I leaned back and watched the overplayed Furious 7 from eight seats away and slowly closed my eyes.  And in an instant, I dreamed of the beach again.

       We reached Tagbilaran Port at 8:10. We were too excited that we forgot to take a picture at the dock. Then we gazed at all the waiting services from hotels to car rentals or just relatives holding the names of their guests until I saw my own name near the exit. Kuya Tacy, our tour guide for the day said he just arrived a few minutes ago.

IMG_2911

IMG_2923

      We were a bit hungry so Kuya Tacy drove us to Island City Mall and had breakfast at Bol-anon, basically the only food hall in the mall that’s open that time. A brunch for 4 included 2 servings each of beef steak, adobo, and bola-bola with rice and 4 soda cans, I felt that our bill of Php 450 was not bad, compared to similar stalls you’ll find in food courts here in Cebu.  And then we drove out of the city.  Kuya Tacy already complained of the little traffic along the way. Then I thought of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapulapu. Oh how I loved those cities but the traffic. Kuya Tacy, I thought, be thankful you are not in Lapulapu going to Mandaue at this time. You have no idea.  The trip in the countryside alone was already a reward in itself.  The symphony of sights ranging from the fields, to hills, forests, rivers and seas, we did not want it to end. But we had a time to catch.

IMG_2950 (2)

      First stop was the Sipatan Twin Hanging Bridge at Sevilla, Bohol. We paid Php 20 per head as a toll fee to cross the bridges.  I have a perpetual fear of heights but the last time I crossed one I had fun so I could not say no this time. As I stepped onto the first rows of bamboo slits, cracking as if mocking me, I heard a voice saying the bridges, which are made of bamboo and ropes attached to steel cables, are under minor repair, thanks to the toll fees collected.  I almost turned around and walked back to the car at the horror movie in my mind with the ropes just holding on to dear life.  But, I saw my siblings, casually donning their smiles under the sun and made the cracking bamboos their catwalk, and just bit my lips and wobblingly carried on, oh dear.

IMG_5645 (2)

IMG_2979 (3)

IMG_3010 (2)

IMG_1282IMG_1283IMG_1284IMG_1285

      Well, I was able to cross both bridges, YAY! Look at the pictures, who would ever think I fought back emotional turmoil inside while holding on to the suspended woven noise over the river. I knew I was getting blue from holding my breath but thank goodness for the heat, the tan covered any traces of it. Nah, I had so much fun! Bring it on, wobbly bridge!

 IMG_5654 (2)

IMG_3083 (2)

IMG_3086 (2)

 

      Then, we reached Loboc and dropped by the Tarsier Conservation Area.  Entrance fee was Php 60 per person and free for children 12 years and below. They do have discounted fees for senior citizens and students w/ IDs.  As much as I marveled at the sights of the endangered Tarsiers, I personally felt bad for the little guys who, I think, even given the ample distance from the onlookers, still get bothered at their very territory, which for me, can still be improved hopefully for the greater benefit of the dear Tarsiers. I hope that the company running the place will continue to improve their habitat giving the Tarsiers more room to roam around their homes. The pathways built for people to view them breaks that natural flow.  But before my secret environmentalist alter-ago gets better of my vacation, I and sibs just enjoyed getting to know more about the dear Tarsiers:

IMG_5658 (2)IMG_5663 (2)IMG_5671 (2)IMG_5673 (2)IMG_5676 (2)

IMG_5697 (2)

Postcard / Ticket (Php 60/head)

Did you know?

(c/o Loboc Tarsier Conservation Area)

  • Tarsiers are able to rotate their head 180 degree to compensate for their immovable eyeballs.
  • They can jump 40x more than their own weight.
  • Tarsiers species, who sing in high-pitched voices, are differentiated through their song and singing styles

 

IMG_3112 (3)

      After the courtesy visit to the tiny and furry natives of the island, we rushed to see another major Bohol icon, the Chocolate Hills in Carmen.  The sky turning gray was a bit threatening but the random images of the tiny peaks appearing one-by-one along the way pushed the gloom away until we reached and slowly rode uphill to better see the wonder from above. And then there they were, like little molehills of greens and browns, taking my breath away, just like before.

