Since the start of 2016, I had planned on traveling to different places in our country with my friends. But because all of our schedules do not permit us to do this, we always end up either trying new places to eat or play badminton instead (then eat afterwards).

Masaya na kami sa gano’n. Low maintenance ba. We continue to strive though in planning out our first out-of-town getaway together, somewhere outside Province of Cavite. Kaso up to now, waley talaga eh. And sad part is, papunta nang Singapore yung isa naming girl friend this month tapos hindi pa rin namin nagagawa yang getaway na ‘yan. Oh well, I guess sa Singapore na matutupad ang plano na ito. Tiwala lang, mga bes.

Last August, I finally decided to do travel blogging. This move was triggered when Taal Vista Hotel invited me to review their, well, hotel and overall services and sponsored my overnight stay. That experience opened my mind to new possibilities for my blog. Besides, it’s always good to get out of your comfort zones and try new things in Life.

However, I have a confession to make: I was living a lie for years. I was a hypocrite. I was good at convincing others to live outside their comfort zone but there was I, imprisoning myself and scared of doing things other than my daily routine. I believe my political affiliations made me paranoid. Doing businesses with them showed me the worst side of humanity. They opened my eyes to cruelties. The things I thought were only shown in televisions and movies were actually real. What’s funny is that whenever I share some of my encounters to my business colleagues, I always end up sounding like a crazy person because these people haven’t seen real shits in their lives.

I started to see a sad 3-year old child living inside me. I allowed myself to be consumed by the “system”. In this system, people die when they oppose the norms; when they go against the flow. But I want to live my life free from paranoia; from fear. I want to go outside my house expecting to see smiles from all walks of life. And I want to believe that I was born to this world for a greater purpose – bring happy colors to other people’s lives.

Prior to the National Election that took place last May of this year, my client in Romblon sponsored my visit to their province so I could observe and analyze the political atmosphere in the area. My trip was the first outside Luzon in 8 years. It was a 4-day assignment. I went there for business so I was not able to enjoy the beautiful beaches Romblon has to offer. I promised myself I would go back there soon.

I also promised that after the recent elections, I would distant myself from my political network. Honestly, I was no longer happy because I realized that my outside projects had become distractions in what I really wanted to accomplish in life. I never wanted to live in hiding simply because other people might learn my association with certain politicians. Naging sobrang open na nga ako about my sexuality and here I am, namumuhay nang patago kasi natatakot akong malaman ng ibang tao about my association with certain people. It’s pathetic and stupid!

One afternoon, my friend Cai (of asked me if I wanted to take his slot for an all-expense-paid Caramoan getaway. It was the prize he won from a contest by, one of the leading travel e-commerce websites in the Philippines. They have this Blogger Affiliate Program that encourages bloggers to incorporate their affiliate widget into their blog sites and earn commission every time visitors would use and book accommodations through it. It’s a cool program, since they aggressively promote local tourism. So without second thoughts, I said yes to Cai.

We were scheduled to leave on the night of August 26th (8:30PM) and arrive in Caramoan around eight in the morning the next day. Yes, we would all travel by land. Days before the trip, madalas ang pag-ulan both in Cavite and in Manila. Syempre, heto na naman ako at napa-praning. Too many questions popping inside my head. First, I was worried about the travel. I have visited Bicol a number of times but it would either be me driving or taking a bus. Questions like: “Sanay ba ang driver ng van sa mga long trips? Kakausapin ko ba si kuya driver the whole trip to make sure na hindi siya aantukin? Would kuya driver be taking drugs para he could stay alert all throughout the trip?” Mga ganitong questions lang naman ang pumapasok sa isip ko. And these questions are just for the driver ha.

And to show how crazy my mind is, ito pa yung ibang concerns and worries I had prior to the trip:

About my fellow bloggers na makakasama ko –

  • So there would be 15 bloggers who would be participating in this getaway. It has been a long time since I last mingled in a big group such as this. Sanay ako to meet other people in groups for business presentations or business gatherings. Pero yung tipong ganitong karaming tao just to have fun and socialize… Uhm, I don’t know.
  • What’s worrying me too is that I’m already in my 30’s and that majority of the participants are younger at mga “veteran” na sa travel blogging. How will I connect with them? All I have are my adventures as a marketing consultant. Theirs are cooler since they got to experience happy things while all I experienced being a consultant were scary and sometimes life-threatening moments. I’m doomed!
  • I checked each profile ng mga makakasama ko and their respective blogs. OMG! Confirmed! Mga veteran bloggers ang mga ito. “Okay, okay. Chill, Paul! Relax. ‘Wag ka masyadong pa-girl!”

About the people from TravelBook.PH –

  • I remember contacting somebody from this company to introduce my advertising services. The person who replied to my text message referred me to a certain Pinky Librada, their Marketing Communications Officer. I called her up and was able to briefly talk to her. While with her on the phone, she sounded busy kaya I told her na mag-email na lang ako ng proposal sa kanya. Gee, makakasama ko kaya siya sa Caramoan? Will she remember me kaya if ever na kasama siya? Parang ang taray kasi ng voice niya eh.
  • Ano kaya iisipin nila about me, considering that I will take the slot of Cai tapos hindi naman ako travel blogger?

About the Caramoan trip itself –

  • Beach escapade is really not my thing. Takot ako sa dagat. Year 2005 pa yung huli kong langoy sa dagat and it was from a company outing pa. The mere thought na napakaraming sea creatures na pwedeng humila ng legs ko or bite me or kung ano man ang pwedeng gawin ng mga creatures na ‘to, scares me like hell!
  • It has been raining for days in Cavite and in Manila. Maayos kaya ang weather on our way to Caramoan? Malakas kaya ang alon ng dagat since may paparating na bagyo raw sabi sa news? Kakayanin ko bang lumangoy to safety kung tumaob yung bangka na sasakyan namin?

Emergerd! Hindi pa man din nagsisimula yung trip namin eh sobrang stress na ang lola niyo. So I talked to Cai and opened up my thoughts about this trip. He said: “Just enjoy it”. May point naman si bes.

To be continued…

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