For the last three years now, I have been halting from the daily grind for a week in November.
In 2008, I went to Lucban and ate everything one could eat there. Thanks to my old friend Delfa who has always welcomed me like a sister. Her house is situated a couple of blocks away from the San Isidro de Labrador Church, one of the oldest churches in the country having been built in 1595! Talk about waking up to history in the morning! From her house, everything you need is at a walking distance: the original Buddy's Burger, hotel, countless restaurants and coffeeshops, pasalubong shops, Mercury Drug, thrift shops, gift shops, bars...Want it they have it. Ah...no. They don't have an airport.
What's wicked is that almost everything is cheap!
You walk to a cold breeze on well-kept, always clean streets. You talk with locals with weird Tagalog accents. Yung parang lagi silang galit, pero hindi naman. Sara!
Life there is simple without Starbucks. Life is innocent without Jollibee.
In 2009, my plans for Boracay in November had been signed and sealed early that summer. You want to still enjoy Boracay, don't go there in summer. As early as August, I bought discounted Cebu Pacific tickets for Manila to Aklan, Aklan to Manila. The Caticlan Airport was still under construnction then.
Two weeks before my Boracay trip, an e-mail sent to us mortals of my workplace. It told us to prepare our passports as we were all going to Singapore for a management meeting and recreation on November 18 to 22. My Boracay weekend trip was scheduled November 19 to 21! I called the Veep to excuse myself from the trip as I had prior engagements. I even told him my leave form had been signed a month ago. Half a day later, the President called me and told me to reconsider. Now, when the big boss tells you to reconsider, it means you don't have an option. As an afterthought, he called again and said he could have my Singapore trip scheduled a day early and I could also leave a day early. I asked him what I'd do in Singapore for a whole day alone? Yeah, that was stupid. He agreed silently I could sense.
To help him out of the situation, I suggested that I could join the group on the 18th but I would have to leave the Lion City the next day. Day 1 was the most important one in the itinerary anyway. He said I'd tire myself flying back and forth I would end up drained and not enjoy the beach.
The prospect was too cool to me. How many of those people I know could brag about changing airports domestic and international, from the corporate mecca of Asia to the white sand of the Philippines, from a conference room in Singapore to a beachfront sauna in Bora over a period of 18 hours? I am that vain! I went to Singapore for a day and a night and headed to Boracay to spend the rest of the week.
Did I enjoy it? I swear to God I'm not going to do it again!
My plane to Aklan was scheduled to leave at 2 PM (after re-scheduling the flight two hours later and paying penalties). From Changi my plane landed at NAIA at 11:30 AM. I waited for half an hour for a cab to take me to the domestic airport. And it begun to rain. And when it rains in Manila you know what it means - traffic nightmare! In the cab, I cursed myself for such wanton stupidity. Tired and hungry and angry, I had a plane to catch which could leave without me because I wasn't a Gokongwei.
There were heavy clouds atop Aklan Airport, the plane hovered above for fifteen minutes. When it touched down finally it was dark and raining.
My one-day trip to Singapore was spent in meetings. I spent the weekend at Boracay shopping. Totally out of whack.
This year I spent the whole week home trying not to do nothing.