After five months of missing and yearning for home, I finally got to see and visit my family. They live in a small barrio in the Bicol province that is eight to ten hours travel time away from the province of Laguna, my current place of residency while I am in the university. It is difficult and challenging to live independently but it is harder to be away from one's family. When I was in high school, I went to the city for my studies, and now, in an even farther place. Years of long distance studies is a huge sacrifice. After all, all my family's future stake is on me. Ah, pressure.
Life in the province (countryside) is absolutely different than it is in the city. It is not better, but it is different in plain, simple, ordinary but soothing and peaceful ways. Lucky are we who, at certain points in our lives, have roots and families and provinces to go back to when we feel the need and want to. Part of understanding our essence is acknowledging our roots. A tree whose roots are dead is dead too.
Here's what the weekend made me realize: It doesn't take a perfect family to create perfect memories; they happen all the time and just have to be recognized by grateful and content hearts. We don't have much in our family, but the love that we have for one another suffices for the other things that we don't. It is enough.
Here's the beauty of a weekend spent in the province (and why it is more fun there):
- Took a long bus ride and enjoyed the beautiful, panoramic view of Camarines Sur in the breaking dawn
- Was fetched up from the bus terminal by my siblings from whom I saw the biggest and warmest smiles and got the tightest embraces
- Ate under the old but lush Mango tree in our backyard while enjoying windy afternoons under clear blue skies and the never-leaving sun
- Rested under the shade of our precious Mango tree, listened to my aunts and uncles' stories, and laughed until I got teary-eyed
- Ate our own harvest from our own garden and backyard (buko juice and meat, ginataang gabi, bananas, papayas, other fruits and vegetables)
- Ate at Bigg's Diner (every Bicolano's favorite restaurant) and ate my favorite Fried Chicken recipe
- Went from one relative's house to another (their doors and dining tables were always open)
- Cooked my specialty, my siblings' favourite ─ Macaroni Soup
- Went to the beach (free entrance) with my family
- Went picnicking at the Patio with relatives
- Drove the motorcycle (I do have a Driver's License after all)
- Shouted and played with kids in the neighborhood as carefree as ever and like nothing else mattered
- Woke up everyday at 6AM and sleep at 9PM (time is slow in the province)
- Finally saw the people who I've been dying to see in months
- Freed my mind and got the peace of mind I've always aspired for
Home is my happy place.
Bicol is my maugmang lugar.
Bicol is my maugmang lugar.