My first visit of Bohol was in May 2008 when I still use the film camera
and the second was in November 2009 when I was able to have my first digicam.
I dream of going back there and enjoy their white sand beach...
I wish the Boholanos Strength of spirit.
I fervently pray that they will find new sources strength in these crumblings.
Photo taken from http://www.bohol.ph/
One of the essential virtues of travelling is wonderment. If one wanders as a task or to pass the time, one cannot embody such a virtue. In fact, there is no point in travelling when one does not have the capacity to find joy in simple things as children often do.
We often associate wonderment to children, which is, in fact, very apt. Children wonder at anything from thousands of hills to hundreds of sea urchins. This is, I believe, one thing adults should not overgrow from.
All churches are the same. All mountains are the same. All beaches are the same. Sure, but it takes a traveller to embrace each visit to these churches, mountains or beaches special. Aside from historical insights and relaxation, a traveller is often drawn to these spots with awe both by its uniqueness and even, by its plainness.
To revisit this childhood virtue and to ultimately, adapt this travelling virtue, one, I believe, should start in Bohol. I grew up remembering that I once memorized among others the definitions of a mountain, a plateau and a hill. I remembered it in my elementary social studies class. I just remembered that I could define well these bodies of land when I was a child but grew up forgetting them, of course.
On my first visit to Bohol's hundreds of hills, I must be anticipating the visit too much. From the long highway we traversed, I could see ordinary mountains (Oh yes, all protruding body of land became mountains to me because I am a grown up already), plenty of them. Taking lightly the mountains with grasses and trees sprouting, I quickly told myself with evident trace of disappointment, “Oh, so these are the hills.”
Just when I told myself this, the van took a turn to a winding road filled with tourist buses and vans and ended up on a higher portion. We are then instructed to climb the man-made concrete stairs up to “see” the chocolate hills. A genius bulb flashed before I made a step up: I told myself, these hills are brown during summer so they are called chocolate hills and since it was not summer on this visit, they must be green hills for sure and I should call them chocolate mint hills. (Hahaha, I remembered something useful from my social studies class, then.)
After my struggles in going up step by step, my disappointment also vanished step by step along the way. The hills, hundreds of them, can be seen while we are going up. And when I finally reached the top of the highest hill, one hill sacrificed in order to have a human view of the beauty of one of the nature's wonder, I was simply speechless. I simply felt I was on top of the world. I closed my eyes to feel the heat of the sun and the breeze and the presence of the Creator all at once. When I opened my eyes, the hills, hundreds of them sprouting here and there, awakened the sense of wonderment in me, the child in me. I told myself, it is all worth it. This is way beyond definitions, way beyond my social studies book, this is a re-education of a child within.