I was fresh from a send off date with my father at Clark International Airport when I found myself waiting inside a convenient shop drinking a cuppa joe while waiting for my ride which happens to be a friend who's been randomly inviting me over to join him on his escapades. Long story short, I have been a very willing and grateful victim. And this time, it's Destination Baler!
Baler is a town in Aurora way up north. What used to be a grueling 8 hour travel by land now only takes close to 4-6 hours depending on your ability to drive up and down the steeps and curves. It was a long therapeutic ride and personally, I think that's where and when the magic starts taking place. Your mind recognizes the effort, a mere futile attempt to distance yourself from everything else as you accelerate and leave everything behind even just for a while. Your mind recognizes the change and so it adapts.
Arriving in Baler late at night, checking in the hotel and just lying down on fresh and crisp sheets with absolutely nothing on your mind is a luxury I never thought I needed. Or waking up just in time to catch the big breakfast buffet gifted to you in the same hotel whose bed makes you never want to leave. Usually when I travel, it's jampacked with activities and with minimal to none opportunities to lie and lounge around. This travel begged to differ and I gave in. I had zero plans and I was okay with it - I wanted to freely take in what the day has to offer and not force something to happen by planning and constantly trying to tick things off a to-do list.
Four days, I had four days to enjoy Baler in my own terms and if anything, it has turned me into a waterlust. There's something reassuring about the constant waves that will be waiting for you when you wake up in the morning and will be sending you back to slumber in the evening. That's why I think you don't need to rush into learning how to ride or surf one immediately because it is a lifestyle, not a race or a competition. Some things won't happen overnight nor over the one hour crash surfing course. Some things take time. Some things don't. Like learning how to drive a manual ATV or you know, your life even when in reality, you don't know how to yet. Take the wheel, shift the gears and drive at your own pace.
Sleeping in Bulacan and waking up in Baler? My one personal miracle waiting to happen. My one item off my non-existing bucketlist. My one experience I never knew I needed. And my one happy memory I will always be grateful to have within my reach.