Batanes and of making the dream happen

Batanes' signature rolling hills

February 23, 2014 marked the day my journey of being deeply in love with traveling reached another milestone. The day when I let the sun kissed my skin, and the waves touched my feet. That day I made love with Batanes, is the day I will never forget.

The making of the dream

I remember that one time as I came across some blogs about Batanes. With a resounding voice, I said to myself, Someday I’ll be there. I never thought how powerful those words can be, that last November, instead of only booking a flight back home, I ended up booking another flight to the province of my dreams.

Before the trip, I was already questioning myself if I was doing the right thing. I kept my plans from my family for I know that they will have something to say. For years, I have been seeking for their approval, but all I keep getting is a silent treatment.

The day came, and I went to Batanes with no plans at all. My friends and I were all seated on the plane ready for take-off, and I heard the sound of the engine roaring, but it was incomparable to the sound of my heart thumping so fast.

Few minutes 'til take off

Few minutes before arrival, I was just about to burst in tears. As I took my first step in Batanes, I turned my back against my friends and wiped away the tears. I was emotional because it all felt too surreal. I couldn’t be more proud for being able to keep my promise of making that dream happen.

The Batanes state of mind

What I wanted to do that time was to search for myself. I was fighting over the idea of doing a solo travel or joining my friends. It was one of those times I felt as if I wanted to be alone, when all I really wanted was someone to make me feel that I am not.

I took my bike with me and started to pedal. I was screaming on the inside but I tried to contain it as much as possible. I was pedaling too fast, that at one point, I almost got into an accident. I laid down on the empty road and after several minutes, I picked myself up and decided to go on a walk.

MrBratpacker - Batanes

I associated what happened with life in general.

“Life is more like biking; you need to push yourself to get to where you want to be and push yourself more to get further. We can’t become who we are if we stay exactly where we are.”

The one to fall in love with

She’s like Maria Clara, elusive and refined. She’s one of a kind, a classic that has the ability to captivate everyone with her almost rustic charm. With each step I took and every sight I saw, it made me helplessly fall in love with her. Batanes is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and it is more real than any place I have been to.

MrBratpacker - Batanes

MrBratpacker - Batanes

We immersed ourselves in a culture we thought can only be closely-experienced through textbooks and blogs. We stayed in a stone house and tried cuisines that can only be tasted in Batanes. It showed to us how simple but happy life can be. And day by day, I fell in love with her deeper and deeper.

MrBratpacker - Batanes

Not only was I hypnotized. The trip confirmed what I am made to do and it made me realize that I am half a heart whenever I am not on the road.

The “why” on why I travel

The trip was able to answer the questions I never dared to ask. The question that cornered me since, that same question people and even my family asks me, and that question I just can’t give an honest answer to.  The biggest mystery on why I travel.

I sat on a stone overlooking the vast Batanes Sea and I asked myself the question, “Ken, why?” I closed my eyes and searched for an answer. Everything, then, came like waves of emotions and I found myself completely and helplessly drowning.

The only thing I know is that I travel to get there, without any single idea on where “there” is. I may be one of those who are constantly searching for that something, never really knowing what that something is, or never knowing where to start. I am one of those who are always on the lookout, tirelessly filling what they think are missing.

MrBratpacker - Batanes

All I know is traveling makes me feel grounded. I can’t just abandon the very thing that makes me feel alive and has taught me a whole lot of life lessons. If before I was that someone who is in search for happiness, now, traveling made me realize that my happiness lies in the happiness of others.

The parting time

The night before we went home, we came to talk with Ate Crisan, our host, with her story on how she ended up in Batanes. It was love that brought her there, and it moved me. It made me realize that though I may not have a support system behind me, I may not be that financially well-off, and even if the world turns its back on me, I should not ignore what my heart pumps for. That after everything, I believe that my heart and this love will bring me to a place where I know I belong.

