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02.11.08; Sunday Samhain; 14:04Latest crazes I still deliberately refuse to give in to: Reading Twilight, uploading photos on Photo Funia. Old news I finally give in to: Signing up on Facebook, being riveted to Prison Break. Backlogs and defers: Travelogues about Ilocos and Bohol, taking the candidacy exam, new tee designs, urinalysis, visit/s to my OB Gyne. Newest loves: The four-legged Johann and the gay Wentworth Miller. Looking forward to: marketing-related day job, traveling dolls, 13th month pay, surprise birthday party for me, next published articles. New promo for fellow travelers: 15% discount on SEAIR tickets! Flight dates: 20.10.2008 to 14.02.2009. Book here using my code: sscc88uu.

 

Dear Niwee,

Traipsing Bohol is the best nightcap any stress junkie (by circumstance) deserves to experience. I went on LOA at work (I bled for it to be approved) for a solid month of research paper completion, panic attacks, reviews for my candidacy exam and some more panic attacks. The four-day trip to Panglao (booked shortly after summer) was unfortunately scheduled on the weekend before I supposedly take the much-dreaded exam. As mentioned above, I ended up backing out in taking the exam (this probably deserves another blog entry) , throwing my reading list (comprised of 58 books!) in the beackseat and tagging two of my best friends to the Bohol Bee Farm. I have a long list of things to rave about! There’s the impressive, bottomless organic food that transformed the veggies-make-me-run-to-the toilet type of meat lover in me into a salad fan. I luuurve the squash muffins, gingered mango shake, camote lasagna, mango ice cream, among others. I am licking my lips here in recollection. There’s Pamilacan Island, the white sand beach we all wish to remain untouched. There’s the clean comfort rooms (airconditioned even!) all throughout the province. My heart was heavy in packing up my stuff that Sunday afternoon. I don’t wanna come back!But it’s quite hard to fully enjoy the trip when you have concern for this country. The sight of children and teens performing in the stopover “stage” along Loboc River on a Friday afternoon makes you wonder why they are not in school. Our driver saying most owners of establishments in town are Filipinas married to foreigners pierced me with worry why they are resigned to pessimism that there’s no way they can achieve the same extent of fortune. The “best” preserved museum in that region makes me question what else can be done. And the disappointing sight of Alona Kew made my high expectations drown in the shore.

It is a given that there’s hope for us Filipinos. But the question remains. How do we start? How can I contribute?

***

My postcard collecting (and sending) taught me lessons during my memorable trips this year.

In Ilocos, I ended up sending Vigan postcards with Laoag stamps. Let’s blame it on the scarcity, no, absence of Laoag postcards in their shops. I had to write my thoughts double time, too, since we only had a half day alloted to tour Laoag (wrong move). Again, my apologies to friends who had to read the postcards twice to decode my message.

As a result, I resolved that, next time, I’d buy postcards in Manila bookstores in advance instead of purchasing them in the destination itself. I’d hate to repeat what happened in Laoag. I fear my friends would get discouraged to send me postcards again.

By the way, it was around that time (early May) that local post offices produced stamps paying homage to the Pambansang Kamao, Manny Pacquaio. Although Fris, one of my Vigan postcard recipients, prefer not to see the mentioned boxer’s face on her postcard, I wished my friends get to see this limited edition stamps. Why not?

Before heading to Bohol, Fris convinced me that, considering we’d be landing in a city, we’d be able to locate fab postcards for our friends. She was right. Securing postcards was piece of cake. However, we had to do post office-hopping in order to send them!

Right after lunch in one of the floating restaurants in Loboc River, we had gone to 2 post offices (Loboc and Baclayon) only to realize that the person in charge is available only until 14:00 and goes on delivering the mail until 17:00! We were shocked to learn about this possibly one-wo/man-team.

We were already considering to ask our guide to send it for us by Monday (our flight back to Manila is on Sunday) when he recalled another post office. Luckily, we were able to send the postcards (forgot the town, darn!) approximately 10 minutes before they call it a day. Phew! Lesson learned? Send ’em first thing in the morning!

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