While under the magical spell of Pai during a trip to Thailand last year, a discovery, a reflection showed something glimmering. In the middle of a conversation in Don’t Cry reggae bar, I asked someone, “So do you think you know the formula for happiness?” He easily answered a yes and elaborated that amidst uncertainties in life, mostly when we feel sad or incomplete or yearning, we must always reenter the liberating state of doing whatever we love to do. He was the same soul who asked me what my priority in life was during that same night. My answer was love.
Batanes is undeniably special in its mountainous landscape, genuinely honest and kind-hearted locals, and quiet and simple way of living. Located in the most northern part of the Philippines, it is easily one of the must-visit provinces. But maybe a thousand other destinations qualify in the list with the mentioned, sometimes abused, adjectives. I asked an Aussie guy which destination he considered to be the most fascinating. He has traveled 80 countries so far so he had a bit of difficulty answering as he said that all places are unique in their own flavors. But I insisted that if he could choose one, only one, what would it be? He responded with Israel. However this is not an elaboration nor a justification of how beautiful and captivating the country is. Because in a heartbeat, I will agree that all places offer its magic to everyone who is willing to see and appreciate. In the quantity of it all, we have to take a step back and meditate and let rawness shed its beauty before our unjudging eyes. Sometimes, or in our generation, probably most of the time, we take for granted the everyday. What appears repetitively may lose some of its charm. Yet when traveling comes to play, it instantly illuminates our sense of wonder and expands our presence. All explorations become adventurous without trying to be.
We hardly ever stop wanting as we lay steady in the daily. But who are we to blame? When pastel hues of sunset, blissful amounts of sunshine that feels so damn good to the body, excellent company in fleshy and tanned forms, laughter-induced walking and eating and sitting, contemplative night under the starry, starry sky present themselves as memories from a summer weekend, who are we to blame?