Prior to this, I hadn’t been back to the Philippine Islands in 7 years. I used to spend every other summer here in the 80’s and 90’s as a little girl, diving out of my Uncle Bryan’s yacht while our family screamed at my cousins and I to get back in, fake threats of being engulfed in the water. It was all dares and laughs. I’d been back to the Philippines since, but had not been back to where my my cousin B and I were headed, since 1994.
The road to Batangas had always been a windy one. Now, in the back seat of an SUV with my cousin, the road didn’t seem as familiar. (Later, heading back, it would) A new tunnel was built. Waze had given us a way we didn’t expect. Then it lead us back to here.
“Manong, pull over when you can. I want to drive,” said Bianca to her driver. She took to the wheel, with me and my tilted head out the passenger side. She wanted to go fast! Without the road being full of potholes. A Spotify playlist was in the background, with the theme of living life free, to the fullest, or something of that sort.
There are many dirt areas to park along the Land of Rolling Hills. We stopped here, taking in the view of Taal Lake.
We we’re silent for a while, both of us needing this trip away from our home cities and busy lives. A second to meditate, pull it together, sigh, and check ourselves to where we both individually were in life. A biker group sharing the sightseeing location with us brought us back to reality, starting to murmur and study us, “that’s Bianca… I think that’s Bianca…” Calmly, we looked at each other.
“Are you ready?”
“Yes, let’s go.” We casually strolled back to the car. Spotify on. Ready to go back, after all these years, to Maya-Maya.