been back in Boracay since Monday, it’s already Friday but there’s one nagging question that never seems to die: “Hi sir, welcome back! Sa’n na pasalubong ko?”.
The word ‘pasalubong’ has always been one of the favourite words in the Filipino language. When some goes to another place, when he comes back he is expected to bring ‘pasalubong’ (goods like foods, souveners and etc.), a homecoming gift for the family and friends. It’s in the culture rooted deep down at the heart of society. And I completely forgot about it.
I wish they know how heavy I felt during that Sunday before the flight that will take me back to the island. Perhaps they might understand, how heavy it was to come back at all. I was with my younger brother the whole day at his apartment, and it was quite ironic he’s the one acting as the older brother taking care of me. Yeah he prepared me breakfast before the fun run, even helped me wake up and sent me off for a jeep. He even gave me coins for the fare, or maybe a token for giving him company and letting him play my laptop. I simply wasn’t myself that day just the mere act of thinking of going back to Boracay. Party’s over brother.
One time while at home a few days earlier, I came to a point where I picture myself not returning to the island at all. You know I could just AWOL from the job and find another one in Cebu, because there I got everything I want: family, friends, a healthy lifestyle, lovelife and better career options. But I have to come back nonetheless, I have to face responsibilities and do my role for the company whose Top Ten Goals probably doesn’t include the employee’s welfare. But I came back for my friends and colleagues, maybe for the last time.
Aside from the people I work with I don’t know if there’s anything left here in the island that will make me stay. I suddenly found myself with nothing to hold on to anymore. True, I got my hard-earned laptop (which I’m planning to use to pursue my real dreams), and I’ve saved enough money that will tide me over until I found another job. And I believe my work experience in the hotel and tourism industry has raised my value in the job market, somehow.
Life in this paradise island wasn’t really that heavenly in all honesty. Here I finally met my match and pushed me to the limit. I work graveyard, twelve hours a day, six times a week and I’d be fortunate if I can avail my day-off. Physically, that’s bad news for the health obviously. I’ve been an athlete in different sports and is generally in excellent health condition my whole life until I came here. I had reported on duty either with a cold, a headache, flu, or a painful combination of the three on several occasions. My health is a sick mess, lost a few pounds, and its embarrassing to accept that. But that’s only the easy part. The biggest challenge I have yet to come to terms with is simply the lack of time to have, well, a normal life. Working at night, and sleeping on broad daylight is like being a vampire, that’s not normal for me. Suddenly I no longer have the time to spend for reading books, illustrating figures, shooting photographs, and run every afternoon. Sacrificing these things I love to do just to be good at my job really hurts. At least, I kept writing as my hobby.
I was only gone for two weeks and it’s really flattering to hear people missed you somehow, with pasalubong or not. Before my leave, some of my friend bode me greeting like enjoy your vacation, safe trip and God Blesses. I came back with nothing to offer. Life in here as I left it weeks ago remains the same, but I returned a different man. I can’t seem to give a good eye contact to anyone and I prefer to skip the food trips. I now speak less, smiles less to someone. My interaction to my co-workers won’t be the same again anymore as if I’m slowly vanishing from their lives. Because the only pasalubong I could offer is the imminent truth that I am leaving.
A leap year only comes every four years where there’s an extra day in the calendar. To make that day special I decided to make it my independence day . After all, not too many people are given the chance to resign on the 29th of February.