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Photo Essay : To Zambales to Mend

Capones Island, Zambales

Zambales Photo Essay: To Zambales to Mend

DSC_8034What did I do to deserve this extravagance of my color: green? Do I deserve this much happiness? Yes, the color of happiness.

DSC_8024DSC_8042 DSC_8051 DSC_8091 DSC_8113 DSC_8124 DSCN8078 Brown. Blue. And I, a woman, with uncontrollable black hair. DSCN8104 I had the guts because I was alone. Ah, no, the boatman was watching me from the distance. 🙂DSCN8098 It is a great sky and a great islandDSCN8135 How to model a sickle locally called “tabas”DSCN8137The madwoman at Anawangin CoveDSCN8143Anawangin Cove

Traveling, in many ways, is an act of mending, of coming to terms with reality. Traveling is always, always an act of moving on, of moving forward.

Zambales has its own starts and middles. The extravagance of green from the bus window is a sign that summer is on its way, and a month from the now the lightness of green will turn to the color of harvest: golden brown. 

“May boyfriend po ba kayo, Ma’am?” Mac-Mac, a young boatman, asked.

“O, andami. Every place may iniwan akong boyfriend. Dito lang sa Anawangin, wala,” I joked. We were at Anawangin—a secluded place that has both the beach and the mountain. The name sounded like a longing—anawangin.

Earlier, he left me to my own device.

“Follow nyo po lang ‘yong daan pataas,” he instructed. I insisted on trekking to the tower at Capones Island. It has a tinge of romance in it—being alone on an island.  Traveling is an act of owning. Owning a place even for a few minutes. Owning yourself some more.

After the laughter in Subic and Pampanga, Zambales handed me its solitude.


Quotes from Alice Munro’s The Progress of Love—the book I am holding in the last picture. One or another, I pondered on these thoughts and asked if they mirrored my own heart affairs.

from the story “The Progress of Love” 

The word gone seemed full of nothing but a deep relief and even an excitement—the excitement you feel when a door closes and your house sinks back to normal and you let yourself loose into all the free space around you.

Hatred is always a sin, my mother told me. Remember that. One drop of hatred in your soul will spread and discolor everything like a drop pf black ink in white milk.

Moments of kindness reconciliation are worth having, even if the parting has to come sooner or later. I wonder if those moments aren’t more valued, and deliberately gone after, in the setups some people like myself have now, than they were in those old marriages, where love and grudges could be growing underground, so confused and stubborn, it must have seemed they had forever.

from “Lichen” 

I don’t think she can read a map. She’s all instinct. 

Love is strange, it does strange things. . . It can make you mean. Love can make you mean.

At dinner, talking in a lively way to Stella and Catherine, he kept writing the name Dina with his finger on the underside of the wooden table. . . . People don’t have any patience with this sort of suffering, and why should they? The sufferer must forgo sympathy, give up on dignity, cope with the ravages. And on top of that, people will take time out to tell you that this isn’t real love. Those bouts of desire and dependence and worship and perversity, willed but terrible transformations—they aren’t real love.

They weren’t so bound, or if they were, it was a bond he had to break.

They used to say bitter and wounding things, and pretend, when they said them to be mildly amused, dispassionate, even kindly. Now this tone that was once a pretense had soaked down, deep down, through all their sharp feelings, and the bitterness, though not transformed, seemed stale, useless, and formal.


Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona! I’m in my early 30s and is currently based in Ha Noi, Vietnam.I primarily write poetry and short stories in Cebuano and lengthy travel essays in English. Blogging has become an outlet to think out loud. I live the life I set for myself. I try to live an unapologetic life. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at Find me somewhere else!

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  1. elmer says:

    The first image reminds me of “Summer of ’41.” The singkamas remminds me of summer. Tag-init na naman….

  2. I love these photos..they look so fresh and promising, just like new beginnings. I also agree that travelling is “a way to mend”. It allows you to move on, take stock of yourself and remember that there’s still much that lies beyond the horizon.

  3. Floraime says:

    Your blog, you, this. Beautiful, Jona. <3

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