MrBratpacker - Batanes

The whole experience has been off the scale. Those moments I know will all be stories someday, but this is not just another story. This is my story. More than anything, this is me keeping my dreams alive, this is me establishing the kind of person that I want to be.

Just like the sunset, our story may have to end for now but it's not the end yet. You know it's not.

I find it hard to let go of Batanes, but I know that I need to. I courageously carried myself to the plane and bade adieu with a heavy heart. I sat still emotional, and while looking down the window, I said to myself, There’s definitely a bigger world out there and I am made to see it.

There is no such thing as not making your dreams happen.


24 Comments Add yours

  1. ee2dieem says:

    Reblogged this on Conundrum that is I.

    1. Kenneth says:

      Thanks for sharing Ma’am 🙂

      1. ee2dieem says:

        Hello po! You’re welcome, i love reading your bratpacking adventures, nakakapag-plan din kami ng barkada based on your kwentos and thoughts. Nakakatuwa kasi not many people can dream of going to places and actually do so. What’s better is you get to share and prove na It’s really more fun in the Philippines. *thumbs up* Thank you, keep it up. :)) I’m happy you were able to make your dream come true. :))

      2. Kenneth says:

        Besides from being able to chronicle my travels, I’m happy to be of help to guys like you. Nakakataba ng puso seeing comments like this. And as what I always say, you guys can also make it happen. Hope to meet you and your friends on the road someday. Thank you 🙂

  2. I was moved by your story. Continue to travel with all your heart and you’ll inevitably inspire a lot of people. Batanes is a dream destination of mine as well and if everything goes well, like you i’ll be realizing my dream this year too. Thanks to seat sale. Hehe

    1. Kenneth says:

      Batanes became more than just a dream destination for me. It opened my eyes and rekindled the burning desire in my heart to travel and see the world. Being there became a validation that dreams do come true. I was able to make it happen, and you too can make it there one day 🙂

      Thanks for reading!

      P.S. I cried for countless of times while writing this piece.

  3. Amazing Post

    What is the purpose of life? It is to become happy. Whatever country or society people live in, they all have the same deep desire: to become happy. Diba?

    Yet, there are few ideals as difficult to grasp as that of happiness. In our daily life we constantly experience happiness and unhappiness, but we are still quite ignorant as to what happiness really is. But for you Kenneth (IDOL) you found it through travel.

    A young friend of mine once spent a long time trying to work out what happiness was, particularly happiness for BPO workers. When she first thought about happiness, she saw it as a matter of becoming financially secure. But I answered “for me being free is my great dream,” Everyone were shocked and they can’t manage to answer it. Naiisip ko nalang , kung kapwa traveler ko lang tong nakakausap ko, maiintindihan ako. Hahaha..

    Keep on posting inspiring stories… I will follow you and add you in my roll Hope to meet you someday and travel simultaneously. I love meeting people with same interest

    1. Kenneth says:

      What we all want in life is to be happy but in search for happiness sometimes all of us are equal, none of us are truly happy. When I realized that, I stopped searching. My idea of happiness changed, it is not a destination anymore but more of the journey.

      Yes, just like you I find happiness whenever I’m on the road. Whenever I follow my heart even if I don’t know where it will take me. But then happiness is subjective, my friend. Your colleague’s idea of happiness is surely different from yours or from someone else.

      Thank you Tanxong for the kind words. And yes, hopefully I’ll be able to travel with you someday.

      P.S. This is the longest comment I’ve received by far.

  4. Joyce says:

    So much feels. Makapagpa-book na nga pa-Batanes. Haha.
    Good job as always. 😉

    1. Kenneth says:

      Go, hintay-hintay lang sa seat sale. Meron ngayon yung isang airline 188 base fare to Basco.

      Thanks for reading!

  5. Nice brother! I was moved and emotionally stirred by your story as well. Now I understand that being able to travel is not just a hobby for you but certainly a devotion. Whatever makes you happy , makes us happy also. Hope to travel soon with you again and with our little sister just like our Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu days. Let’s plan everything when I get back home. I may not be able to say this to you very often but I’m just really proud of what you have become as a rubbernecker.

