Bundok, Dagat, Talon, Pamilya, Kaibigan
When the apartment-hunting process worked out and I was finally able to book tickets so I can visit home for my brother's graduation - I also had specific agendas in mind. One of those was to find out things that I truly loved about the country where I was born and raised. I was searching for a more integrated identity - one that combined who I was when I was in New York and who I was as a Filipino. I knew that I loved nature and so I decided I needed to do at least two things when I visit: climb a mountain, and swim/wade in the sea.
Luckily, I had friends who were into both of those things. And so I did hike up to the summit of Mt. Pico de Loro in Nasugbu, Batangas and went to Circle Hostel, Zambales where one can rent a hammock and then swim in the sea. Incidentally, there was also a waterfall nearby Circle Hostel that was only a 20-minute hike after a short tricycle ride.
There are so many things that one can learn from nature if one pays attention to the "signs." How as we hiked further up the mountain we began to hear thunder (rainy season has begun in the Philippines). When we reached the saddle area of Mt. Pico de Loro the view was completely covered by a thick white fog. The view of the summit was hidden from us. Upon the prodding of a guide that appeared, we decided that we shall hike up to the summit anyway despite the fact that there was no guarantee of a view. As soon as we got up and began walking one of my friends shouted, "the fog has cleared!" True enough, there was a clearing and we could see the landscape beyond. As a response, we raised our arms and shouted, "thank you!" to the skies and hiked up to the summit. We were indeed graced by a clear view. As soon as we took our pictures, rain fell ferociously and my first hike down a rocky mountain was "blessed" with rain.
It was the same with the waterfalls. My friend challenged me to jump from a medium height by the rocky landscape around the waterfalls (I had never jumped from a height towards a deep watery end before). And how as soon as we had both jumped, rain began to pour. In both instances, the rain has come after the brave thing has been done.
It was lighter in my heart to leave home for the second time. The uncertainty was still present, "when will I ever see them again?" However, it was clearer to me that the relationships that mattered to me can be sustained from a distance. I go forward carrying more "secret talismans," born of the out of the ordinary moments that happened in my recent communion with nature.
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Regina De Vera
I am a Filipino actress alternating between New York and Manila. I received my acting training at The Juilliard School. Take a look around!