If you have been following me over my Facebook and Instagram account, you will fairly know how obsessed I am with the dream of going to Batanes. I would not hesitate setting aside international tours for as long as I can set foot on such group of islands. I always imagine myself walking along the stone houses and rocky shores of the islands while watching the light tower and mingling with the Ivatans. That has been my solid goal for this year. But just like how the wind changes its direction, so was my decision.
After the first month of class, wherein all we talked about was the location and territories of my beloved Philippines, the raging dispute between the Philippines and China over the islands of Kalayaan, and feeding over the documentary film by the Department of National Defense and Department of Foreign affairs – Kalayaan – everything changed. In an instant.
I have always been firm on my decision of not going back to a place which I have been to already. For me, it was a waste of time and money. With the minimal amount of salary I get from educating minions and being in constant dealings with my ever head-breaking schedule, I don’t have the luxury of going to a certain place over and over again. After the expedition I had with my gang in Palawan (Coron, El Nido and Puerto Prinsesa), I thought I had enough of such magnificent and enchanting place. But just when I thought I was over with my first love, I learned that there’s much more. Much, much more.
Just an hour or more by plane or almost a day by boat from Puerto Prinsesa, I have learned that there’s another amazing place waiting to be acknowledge all centuries long. A place where the sands were pulverized like the face powder and fishing grounds that explodes with bountiful harvests. One of its kind. But this beauty is on the verge of destruction. On the verge of being conquered by our neighboring country. Yes, I’m talking about Pag-asa Island – one of the many islands of the Kalayaan Group of Islands.
I know I am quite ambitious and risk-taking but if not now, when? I don’t want to deal with the ‘buts’ and ‘what-if’. I have lived more than half of my life on the dark corners. I have learned something but I didn’t do much. It’s about time I take of something bigger and bolder. Call me a person without firm decisions, but who is? I am a Filipino. I am pliant – yeah, like the bamboo. I change directions. I sway and go with the flow.
I am still going with Batanes but I will also not dismiss my thoughts over Pag-asa Island. I don’t want to wake up one morning, see on TV that it has been part already of the Chinese territory, and tell myself, “What?! I need a passport in going to the West Philippine Sea? To Spratly’s? To Pag-asa Island? Heck.” I don’t want that. How about you?