Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Found My Heart in Bacolod

We used to eat together, sleep together and be together… just the two of us. Everything seemed perfect; my world revolved around her. I just love everything about Lexie - her tantalizing eyes, her sweet smile and her soft lips. God knows how much I love her.

It was until I woke up on a cold and rainy Monday morning of October. I was all alone in my bed. I stared at the ceiling, thinking of what to do next. And then it dawned on me - it was just a dream, just a dream… or so I thought. Ever since the day she left, my life has been a routine one. I keep on doing the same things over and over again. And frankly speaking, I’ve lost my drive to do something new and exciting.

Work was suspended due to bad weather. After finishing my coffee, I went to the drawer and looked for my passbook. While rummaging my drawer, I dropped something on the hardwood floor. It was an unopened envelope from Lexie dated back three years ago.

masskara
(MassKara Festival of Bacolod City, Philippines. Photo by –hbm-)

I opened the envelope and read her letter. It brought back those bittersweet memories of us.

Dearest,

By the time you are reading this, I’m already gone. No, don’t worry about me, I’m now with dad and I would want to thank you for all the wonderful memories we’ve had. If I were given a chance to go back and relive my life, I would definitely choose those moments of being with you.

Do you still remember the time when you got sick two days prior our Bacolod trip? To be honest I was unhappy after you told me that you won’t be able to come. I know we have already planned this trip for a long time but I guess everything happened for a reason. But, you still allowed me to pursue this trip without you. I wasn’t certain if I’ll survive the trip without you but from that very moment, you taught me how to stand on my own feet. You were my inspiration when it comes to traveling, and I thank you for that.

bacolod-silay
(New Bacolod-Silay Airport. Photo by Pons Lizares)

I felt lost and unwelcomed the moment I arrived at Silay Airport. I had the urge to go back and be with you instead. But no, there was no turning back. Luckily, I met some friendly locals and gave me several insightful tips about Bacolod and their upcoming MassKara Festival.

I checked in at the hotel that you’ve recommended and walked at the busy streets of downtown Bacolod. While taking a few pictures, I noticed a group of people, holding colorful placards. I was about to read what was written on their placards when a girl hugged me from my back. I got caught off guard, knowing that I was just a complete stranger to everyone in the city. The hug was friendly and warm though. As soon as I turned my back, she smiled at me. Hugs were given for free. What a warm gesture to welcome their guests.


(Free hugs – MassKara Festival. Photo courtesy by RV Escatron)

Everyone seemed happy. Their smiles were contagious and I felt like I was with you all the time. I met a lot of people coming from different walks of life and I really enjoyed having a conversation with them.

I know that my life is about to end soon, but let me tell you that this is one of the best memories of my existence apart from being with you. People in Bacolod were warm and friendly. Their warmth and hospitability were complemented by the vibrancy of the street parades. It made me realize that no matter how hard life is, it will always be colorful no matter what.

I am glad that I met you. To be honest, when I was young, I didn’t find traveling an enjoyable activity. I always thought that it’s stressful and expensive. But because of you, my views about it has changed. I realize that when you travel, you buy experience. I do hope that one day, you will visit Bacolod and experience MassKara like I did.

Dearest, I will miss you so much. If you’re lonely, please do smile. Smiling is contagious and it will surely remove all kinds of stresses in your system. I can attest to that.

Travel safe and I hope that you’d conquer the world. I will always be with you.

Love, Lexie.

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Tears started to well up after reading this. I never knew that she enjoyed her solo trip in Bacolod three years ago. One thing for sure, she will always be with me.

Despite the cold, I managed to smile and reminisce those good old days with her. I couldn’t be thankful enough for those locals who helped Lexie on her trip. Indeed, those genuine smiles and warm hugs will be truly memorable to her.

I might as well plan a trip to Bacolod and experience the warmth and hospitability of Bacolodnons!

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Experience MassKara Festival, Hermosa Festival and Lanzones Festival this October. Airphil Express flies daily to BACOLOD, ZAMBOANGA and CAGAYAN DE ORO from Cebu and Manila. Visit www.airphilexpress.com to book!

17 comments:

  1. What a sad and sweet blog post. Is there no replacing Lexie?

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  2. murag sa Cebu ni nga free hug not in Bacolod... with Cebu Couch Surfers last 2009 if I'm not mistaken.:)

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  3. I was having leche flan when I read this. This is sweeter than my dessert. :)

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  4. @Ate Nat! Really? Oh, thanks! Noted!

    @Roman - thanks for reading this post!

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  5. nice blog....its sad and sweet...

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  6. This is so sweet. Nakakaiyak.

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  7. Thanks for reading my post! :) Really appreciate it!

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  8. Found this at SSC... Boy, it's sad but hey! Bacolod is just like 2hours from Davao via Cebu... Why don't you come over for the Masskara Festival... You might just get free hugs too... And I hope you enjoy our city...

    Bacolod, I could never ask for more... =)

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  9. Sweet and touching! Who is lexie btw?? Your ex? O.O

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  10. Heyyy! This is us at Free Hugs in Bacolod! Coolio!

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  11. Hi, RM, I was moved by her letter; I believe this is non-fiction? My hometown is Bacolod; I have moved around and lived in many cities but I still call Bacolod my one true home. I will be flying back there tomorrow for Mom's birthday until the MassKara festival, which again includes Free Hugs- Oct. 15, 6PM at Lacson St. I personally invite you! Here's the FB event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=270690509618876

    PS The photo is from Free Hugs MassKara 2010. I was also part of the 2009 Cebu Free Hugs and I can identify which pictures are from which event.

    PPS I love Big Bang Theory, so I like your blog design :)

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  12. Hey Dave, it's just a work of fiction. Thanks for the invite! Really appreciate it, although I regret to tell you that I can't go to Bacolod this year. I have no money. :( But yeah, I'm hoping to experience MassKara Festival next year... hopefully.

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