Of Love and Beauty: Sabtang Island, Batanes

Here's the truth, and I'm going to say it only once: this blog sprung out of a broken heart.

At some point, everyone hits rock bottom and thinks he can never get up again. Each day feels the same, and your whole life suddenly becomes a big question on how to get past another 24 hours. Waking up seems pointless, each chore feels useless, and you endlessly ask, "When is this going to end?”

You are beyond rescue, and everybody knows it. But eventually, you learn to clench those fists and hoist yourself up the ground—slowly .. feeble at first, then getting stronger and stronger. Until you're half seated, slapping the dust off your shoulders.

Until you begin to stand again. And you stretch those weak knees, careful not to break them, or be broken by them. You lift one foot, set it gently down the ground—the grimy earth you've chosen to spend one too many precious moments of your life on. It feels heavy, but painless. Then you lift the other foot, and it feels more effortless now. Lighter. It astonishes you how everything feels so smooth and natural and easy.

And you realize, what took me so long?

The fact is, in all the time you spent lying down eating dirt—dirt you chose to eat yourself—you’ve forgotten how easy it is to stand. Better yet, how easy it is to stand proud, to face the world as if whatever it throws you doesn’t matter. You’ve forgotten the wonderful feeling of just loving—a feeling untarnished by the pains of rejection, disappointment and expectation. You forgot the beauty of just giving it all, because you always think that you should be rewarded for everything you do.

The truth is, love is plainly an appreciation of beauty. Seeing what others cannot, feeling something that transcends everything that u have right now. You express it with your gestures, your actions, your attention and your care. Right now I'm choosing to express it with words, because these are all I have.

We all have felt how it's like to wait for a train only to be left by it, to stand there on the platform with no choice but to watch as it quickly disappears from view: the rails growing longer, until a cloud of smoke turns into a wisp .. and then nothing. Watch that train go and remember the feeling.

But remember also that another coach is coming, waiting to take you to your next journey.

I must have been steeled by my past, made me forget how it feels to love, to love truthfully and deeply, without begging for anything in return. Made me forget how to be satisfied with just seeing beauty—even if it’s something only you can see. I must have been entrapped to this apathy, to this heart devoid of emotion. But someday, something so resplendent will come and it will yank you by the shoulders and shake you ‘til you wake up.

Batanes, you made me believe again. In beauty. In love. In giving it my all. And I just know—after seeing you, smelling you, touching you, and making love with you—that I can break this cycle of loving, losing, and forgetting. And that beyond this barren earth that has become my heart, a new love shall grow.

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