IMG_3135 (3)

IMG_5713 (2)

IMG_5710 (2)

      It was a hot morning yet the sun was not really out. The overcast skies did not give us the much wanted balance of light to get the picture perfect shots. Nevertheless, the three of us just enjoyed every moment being up there.  I remembered my primary school teacher mentioned that the hills’ grasses dry up and turn dark on summers giving the hills their chocolatey brown shade, hence the popular name.

 IMG_5719 (2)

IMG_3177 (3)

 IMG_3129

      Some hills, I thought, have gotten patchy and I hope they regenerate soon.  I wanted to stay longer but the heat has gotten worse and I remembered we had a lunch to catch.  As soon as the car arrived, I knew it was another difficult goodbye.

     We went back to Loboc for the river cruise. On our way there, we dropped by the man-made forest for a snapshot.

 IMG_3190 (2)IMG_5734 (2)

IMG_5744 (2)

IMG_3198 (2)

IMG_5774 (2)
 

      It was already 12:30 noon when we reached the port where the Long River Cruise Floating Restaurants dock. From where we waited for our tickets, I could see boats leaving and arriving the dock which made me giddy for our turn.  Each ticket for the cruise costs Php 450 per person which includes a buffet lunch on board.  At exactly 1PM, we were on the floating restaurant and in no time, we went along the river’s flow witnessing glimpses of lives by the stream while satisfying our tummies.

IMG_3247 (2)IMG_3259 (4)

IMG_3263 (2)IMG_3370 (2)IMG_3374 (2)

      On board, there was a band playing some folk songs in the background.  The river, to me, looked like a playground that day. Sights of children diving, dogs swimming and friends hanging out by the river looked like scenes from your childhood. The synthesis of plants, water and rocks was like a moving artwork. As the boat flowed farther into the depths of the riverbed, the little waterfalls started to appear and they were beautiful.  Talented locals displayed their gifts in front of amazed tourists who in turn had fun singing and dancing with them.

 IMG_3329 (2)IMG_3327 (2)

       The whole cruise lasted for an hour but I felt like I brought so much more from that length of time. I left the boat with a big grin in my heart.

 IMG_3396IMG_3270 (2)

       And off to Panglao, we went.

     My first stay at Panglao years ago was short but sweet.  It was so memorable that it inspired me to write something immediately when I got back to Cebu.  And this trip back to the place is one of the best gifts I gave to myself.  It was so special that it deserves its own story.

        So that was my Bohol Trip Part 1.  My summer ended quite late but just right when I needed it.

        I hope yours was just as perfect.

   Love

Me

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , | 1 Comment

As I looked up…

Dear Ella,

Tonight, I looked up.  As always…the sky looked infinite. But, maybe I was wrong. Maybe…I was actually looking down. And so the usual questions came running around my tiny head….

I like being alive. In this realm…within the Virgo Supercluster…on Earth…. I can’t imagine any other way to exist…and coexist. Looking at my To-do list, wow, can I be any luckier? How can a 4 o’clock waking time struggle, month-end beating of deadlines horror stories…and the heartbreaks I get to witness everyday compare to the eternal probabilities that, in a snap of galactic scale, we are bound to collide with other star-stuffs…. And that one explosive mess…could be just another beautiful, bright cosmic event for a distant observer…if it has eyes like mine.  Yes…I heard that sigh. Of course, why would it be significant?  It’s way beyond our timeline.  That’s my point…significance is as relative as time and space.  And then we have our own little mess within. The age-old divide that kept evolving. As soon as one wall collapsed, a new one is built…stronger…darker…unforgiving.  Why should countries be color-coded? Why should unity be a question of faith? Why can’t I let you pray while I seek my own peace? Maybe then we will discover that sometimes we also get to agree…or maybe not…but that is okay…and okay is good enough. That you like the color gray even if I don’t…and you nod at my choice of music before you put on your earphones.  . I like listening to you, really…but do not force a thought…because I really believe you are perfectly okay as I am just fine in my own way. I need to breathe too just as you drink after you thirst.  Then I let you say your opinions…and you let me speak mine. We can raise our voices all we want so loud…louder than bombs…they silence our guns.

