Coming back from Cresta, we had been bedazzled by its beauty, but we knew with it, our trip was to come to an end. Our last day had arrived and dazed by the heat, we thought the Cantingas river to be best for letting the final hours pass before a needed night’s rest. The river was so clear, that it was hard to believe to be exactly that. Its water had enough cool to wash away weeks of unabated sun’s fury and with a lovely view all we needed. Many Filipinos had gathered here, as usual eating and drinking the local whiskey, and my pale skin seemed to stick out. Their eyes had lingered and glared at us resulting in a few initiating small-talks. Others would simply stare and wave. For a slight bit of privacy, we had gone downstream to bathe and savour our final moments while we could as the sun sank down out of sight.
Upon early morning arrival at harbour in our packed van, it had seemed it would be hours wait before our lengthy journey home would commence. One to be quite horrendous, but nonetheless not the worse we have had and definitely not will have. A sun had shone and gone before returning to burn at noon when we would come close to familiar neighbourhoods. Though the hours were excruciating unending, compared to the mere 7hr Coron-El Nido experience, this had been a ferry far superior despite it being quadruple in time. With bunk beds standing lonesome in the corner, as our initial ones in the middle had been soaked, we had relative peace and slept most of the hours away. In a state of grogginess and feeling befuddled we rode the final transports to the house where the afternoon heat had already soaked in. Carrying the smell of a dozen sailor men after a day’s hard work, for the hour that followed we had claimed the shower spewing icy water. Then, with the fan on full blast and pointed towards us, we crawled in bed to rest with a huge smile painted on our faces.
It had been a fortnight of hopping, hiking and touring about with the most memorable sights along the way. Bound by time, we had leapt onto the roads less known all steered by the tiny island at the end of it. Off the ‘tourist-path’, travels grew complicated and at times so did the stress-levels. When racing against the clock, it is of essence that little time is wasted. With harbours lacking online presence, the erratic schedules of ferries that did not part daily and blogs as well as sites contradicting each other, correct information was scarcely spread. Even locals argued about the right times and this once had us standing at the docks stranded with not a bucket nor yacht outgoing.
However challenging it was, to at all times be facing the heat-packed days on either touring the area or by hoisting the backpacks on to the next island, it was exhilarating. Far away from comfort, we had found the locals whose mouths fell open upon sight of a foreigner. A few days back a parade had erupted into screaming and shouting upon the sight of the white flesh. Admittedly, this gets too much for me, being the introverted hermit. The constant attention towered my anxiety into the clouds and would at times feel draining. Standing out like a Christmas tree on Halloween is not what I aimed for, but to every day be welcomed by waves of genuine smiles and greetings was heartwarming. The damned smiles, they had been broader than I was aware they could be. People were happy to see us travel and explore what to them is home, often from childhood til grave and we were happy to be a small part of it.
Endless beaches, mesmerising cascades and countless paradise islands filled our phones with thousands of pictures to draw envy from those back home. Along with most of them came great tales of admiration and adoration, but for me, as cliche as it sounds, it is often about the journey there rather than the destination and it truly is.
What do you find important about travels/trips?