Hakuna Matata in the Philippines


NagsasaI’m not sure about the precise moment when time was seemingly put to a halt.

The sun was ablaze as my torso bobbed with the small boat that waded through the strong current. I was in partial slumber as my circadian rhythm insisted on catching up with its supposed state of snooze some hours before. It was a long bus ride taken in the wee hours of the night. The next thing I knew, my light nap was abruptly greeted with a jolt stronger than the one before it. The waves were still in a brawling state, the kind of brawl that proved scary enough to keep my eyes open. To some extent, I was delighted to have been woken up by such a frightful nudge as my eyes forcefully peeped through the lids albeit the blinding sun rays. There they were – perfect shades of green and blue, the ones that little kids would pick out for a page off a coloring book with an outlined illustration of a hill with perfectly moulded clouds atop it. Easy on the eyes, a vision I was particularly fond of.

We were greeted by Nagsasa, a cove shrouded with soaring aguho trees, a bunch of what looked to me like props to make the spot look like an actual campsite. We pretty much just tossed our bags on the rattan table and benches before once again settling our butts down, this time relieved that we were finally on concrete terrain. I pulled out my iPhone as habit would force me to, and as expected, the top portion did not have the usual little circles signifying how much signal it had. There was zero access to anywhere beyond the cove. And with that, I thought “hakuna matata.”

I almost forgot how it felt like to be at a standstill, as if there really was a way for time to stop. In a fast-paced jungle I live in called Manila, dreams of silent sanctuaries arise amid the chaos. And here I am, entrenching myself in a state I constantly long for, looking forward to savoring every perturbed second of this timeless place.

In this moment of nothingness, I lay on my front side with only a cloth separating myself from the fine hot sand beneath me. I close my eyes and dream of far-flung places that await me. I envision the countless possibilities in front of me and the faceless people I have yet to meet. I think of native houses in Kerala, hot chocolate by a window pane in Madrid, trains in Vancouver, street food in Chiang Mai, zebras in Namibia and a misplaced Peruvian hat in Machu Picchu. I imagine the 7000-plus other islands in the Philippines and try to fathom how I could possibly see each one of them. A whole world is ahead of me and thrill comes with fright as I imagine myself being immersed in different sorts of unfamiliarity and wonder.

I shift sides and face the striking sun head on and continue to bask in this dreamy state of sorts. I feel secluded and at peace, it almost seems unreal. I’m not sure when the clock’s hand will suddenly start to tick again but I keep myself ready for it for my succeeding journeys.

I am thankful for today when all else has seemingly stopped. So I can momentarily escape and be hopeful – hopeful of brighter days ahead, of constant learning and adventure, of happiness and love, and of all these hopes turning into reality.

As I get goosebumps from the immense scorching heat, I grab my journal and pour out my shambled thoughts in scribbles.

About the Author: Monica Copuyoc is a 24-year-old former Editor-in-Chief of an e-commerce company who quit her corporate job for the love of extensive traveling. She’s currently exploring different destinations in the Philippines and abroad while running Bookie, her co-owned travel company.

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