29 August 2014

The road to Mati

I do not have very strong emotions about being defined as a traveler or a tourist. I had been to places since I was a kid either through 12-hour drives or 20-minute plane rides. It was not by intention that we travelled but this course set for us made us frequent the roads. Though road trips became less, and there were more plane rides.

We drove to Davao Oriental a few weeks back while I was in my hometown. It was more than a decade since I last travelled to the south-eastern part of the archipelago. Some things remained distinct like the blue ocean beside the cliff. Some things felt relatively new when we cut through the midst of banana farms though it wasn't my first time seeing banana trees on roadsides. What used to be a gruelling five-hour drive was cut down to barely three hours. Just before noon, we reached my new home and joined my new family.

In the afternoon, we drove about an hour to Mati where I have lived for a few years. It was Sunday so my old school was closed but our dear family friend who still lives beside the bay asked the guards to let us in for a few minutes to look around. I noticed though that the bay beside my school was nothing like it was before. There were people everywhere on the boardwalk but no one digging for clams on the sand where we used to.

We then drove further east to the pacific coast past the big ancient house which was our home for a short time. Few kilometers later, we reached Dahican though it was not at the exact spot we often visited when I was a child. This time there were no strong waves because the wind blows from the west at this time of the year. There used to be not much on this beach but just seashells, driftwood and perhaps a few shiny crabs crawling under the hot sun. When we got there, the sun was already setting and the sky was starting to show a hint of purple. I will be missing the sunrise again this time but I now have more reasons to be back here.

Everyone was tired and had to drive back home. The road beside the cliff was much darker now but there was nothing scary about it. My soul felt refreshed but to be reunited with the places I once loved as a child is bliss.

Location: Mati, Davao Oriental

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