Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Homecoming Trip - part 1

I am back!!!

Actually, for over 3 weeks now. (Smiling sheepishly)

You see, I kept putting off writing this blog. Not so much because I was busy, but because I am overwhelmed with so many things I want to share with you about my travel to my birth country - Philippines.

There are just so much stuff I want to talk here and pictures I want to share that I decided to write this in parts. So here goes...

Okay, let me start by telling you the one universal truth about this topic. That coming home is without a doubt an emotional exercise. Therefore it was no surprise when the physical and cultural shock assaulted me almost as soon as I disembarked from my Delta flight in Seattle. First, because the temperature has dipped dramatically. The air is no longer dusty and humidity was non-existent. Gone too were the ever present wall-to-wall humanity and scattered garbage. Everything looks spacious and neat. Yet, I felt a pang of sadness for having left the chaos and the hot summer sun of the Philippines.

This sounds like it doesn’t need to be said, but I’m saying it anyway. This trip is different from the ones I had before for so many reasons. Mainly because I was able to join the Balik Sagay celebration. Under the Balik Sagay program, now on its 4th year, we returning Sagaynons were treated to a VIP welcome that included a barrio fiesta lunch at our Kauswagan building complete with folk dances presentation. Our city Mayor and Governor were there to welcome us.

I also joined the walkathon which started from the Kauswagan and ended at our town plaza. The walk allowed me to interact with fellow returnees as we talk about life abroad and what-not while trying to take in the new sights of Sagay as we walk towards the finish line. There were native delicacies and drinks laid before us when we got to the plaza to quench out thirst and hunger. And there were dancing too which I participated with glee.

Then, there was the out-reach activity. Balik Sagay organizer had asked donations from Sagaynons residing abroad which was spent to buy food give-aways for the less fortunate families in our city and other meaningful projects such as public toilets. I was in the forefront of this activity as I did an impromptu hosting of the said event.

The evening brought me back to our town plaza, this time to watch the Mr and Ms Sinigayan Festival. It was such a delightful presentation complete with very artistic and colorful costumes and dances. I was asked to be one of the presentor for the award, but I have to beg off because me and the mayor and some friends had an earlier agreement to go to Taliambong. Another venue where people come to chill out by listening to live bands while enjoying drinks and food which can be bought from a variety of kiosk surrounding the place. We intended to reunite with other SYC member but we couldn't find any in the said place so we decided to go to the Ratsada venue hoping to meet some of them there. Of course, the excitement of coming home makes me want to do a lot of catching up with friends. My vacation is about reconnecting with the people closest to my heart. But well, we were unlucky. There were so many people dancing in the street and it was so hot, we opted to stay in an air conditioned tent. After a little while I decided to call it a day.

All these activities occurred in my first day in Sagay. Just imagine the excitement I am experiencing! I felt like I always wanted to spend my every waking moment meeting friends and relatives I haven’t met for years and years. I wanted to taste every dish I missed and take in as much info about the on-goings in my town as I could. My only woe is that my hometown IS and ALWAYS will be a summer town all year round, where you could count on the sun doing a command performance 364 days of 365, where you could hang your laundry for a couple of hours and bring it down bone-dry, and where shorts, sleeveless and sandals are sensible wear and where the two local seasons are sunny and sunnier. I drank my water with lots of ice thus I ended up with a hoarse voice on my first day.

Indeed, when it’s a homecoming, you take the good with the bad.

Next stop: my high school reunion. Stay tuned

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