How does it feel like travelling in your own place? Will you still feel that same familiarity of it? Or will there still be new things to discover? All that and more I never thought could be answered as I traveled this weekend to my beloved foster city; Maasin City.
Maasin City is the capital of the province of Southern Leyte. It’s just an hour and a half bus ride from our hometown in Bontoc. And I used to live there for four years to take up my Accounting degree at St. Joseph College. All I can say is that I owe a great deal of my life in this city. She gave me a future when I thought my life was done and in ruins. I was never so wrong coming into this city. The people are friendly and really live simple and uncomplicated lives. It’s just so easy to make friends there. And the city thought me how to dream.
Last Friday I was able to get back there for a 1-day seminar (great, a fly-day to start a weekend!). And it was an avenue of familiar faces reconnecting and catching up with how life has been the past few years! I meet up with the gorgeous Amelia Mancera, our ate in College whom we really look up to, then there’s my college classmates and now fellow CPAs & public servants Melvin Sarsale and Eldie Laurejas (who also took the review and board exam with me right after graduation we are brave), and of course the awesome people at the streets doing their own thing. I love this city.
The seminar finished too soon so I had half a day to do some side stuffs: Blood donation and signing up as a volunteer for Gawad Kalinga. The blood donation was my own identity on this city, many people actually know me as a blood donor and I’m OK with it. I think it was my blood donation number 27 or 28th, I already lost count, but one thing I am really sure of is that it started on Feb. 25, 2006 on this very city. After that I was finally able to sign.up as a volunteer for the Gawad Kalinga, something I never thought I’d do because I do my philanthropy stuffs on the dark where people does not see me like blood donation, donating amounts anonymously, ghost writting for people and making artworks for free. But not in public and in broad daylight. Lucky me, GK has a planned activity that following day: Mural painting at the Boulevard!
I actually planned on visiting the Kalanggaman Island in Palompon, Leyte that weekend with my brother but due to his tight schedule we have to cancel it for the future. But still I’m cool with it, mural painting for a weekend with a one-night stay on an island paradise. Not a bad Replacement.
Mural Day! I came an hour late during the start of the activity because I still have to travel back to my home the previous day and travel back again to the city. But once I got there I was surprised to see only a few volunteer were there in the area and the heat was simply exhausting. I was even more surprised to learn that there are more blocks to paint than the number of artists out there (only 4 of us). You can only imagine me freaking out “what the heck am i doing here?”, first I don’t have any design to start with, and secondly I have no previous experience in painting! But I’m not the kind of person who backs down from ART challenges. I just drew with my heart’s desire and prayed hard my paints will follow through. I managed though, i think.
Here’s what I came up on the first day:
I practically spent the whole Saturday drawing that face of the woman. That’s a whole lot of time under the torturing heat of the sun because I have to learn firsthand how to mix paints and rehashing the outline of the figures (sure I draw can but on paper not on a massive scale of a wall). So it’s quite a learning experience.
After the exhausting day, I opted not to stay in the city for the night.. I went straight to Paradise Island! The Canigao Isalnd in Matalom, Leyte (my mother’s hometown) just half an hour’s bus ride away from Maasin. I actually did bring a tent so I camped out there with only a bottle of water and a loaf of wheat bread for my provisions (dinner & breakfast). Yeah I love the island so much, I don’t care if I was alone out there tired and practically hungry. I’ve been here for the nth time and everytime it never fails to surprise me. Para lang ako nagcheck-in sa isla. Life’s a beach man.
Sunday morning. Barely had sleep at all in the island because of the noise of the multitude of people visiting the island as their last hurrah this summer. The moon was up and bright the previous night, and the people we’re simply very much alive like vampires and werewolves. By sunrise I swim a little, attacked the wheat bread and waited for the first trip out back to Maasin City.
It’s the second day of the mural activity and the heat was even more overwhelming that I was forced to suit up my sweater just to shield my hands from being burned alive. Then I realized I have another 8 hours to finish this mural and I was not even halfway. So Fast was the name of the game for D2. I just put a sky background cover for the portrait of the girl, some vines and some silhouette of runners enjoying the sunset. Tranquility Day & Night, that could be the title of my mural. At the end of the day I was happy with the result.
Man she’s beautiful. I think that’s the unanimous reaction of the people passing by. It’s such a heart-warming experience hearing those compliments on my work. I guess all those portraits I did paid off in this one – Big Time! I hope she’s real so I could kiss her ^_^.
So there it’s finished! But all that would never be possible if not for those wonderful people/artists I was with during the whole time. They are Kuya Pulong, Alvin and Dave These guys helped me a lot from teaching me how to paint, how to mix and those overflowing compliments when they are the real people who deserve it! Also to Gawad Kalinga Maasin for the invitation and the supplies and food they provided us. I’m lucky and glad to have met such new friends.
I guess it’s not a bad day to start my volunteering day for Gawad Kalinga. And finally I love to thanks Miss Chic of Tacloban City for being that catalyst why I even joined GK at the first place. You’re existence means a lot to me, perhaps more than we could ever know. It’s not everyday I’d meet a girl who runs marathons, who write (and blogs) the goodness of a live well-lived, who helps the underprivileged and someone who travels fearlessly for the sick fun of it. See I’m not alone this world! ME. NOT. ALONE. There’s just so many things I wanted to say to her but I guess that could wait if we ever meet. I’m glad there’s a kindred soul like mine out there.
So that’s how I ended my summer! With loud bang on the wall, haha. A travelling artist of my own city. That’s completely unheard of.