THE bakit list. Yes. Bakit. Ang mga bagay na tinatanong mo ang sarili mo why the eff am I doing this when it’s not part of the dang bucket list. We’ve been to Bohol many times via plane. But with the husband’s family coming to visit us from New Hampshire, he had this *brilliant* idea to do inter-island travel via barge with our van for a change! So his niece daw can experience what it’s like for him and his sisters when they were young. I raised a skeptical eyebrow. Choosy na ako, sige na po.
The only time I’ve ever ridden an overnight boat locally was from CDO to Cebu when we needed to get an emergency passport renewal for my eldest at the embassy (the flights were full). We had a suite then with our own bathroom. But even with the upgrade, the accommodations left much to be desired. I was expecting the same for this ride. However, when the troops and I reached the main cabin area of this CDO-Jagna (Bohol) barge, we were surprised by a bevy of double deck beds with a plethora of heads. Ooooi.
Saying this was a let-down would be a huge understatement! This boat was clearly not the Super Star Virgo. The cabin deck reeked of a wet dog stench and stinky feet. Ayay. The bed could barely fit anyone over 5’4. Each time I sat up from my spot in the lower bunk, my head hit the bottom of the upper bed. Ouch. We are a tall family!
The communal bathrooms smelled even worse. Lucky the men who can just point and shoot. Haaay. Holding thy breath to use the toilet won’t even help. I have to ask again, bakit? The plane which costs a few pesos more also saves time. I thought I was cowboy enough to do this after taking a roadtrip from Manila to Mindanao (I have an adventure, thrill-seeking hubby who appreciates all forms of travel). But I was wrong. I have a lot of arte left in me. All I could do was give my spouse the evil death glare as our noses were assaulted by that foul smell.
But then, as my family and I stayed huddled together in the area we were assigned to, I couldn’t help but appreciate a few firsts this trip brought for my children. Granted, they were also displeased when they saw what the barge looked like, they were able to quickly recover and saw the humor in our situation. Given that we were in a mass cabin, we saw all types of people, listened to sob stories of our “neighbors” by the beds near us, and heard a cacophony of snores and farts.
It’s when I see my children like this—learning to swallow their disappointments and moving onto adjust to what they’ve been dealt with—when I realize that maybe my husband and I did something right as parents. My children are the glass half-full kind of people, after all. They may whine, but they will get over it, accept the situation, and move on. And that can only happen if we give and present them with opportunities like this!
This barge ride was definitely a lesson on humility. I was amazed by my oldest and only girl who managed to use the toilets sans flushing mechanism (read: needs a bucket/tabo to flush) without any problems. She even accompanied her 94-year-old great-grandma many times. I think I was in more “distress” than her because she was the one who had to urge me to stop holding my pee. Heck, she even flushed the toilet for me. On our way back to the bunks, she told me, “Mom, you’re so maarte. This is your reality check!”
I guess, you can call that a proud mommy moment. She can walk with confidence along NYC’s Fifth Avenue, and yet she can also get down and dirty without any issues; and this is the kind of person I want all my children to be—soaring high while keeping their feet still rooted to the ground. I wish for them to be the type of individuals who can be thrown in any situation and be with different people but still be able to adapt. It is comforting for me to know that my three kids can be flexible, they can still see the positive in crappy situations, and they can respect people from all walks of life.
Travel is definitely not all about the glitz and glam. For majority of the masang Pinoy, this is their everyday kind living. This type of trip—that is off-the-beaten path and is not even on the bucketlist—is the one that packs a mean punch and a huge mega dose of lessons on reality. From time to time, it feels good to deviate from what is comfortable because it is when we get out of our comfort zones that we learn and grow. So bakit? Why? That is indeed an important question to always ask because learning, no matter how old we are, should never stop.
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