04.03.05; Freezing Friday; 10:36

No. of unbloggable thoughts: 3.

Dear Niwee,

I know I owe you lavish amounts of attention. Whenever I visit you, I just shake my head and curse myself for my lame attempt for photoblogging. Don’t worry, sweetie, this offensive experiment will not continue; my Cybershot demanded repose and recoiled from my attention.

But I can’t let February bid farewell without an entry. It has been pretty spiritual. I finally felt the scorching kisses of the sun, rendering my cold heart warm. I felt the dips to salt water wash away my bitterness. It was too soothing I find blogging about January woes pointless.

I missed you.

March, it is. Although I enjoyed my recent trips in Oriental Mindoro and Cebu, there were take-home thoughts I have to unpack.

1. Chinovela turns reality.

Thanks to firefloss for rubbing off her racial intolerance towards Koreans to me. Back in college, having Korean classmates around is OK. In fact, I made a segment about them, their ways of adjusting to the local scene, on my audio-visual project.

Staying in Lahug was an eye opener. I had the unfortunate experience of having my personal space violated by a throng of Koreans on the elevator. Their united effort to transform the hotel into a palengke was astounding. Plus, one guy had the nerve to converse to me in his dialect. When I reciprocated with a creased forehead, he condescendingly concluded, "You don’t understand?". I was too amazed he managed to express that in declarative AND interrogative sentence that the realization it was actually insulting surfaced moments after.

Sure, it is easy to laugh at them for considering long sleeved tops and long dresses as beachwear and for witnessing one pour banana syrup over rice. But I doubt if you’d go on snickering that way if you see what I saw: hotel items, mall signs, ROAD signs with Korean translations. They even have a multitude of restaurants specializing on their food! I remember having my buffet breakfast hoping more Pinoys would come over, just to assure myself I’m still in the Philippines.

We have a new colonizer.

2. Pirated sand.

And so gumpaste and I failed to appear as stay-in customers in Shangri-La Mactan and we have to settle PhP1,500 before we can use the beach. That includes free lunch and free towel. With our full stomach and full backpack , we indignantly marched out. That’s nuts!

Before the day ended, while we’re in Olango Island, we convinced ourselves it’s for the best. "Kung totoong white sand ‘yon (Shangri-La) edi dapat white sand din dito (Tambuli)!" gumpaste lamented. "Pekeng white sand!" Officemate Mark is an eye witness when white sand from Bohol were poured over to conceal the kayumangging buhangin. Even Samal Island in Davao owes its Snow White appeal from Bohol. Now you understand my itch to reach Panglao before portable Bohol is available in SM Bacoor/Molino. (That’s another story.)

Hypocrisy aside, I’m one sand klepto bordering on sentimental schmuck. In fact, I nearly got left in Puerto Galera with only PhP15 on my pocket due to my pristine desire to have my own sample. When firefloss admitted she only had PhP8 left, we agreed to forget it. Luckily, I was triumphant to have a souvenir from Cebu. But Nature’s wrath is inevitable, my sand turned grey.

Oh well. Gotta stick to stealing road signs then.

3. Where next?!

Believe it or not, I have fallen in love with the Philippines. The closet patriot has been released. But I’m not saying we forget my old rantings, all right? I just decided I want to tour and re-tour it before I reach 30/deathbed. I want to send postcards of me doing Halasana at the summit of Mt. Halcon, kissing the humpback whales in Aparri, panic eating lansones in Camiguin, making love in Sagada, star gazing in Panglao…

Patience can be hard. Off peak season is too far.