    1. Kenneth says:

      I know eventually you (my family) will be able to back me up with this dream of mine. I also know how hard it is for Mama and Papa to understand why I chose this kind of lifestyle but what they don’t know is they are the primary reason why I started traveling. They taught me, you and Bebs to follow our dreams. This may not be the life that they want for me but this is where I am happy. I know one day, they will understand.

      Thank you for the support. This means so much to me and this already made me feel like the winner. Come home soon and let’s travel together. I’ll show you guys how traveling changed me and made me a better person.

      Keep safe!

      PS. I wasn’t able to control my tears anymore.

  6. Candice says:

    Your entry about Batanes is so heartfelt. I am no literary critic yet your words get me. Let’s all follow our heart’s desire! I’ll be at Batanes next year I know.

    1. Kenneth says:

      Being a writer/storyteller is my greatest frustration. I am no grammar nazi and not even a literary freak. So comments like this are very much appreciated by me. Maybe when you are too inspired of a place or a moment, words just flow naturally and that’s what happened here. Even until now I get chills whenever I remember that exact moment when I first stepped my foot on the province of my dreams. You’ll be there, I know, you’ll get there.

      Yes, here’s to following all our heart’s desire! (throwing an imaginary kampai)

      Thanks Candice!

  7. Jizelle says:

    Batanes is one of my dream destinations. Sna nga makapunta ako dyan. And I’ve been wanting to travel alone at the age of 25, sana matupad ko nga yan na bucketlist ko. And i’ll be turning 25 this september, sana matupad ko nga yan na promise ko sa self ko… Hanggang ngaun is nagdadalawang isip ako na magtravel alone… But reading your blog inspires me to achieve that dream. Magtiwala dapat sa sarili. Nice blog. i was touched by your words.Just like you, i’m in search of what happiness really is. Gusto ko magsoulsearching kaya nga gusto ko magtravel alone… Haist… Sana mahanap ko ang self ko one day 🙂

    1. Kenneth says:

      Hi Jizelle,

      I know one day you’ll find the courage to travel solo, actually I haven’t tried it yet but soon enough I’ll get there. As to your dream of traveling to Batanes, kaya yan! It wasn’t an easy journey for me I tell you. I have sacrificed a lot for this dream. I went to Batanes having only a small amount of savings, I went there without my parents knowing, I went there carrying emotional luggage with me but most of all I went there with a burning desire to get there, experience the culture and prove to myself that I can make this dream come true. It’s good to know that you have somewhat found an inspiration on my blog but I hope that it won’t stop there. Please, make it happen and when the time comes, shoot me a message, I want to be the first one to congratulate you. 🙂

  8. nice blog 🙂

    thanks for considering Batanes!

  9. “It was one of those times I felt as if I wanted to be alone, when all I really wanted was someone to make me feel that I am not.” This line, and your intense desire to travel, are things that I relate to very much! Please continue traveling and writing. There are so many travel blogs out there, but the thing that really catches my attention is sincerity, and this post has that in droves. Happy travels! XO

    1. Kenneth says:

      Aawww. I just got home from a super tiring but fun trip in Pangasinan and being able to read this is quite therapeutic. Thanks a lot!

  10. Jepjep says:

    Glad to know you enjoyed Batanes. It’s definitely one of the best destinations in the Philippines. Here is a guide on the top places to visit in Batanes if your planning to go back there soon. Hope this helps 🙂

    1. Kenneth says:

      Great list! This made me miss Batanes. Thanks 🙂

  11. rosasaleng says:

    Pangatlong BLOG na nabasa ko na mas lalong nagpaigting sa damdamin ko na pumunta sa Batanes. 🙂

    Nice blog, Sir! 🙂

    1. Kenneth says:

      Maraming salamat po rosasaleng. Makakapunta ka dn jan balang araw 🙂

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