I was, am a traveler. He was not. He knew my affairs with places so he accommodated this one of the many selves I have in me: the traveler. It was our first trip outside the Visayas. I handled the flights and scored a deal with a resort owner: a free accommodation in exchange for a few photos of his resort. He handled the island transportation and food.
The moment we stepped on Camiguin’s port, drivers shouted if we wanted a ride to our resort and dropped prices like we, or he, had a lot of money. I pretended that I did not hear them and asked around for the public jeepneys. One really shouted that I, a fellow Filipino, was unwilling to help her own countrymen, that I wanted to have all the blessings I got from my foreign boyfriend, that I was greedy. What “blessings” were they talking about? The ex-boyfriend—who happened to be American, who remained a good friend until now—knew all my sentiments about us, about us traveling together, about us who forgot the so-called inherited value of our skin color, about us the so-called underprivileged and the overly privileged. Traveling with a Western boyfriend in the Philippines often showed us the things we forgot: the value and the privileges or the lack thereof attached to our skin color.
Traveling to Camiguin was not as smooth as I thought it would be. I momentarily forgot I would not be traveling solo and momentarily forgot people would not see a “boyfriend” with me but a pale foreigner with blue eyes.