La Union, Philippines
19th May 2014
I spent the last few hours of my twenty-seventh year and the first few of my twenty-eighth in the company of two beautiful, free-spirited human beings / closest friends, Marga and Elyne in sunny La Union. This was a spur-of-the-moment day trip agreed upon over milk teas, one midnight, three days prior. Unfortunately, Katrina and Jenn, who were also with us during that night, were stuck in Iloilo due to a cancelled flight a day before the trip. It was a total bummer. I was eagerly looking forward to a day in the sea since I have been stuck the whole of April in the big city, and the news just depressed the hell out of me. Fortunately, I have these lovelies around, and despite the decrease in number, they still pushed through with the trip. With that, I was truly grateful.
A few days after my birthday, a friend asked if the La Union trip was my gift to my self, I retorted almost immediately, "No, it was Marga and Elyne's gift to me (also Jenn's and Kat's. In spirit)" Even though some of the expenses were paid by me (1 bus trip and an early dinner because that is all I could afford) I am so blessed to be surrounded by people with the biggest hearts that I don't think I truly deserve.
The trip to La Union from Manila took about six hours and I spent literally half of my birth day, on the road. We left around three in the morning and as per usual, I was able to sleep only about an hour max because I can no longer sleep soundly on buses longer than two hours.
About what seemed like only a few minutes after I drifted off, my phone rang around five in the morning, to see my mom calling. She and my dad wake up around that time practically every day since I was an infant. School or no school. Office or no office. Their day just seem complete whenever they're able to share that time while drinking instant coffee and reading the morning paper.
They both greeted me, mom first then handing the phone over to my father, who I heard from another line, flipping a paper or was it the rustle of the leaves? I wasn't entirely sure, greeting me with utmost enthusiasm that I wasn't able to reciprocate because of drowsiness but a smile had somehow formed realising it only seconds before I hung up.
I felt so happy and loved hearing both of them in the wee hours of the morning (wee because I wake up around ten in the morning the earliest, almost every day) of my birthday topping the lovely feeling I had a few hours before because Marga and Elyne did a sort of a birthday countdown while we were waiting for the bus and the wonderful feeling the day before because I was able to see and hear The Paper Kites and The Drums sing and dance live. The craziest, most fun birthday weekend I've had thus far.
We arrived around 9 in the morning and had brunch over at San Juan Beach resort. I couldn't remember what I had but it was okay enough to fill my raging stomach. Because I had no sleep, I begged Elyne to The Circle where we could have a short nap. Despite the rather boiling hot temperature at that time, I was able to have a fair amount of sleep, fetal position and all in the hostel's common room, which consisted mostly of hammocks and bean bags. It was a Monday and the place was almost deserted, save for one foreigner sleeping opposite us on a bean bag. We don't/can't surf (yet) and were just about to, so we didn't know that it wasn't the season for surfing. We were told to come back in July much to our dismay. We stayed the rest of the afternoon at the quaint and charming hostel, Flotsam and Jetsam (they have great food!)
We spent most of the day taking pictures, listening to music and eating while marvelling at the beauty of the ocean ahead of us. I didn't feel like swimming because I didn't think the water was inviting at that time. Only before sunset did it do however, it was already a bit late for we needed to leave around six so we could catch the bus back to Manila. Nonetheless, just being near the ocean, welcoming its warmth and familiarity and savoring every minute with some of the people dear to me was as perfect as any could be.
Twenty-eighth year, please be kind.