I wish I can be everyone and be someone for a day. And look through his eyes, think from his mind…feel from his heart. What could possibly be more liberating than forgiving oneself…for at last, I will realize that I am wrong for thinking that I was right.

I hope someday comes a technology which would point which part of our DNA causes us to self-destruct.  Maybe then we can put to good use the little intelligence of mankind to correct what was wrong.  I hope I can still live to see the day where that tiny glint of chance is in the horizon.  When the multicultural Earth becomes a big colorful garden and war becomes a myth.  A time when all of our different songs become a symphony and our differences become art.  Thinking of it gives me that absolute relief that even if this insignificant address somewhere in this observable universe…maybe…just maybe…we will be just more than a pretty nebula…a display of slow death…then into oblivion.

I love being alive! Do you?

 

Love,

Me

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

1727

One Thousand Seven Hundred Twenty Seven,

I counted them over

 

Those are days…not just numbers

Those are moments…not just chapters

One Thousand Seven Hundred Twenty Seven,

Are just but some years and a few

 

Years that are eons but nothing the earth knew

Years as finite as the morning to night

As vivid as your vows is your swiftest goodbye

One Thousand Seven Hundred Twenty Seven, It was short but not quite

It was as boundless as time yet it ended somehow

Where the sunrises are sweet…but the sunsets sweeter

Shall I stay a little longer, I pondered and hoped

But the book, you said, must close

Now that thousand or so days are the past

Where the songs, dreams, bliss, and I are left to dance

One Thousand Seven Hundred Twenty Seven days…

Those are Me.

The only life I knew.

The days I owned with You.

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Missing Myself

6953161-stones-gerbera-flower - Copy

Dear Ella Marie,

     Yesterday, someone asked me, “When was the last time you’ve written something?”. I thought aloud, “…a minute ago?”.  My answer was another question. In a blink, I realized that it was not the answer he wanted.

You and I talk all the time, no doubt about that. Everyday musings, we never run out of them. But, you know what…it seemed like we had lost touch somehow. We both might have missed something, haven’t we. I felt this urge to write to you again, be heard, listen…realize something. Last time I had hit the enter button to share a tidbit of my tiny world was a few months back, which is not bad…but somehow, tingling inside my subconscious is a thought that we may have become strangers to each other.  A note to me: never stop knowing oneself.

Writer’s block…we always have that. Sometimes, more than explaining about a certain condition that writers deal with, it just becomes a mere excuse because he just chooses not to bleed words anymore.  And those choices slowly kills off the flame. For months, maybe over a year perhaps, I was contented with merely expressing. That is how you ought to interact with all the rest sharing this dimension. But more than that, for us who breathe words in and out, it is the responsibility to cultivate that passion that I failed at…that led us to this gap. It is with words that we bind, it was with words that I was able to create our own little dimension, a little out beyond this space and time. I miss that dimension.

So now, I make this vow, to write you again. Not to them, but to you. Because by telling you my story, my thoughts, cravings and whatever that ignites a light, I give a little of myself back to me. Together we can make new ones, or reminisce the better old ones. We can even relive those pains that you sometimes guiltily ponder on. One day, when I am unable to bring about the right vowels to your consonants, I can only look back and watch the words play me a silent film that I orchestrated once upon a time.

The sun is high up. The wind blows just a little, enough for the leaves to rustle. The earth feels alive and I am relieved.

Love,

Me

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment