As soon as the Easter Vigil was done on midnight of Sunday morning, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy. It’s Easter, people! The tomb is empty! Jesus is risen! The Glory of God has defeated the night! Hallelujah!

And it was an amazing kind of joy, of delight, to know that it is Easter and Jesus is victorious, as He always is. Over the Holy Week, I pondered over how his disciples must have felt, right after Jesus expired on the cross. I couldn’t even fathom the idea of their pain, of their sense of loss and how life could possibly be after their friend was buried in the tomb. They didn’t know that Jesus was going to rise on Sunday. Jesus spoke of it, but I’m sure it was hard to understand then. What’s all this rising again mumbo-jumbo? Why is our friend speaking of death? Surely he didn’t mean it that way.

Then I realized that I actually knew that pain. I felt it, too. I felt it in a miniscule way when every time I was disappointed, I felt it in a bigger way in the times when my heart got broken. I knew a variation of that pain, that sense of loss in realizing that what I had known for the past few days, weeks, months, years is just…gone. And there is nothing I can do to get it back.

Of course I knew that pain.

Earlier in Holy Week, I was reflecting on Jesus’ pain as the week went by. Apparently, Holy Wednesday is also known as Spy Wednesday, because it was day when Judas went to the Pharisees to turn Jesus in. The Gospel that day felt like a knife to my heart:

Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priestsand said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirtypieces of silver to him.From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus. (Matthew 24:14-16)

I could only imagine Jesus’ pain then, knowing that one of his closest friends betrayed him. For thirty pieces of silver. There was so much pain for him in the next few days, but I think the pain of this betrayal — and Peter’s later denial — was even worse than the pain of the crown and the scourging and the nails.

How terrible it is to be betrayed by a friend.

Even more terrible when I realized that there is very little difference between me and Judas.

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I was deep into making an Osaka-Kyoto itinerary the other day for our upcoming Japan trip this May when I realized that I was actually falling in like with the country during my research. I’ve always been curious about Japan, but I’m not one of those people who just really want to go there. I mean, sure, there was a time when I liked my share of anime, and I tried to learn some Japanese words, but those faded away, and I didn’t really put Japan in the places I really must go to.

Then my friends booked us a flight, and as with almost all my travels, I just went, Hey, why not? Let’s go. 

So there. I started planning an itinerary so we had options, and as I did my research, the excitement grew. I know nothing about the country except for what my friends who have been there told me, and as I read and read and read and figured out their train systems (I loooove trains) so we could get from one point to another, I started looking forward to it. So much that I was already thinking that I would probably go back, just so I could go and experience the other things we might miss.

And then I started thinking about how some people I know have that one place. You know, the one place they keep on going back to, the one place they would always visit and come back to. It doesn’t have to be another country — it could just be another province — but it’s their place. Their own place, the one that feels like home even if it’s so far away from their real home.

Then I wondered: where is my place?

Image from we heart it, edited by me, words from Kristen Hubbard's Wanderlove

Image from we heart it, edited by me, words from Kristen Hubbard’s Wanderlove

Sometimes it feels like I’m so late in the game, especially since I know of younger people who really pursue their passion to travel. It’s not that I’m really old, or that I didn’t travel when I was younger. I mean, if there’s any time that’s easier to travel, it’s now, with all the seat sales and travel blogs and such. It’s just that sometimes, I feel that maybe I should have started a few more years back — perhaps when I started at my first job or something like that. Which wasn’t really that feasible, now that I think about it, because I didn’t earn much back then. I only get to travel now because my job pays me well. I just wish that I could have been to other countries and places when I was 23, 24. That I was brave enough to go on my own, or that I could have dragged friends and family to go with me wherever back then.

But then again…it’s never too late, right?

Ramble, ramble. My point is, I want to have my place, too. That place where I would always go to, the one that feels like home even if I didn’t grow up there. The one I would always return to, and the one that would be my default place to travel whenever I feel the itch to go and still be amazed at the new things I discover despite the number of times I’ve been there. I want to have that.

I wonder where it is. That place. My place. Could it be in Japan? Could it be Thailand, or Cambodia? (Hello, October Indochina trip! Thank you, Cebu Pacific seat sale! :D) Australia? NYC, perhaps? (Haha, why not. :P) Or maybe it is in Europe? (Oh, I would go back in a heartbeat, if I can!)

Or maybe it’s just in the next province? Palawan? Batanes? Davao? Ilocos? Dumaguete?

Hmm. I guess the only way I’ll find out is if I go there. :)

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For moreness. My best friend coined this on the trip we took on the weekend before I turned 28, the one where I asked them to join me because as much as I enjoyed traveling on my own, I realized that I didn’t really want to spend the last few days of a wonderfully crazy year not surrounded by the people who have seen me through not just in last year but also the year before that. And the year before that. And the year…well, you get my drift.

So off we went to Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte with Travel Factor. For moreness.

From a sleepy bus ride to a choppy 2-hour boat ride that left none of us dry (and taught us an important lesson on waterproofing our things — don’t worry, my phone is still alive and safe from saltwater), the island welcomed us with this:

Long bus ride? Scary, choppy waves? Here, have a beach.

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