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My 2022 Philippine Trip Realizations

The three-week trip to the Philippines has finished. It was almost a month if you count the travel days going and back – like my husband did, and yet did not seem enough. I sat on my business class seat, bought for me by my husband, holding a glass of champagne, thinking – thinking that it was one of the best trips to the Philippines that I have had.

Best, not only for who I saw and spent time with, but for what I did; for my physical and mental health, for my family, the properties my mother left behind, businesses I am working on, and even for my country, as I also found the time to attend campaign rallies and other election-related activities. I believe I did everything I came in there for.

I came back overflowing with inspiration, grand dreams for the future, and a heart full of love and warmth from all the love I received while I was there. To be completely truthful, I spent a lot of money. But to me, money can always be earned, whereas time and experience are priceless. I barely slept or ate while I was there, but there were just too many things to do and too many people to see and talk to. I had no time to sleep and eat. When I am back in the comfort of my home and my own bed, I shall sleep all I want, I promised myself.

I also came back with a lot of realizations.

One, I didn’t care as much as I thought about the pains of the past, and I have really moved on. Some people thought I hadn’t. Everyone, it seems, talks to me or about me in relation to my old bar in Avenue Square in Naga City. Much as I have to say about it, in the end, it boils down to: I was grieving, and I shouldn’t have been allowed to do what I did. But I had money and people took advantage. That was that. I realized people will always try to take advantage of someone [supposedly] with money, no matter what.

Two, some people think I haven’t changed; that they can still take advantage of me as they did ten years ago. Maybe it’s also my nature to not be as wary as I should be; but that is why I’ve learned to surround myself with people I know genuinely will look out for me and prevent people from taking advantage of me, because I’m too blind or naïve to see for myself. For this, I am thankful to my husband, my bestest friends from high school, grade school, and my childhood. I left Naga City when I was 16 and didn’t really come back until my mother died and I was already 29. I kept all of my old friends and made a select number of new friends that truly cared for me and they’re gems. One year in Naga City and my network expanded tenfold and my reputation went haywire, but in the end, I moved on. I made many mistakes and have many regrets, but I have made apologies to whoever I needed to make them to and made peace with myself. 

Three, many people love me. But not everyone. There are still people who dislike me, who don’t want to support me for their own personal and selfish reasons; and there are many of them, too many than I am comfortable with, but at the end of the day, I actually don’t care. If they haven’t found their [own] inner peace, that’s not my problem. The amount of negative feelings they harbor towards me despite my best intentions does not diminish the quality of my life.

They say that when you are with the right person, you grow, you bloom, and you flourish. Some thirty-plus years ago, I dreamt of a man who took my hand as I was drowning and took me out of the water. 

And one evening, as I was sitting on the floor of the balcony of the house then that I shared with my first husband, sipping my coffee, listening to Fun.’s album for the nth time, staring into the night sky, a breeze blew and whispered to me, you must go back to the island.

And I did. And it was there that I was found.

He found me sitting at a table with a friend, in tears, because I had just left my marriage behind.

Some people who knew my first husband would say he loved me too, that I was the sun in his solar system, and that his universe revolved around me. I beg to disagree. Time itself has proven that some forms of love are self-serving. If that was love, why was I completely destroyed?

It took years for me to heal and be whole again. It took a lot of strength.

And the person who pieced me back together, what does he want? Nothing. Nothing except that I stay true to who I am.

And that is why I am here now, like this. The way you see me. I didn’t get to this point in my life all by myself. I had all the help I can get. And I am grateful.

Photos by Giulia Barbero
Photos by Giulia Barbero

I need not care what others think or say about me, I only care that my children and my husband know I love them.

The most important thing in the world now for me is that my husband loves me more than words, more than this world, more than life itself. And I feel it all the time, everywhere I am. I am the sun in the solar system of my children’s lives. I am wrapped in love so pure and selfless, the like of which I have never seen before. This, him, our children, our dog and cats, our pamilee, they are now my home and it is where I want to be for the rest of my life.

Illustration by Rina Albert-Llamas

I am now brimming with excitement for so many things that I am working on, and the only reason I can do so many things now is that I am strong enough to face the past and the future. I’ve found my ground support, and now I can withstand any strong winds or tempests that may blow my branches, leaves, flowers, and everything else I have, and I shall stand firm. If ever I fall, I shall do what I have always done – and that is to get up, crawl if necessary, and stand again.

Credit: Facebook

Categories: Musings

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Crazy wife. Mother of two.

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