Age 28. You’ve been here several times, in transit between what you consider homes—ever-present in its beauty, peculiarities, its calmness but lacking understanding of its history and folklore. So you hold a book in your hand, you’ve learned about the creature, sigbin, vanquished by Santa Catalina, perhaps jumped and hidden in the mountains of Cebu. And so it reminded you of our freedom fighters, of the resolute women fighting for the homeland. You’ve heard this place is for writers, you’ve heard in exquisite details how they closely held this place to their hearts. But not to regard it as immunity to tides. Life brings new jobs, career shifts, family responsibilities, outside-looking curiosities. So people leave too.
A hammock under a mango tree, beside you is the kindest dog you’ve ever met—capable of swallowing the Bohol Sea but grounded in the presence of Amihan. Tinkering tide pools alongside you. You thought scientific inquiry will be the greatest return life could give you, not realizing there are equally burning areas to set your foot into. As you would like everything to be planned, you don’t know where your academic training would lead you, so you visit every time. You don’t want to be a stranger to a place, to its people, to its hardship.
So you walk along its coastline, you travel like reading a poem—slowly,
… like each line is a novel.