Make It Happen
Meet my local guides in Palaui, Bryan (left) and my primary Gilbert (right). Bryan is 16 years old and just joined us when were almost at the summit/lighthouse. While Gilbert is 18 years old, my main contact for my Cagayan trip. While I was fixing my self for the photoshoot, I asked them if they are still studying. Bryan replied: "Naka graduate na po ako ng high school. Then Gilbert followed: "Ako din po naka graduate na ng high school ma'am". I told them how about college, if they have plans. Gilbert changed his tone and said: "Mahirap po ang buhay dito ma'am, di po namin kaya mag aral ng college. To my reply: "Eh paano kapag kunyari may pera, gusto nyo mag aral?" Neither of them answered. I further asked, "Ikaw Gilbert anong gusto mo kunin sa college?" Bryan was teasing Gilbert that he wanted to be a seaman while making smirks and pushing Gilbert to the side. Gilbert told us that he wanted to take automotive or be a seaman the same thing with Bryan.
I continued our conversation while they were taking my pictures. I ask them on what they do off peak. They told me that they help their families in fishing. Further, I learned that there was a time that Palaui was closed to visitors because of some trash left by the people coming in.
I deviated from the topic and in random I said: "Pasensya na kayo ah, kung minsan nag sasabi ko ng sh*t ng paulit ulit. Kase ang ganda talaga ng lugar nyo!"
Bryan blurted out: "Nakakasawa din ma'am minsan." To my reply "Ay! Bakit naman?" Gilbert pointed out: "Eh kasi po araw-araw namin nakikita kaya po ganun." I asked them if they have a place in mind that they wanted to go. Gilbert volunteered: "Sa Ilocos po, tska ung mga napupuntahan po ng ibang turista."
I told them, they have a point. It was normal. "Eh kung ako man araw araw ko kayo makita magsasawa din ako" I retorted and they burst into laughter.
We went down the hill to have a shoot by the shoreline. After half an hour, I requested that we take quiet time to swim and enjoy the beach. A little past an hour, we were all sitting by the jagged ground while gazing at the crystal blue waters in front of us.
I told them:
"Nakikita nyo ba yang dagat sa harap natin? Ang lawak no? Parang di mauubos. Dapat ganyan din kalaki ung mga pangarap natin. Dapat mangarap tayo ng higit sa sarili natin tska sa pamilya natin. Kase kung ganyan kalaki yung pangarap natin, ganun din kalaki yung lakas at hardwork na ipproduce natin matupad lang yun. Yung gagawin mo lahat lahat, kase gusto mo yun eh, gustong gusto. Na kahit minsan may mga bagay na it doesn’t make sense sa ngayon. Ok lang na magsawa kayo dito ngayon, normal lang yun. Pero itransform nyo lang yang pakiramdam ng sawa na kumilos at gumawa ng paraan na makaaalis dito at pumunta sa mga lugar na gusto nyong puntahan. Pero balang araw naniniwala ako, mamimiss nyo to. Hindi nyo to ipagpapalit kahit saan. Hanap-hanapin nyo. This is your home after all. Babalik kayo dito sa harap ng dagat ng Palaui at magpapasalamat na natupad nyo na ang pangarap nyo."
"Parang ako ngayon, ung kasawaan ko sa Manila, pinagpapasalamat ko ngayon kase nung isang araw ginugoogle ko lang tong Palaui, pero dahil gustong-gusto kong pumunta dito, I endured 16-hour land drive kahit may takot ako na umandar ung sakit kong extreme motion sickness, go pa din ako. Kaya ngayon nandito nako, at worth it lahat-lahat ng hirap, kase ang ganda!."
There was a long silence.
I broke the silence by saying: "Pasensya na naglecture si teacher, haha."
They both smiled at me.
I changed my clothes and prepared for another trek going back. When I was about to go with Gilbert, Bryan called my name and told me: "Ma'am ingat po kayo ah, salamat po. Sana po makabalik ulit kayo dito."
To my reply: "Mga after 5 years na! Ang layooooo kase nito, kaloka!"
And we all laughed.
Let me remind the travelers and wanderers like me that one trash, one vandal and one irresponsible act can cause a child's future or even a community's livelihood.
Let us not deprive these children to see what we are privileged to see through traveling.