A Thousand Summers 1
Saturday Evening Posts
January 10-16 Edition
Some of the happiest moments in my life is when I'm on the road, traveling alone just for the sake of being somewhere else. I grew up in Antipolo and I have lived in lots of different places.
But Manila will always be special. Manila is where I first fell in love, where my heart was broken into a million pieces - the kind of pain where living seemed pointless. And Manila is also where I crawled back, got up and moved on again with my life.
I don't always get to where I want to, but I always find myself where I am meant to be.
One of the many places that's special to me is Olongapo. I first stayed there in Barretto town in 1997, spending most of the time in Driftwood Beach. It's still vivid how the bus was navigating the long and winding road, surrounded by the mountains of Cabalan, with the radio playing Boyzone's Isn't It Wonder.
Isn't It A Wonder
I even had the honor of spending an unforgettable morning with 3-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee and PREDA founder Fr. Shay Cullen when I returned in early 2012, on the Preda patio with a breath-taking view of Subic Bay.
Fr. Shay Cullen Receives The Meteor Humanitarian Award
On the way back to Caloocan, I passed by, naturally, Bataan. I have always felt a gut connection with the Filipino and American soldiers fighting side by side during the Second World War. I don't know why I feel I was there with them, giving our last full measure of devotion in the name of freedom. I remember standing in reverence in front of a black granite memorial in Intramuros, Manila, my heart full of inexplicable emotions.
The Bataan Death March
Then another time, another marker, this time in Indang, Cavite on February 17, 2012. It was for the town's brave sons and USAFFE soldiers who died in Bataan and Corregidor. I was then living in Tanza, and I went to General Trias, Trece Martirez and all the way to Indang for no particular reason but making perfect sense to me.
When I visit a place, I always look for their homegrown foods. I got a pizza roll; it's cut up in pieces in a small rectangular paper plate like those ubiqitous sidewalk squidballs but you eat with a toothpick like cocktail pica-pica. They even had bottled water named after the town's nineteenth century Revolution hero, Severino De Las Alas, whose bust faces the marker at the little plaza adjacent to the Spanish-era-style municipal hall.
Back to Bataan, I took a photo of a billboard that says "Malayo Pa Ba (Is It Still Far)?" which turned out to be an advertisement for a local funeral parlor; the creativity made my day! The first time I was in Bataan was in 1995. There are two things I won't forget on that trip: the sight of a broken fire hydrant with water gushing out and flooding the street, and the stand-up comedy act Pork Chop Duo. I was a teenager then, and because of their green jokes, I almost died young from laughing.
See Our Story On Pork Chop Duo
Along the road, in Lubao, Pampanga, is where I found the best fresh lumpia in the galaxy. (Conversely, the worst is from a popular food chain which I first tasted in Market! Market! mall). That day was also the Coca-Cola National Blow-Out and I got my free Coke! Thank you, Mr. President For Happiness! The best things in life are free!
Coca-Cola Happiness Truck Philippines
To Be Continued Next Saturday