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Snippets from the Diary:

The islandness of Busuanga is different from that of Siargao or Malapascua. Restaurants, coffee shops, bars interjected between small local stores, oddly positioned between a cement shop and a vulcanizing shop. Everything is scattered and in disarray. Everyone seemed comfortable with the indistinguishableness between the seeming luxury and utter poverty. Everything shared a place named Busuanga.

But. But. It was the extremes—the richest and the poorest that were pushed towards the sea: the most extravagant resorts stood proudly, exclusively on surrounding islands, while the poor’s stilt houses staggered in the slum.

***

The moon in its round grandeur lit our way to the hundreds of stilt houses outlining the coast facing Coron Island. Rigor—a Tagbanua I met at the entrance of Baracuda—guided me through the alleys and brought me to his uncle chairman—Rudolfo. There he was—too regal, too royal for the slum. He wore a shell necklace and a silver chain—the kind that dons or goons wear. His rings, watch, and silver necklace did not match the dismalness of the slum.  What made him seek the complexity of Busuanga? What made him leave the simplicity of his ancestral domain.

I left without asking these questions, without visiting the place I was supposed to visit.

Coron, I’m coming back soon.

***

While the Western backpackers talked about their open-ended trips here at Coffee Kong, a boy just passed by, could barely walk with his pained foot.

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***

I finished a book  in Coron—my first fiction this year. Interestingly, that book was sent by a stranger from UK—a Turkish guy who took my class once. Turkey by default is Orhan Pamuk.He recommended Elif Shafak, considered as the female Paulo Coehlo in Turkey.

Indeed, it was a Paulo Coehlo-ish book—a self-help book that I find too ensnaring.

In entirety, I found the book too loose to serve its purpose. It was worth knowing though that even Rumi was a victim of his time. It was the characters of Shams and Aziz that I find lovely.

In Coron, I met several nationalities and embarrassed myself by asking about their writers: Amos Oz, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Wislawa Szymborska to name a few.

***

If we are the same person before and after we loved, that means we haven’t loved enough.

How can love be worthy of its name if one selects solely the pretty things and leaves out the hardships? It is easy to enjoy the good and dislike the bad. Anybody can do that. The real challenge is to love the good and the bad together, not because you need to take the rough with the smooth but because you need to go beyond such descriptions and accept love in its entirety.

Fret not where the road will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step. That’s the hardest part and that’s what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Do not go with the flow. Be the flow.

***

Trying to be the flow,

Jona

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About Jona Branzuela Bering

I'm a writer and photographer from Cebu, Philippines. Most of the time, I travel solo. I travel to write and to live. When in the city, I garden and become a slave of four cats. I’m a plant thief and reader by midnight. I maintain a travel column “Down South” on Interaksyon.com—TV5′s news portals—and write for Sun.Star, Bisaya, Manila Bulletin, and other publications. I accept writing and photography assignments. For inquiries and collaboration, email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com

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2 Responses so far.

  1. I’ve always wanted to go back to Coron but for some reason it hasn’t fallen into place yet. Can’t believe we spent just three days there the first time. It’s so big and mysterious and I’d love to meet Tagbanuas still living on one of the islands! Love this post! <3

    • Hi, Nikka! The main reason I went to Coron was to document and observe the daily lives of the Tagbanuas. But hesitation and doubt took over me. I’m going back before the year ends. I could not believe to meet a lot of Bisdaks living, adopted by the Tagbanuas.

      Thank you!

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