Capones Island and Nagsasa Cove, Zambales

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Hello, Lia.

While your first sight, smell, taste, scent, and sound have been inside my womb, your first real foray to traveling was in 2011, in islands off the coast of Northern Luzon.

I was 20 weeks pregnant, and back then, I haven't really traveled far and long. Your father and I used to go on vacations once, twice a year. That was only what we can afford. My work didn't involve traveling yet the way we enjoy it now, so every time I arrived somewhere new, I had the giddiness of a kid.

On my 28th birthday, I egged him to go to this quiet town in Zambales named Pundaquit. "There are agoho trees and beautiful mountain-lined coves," I said. Your Daddy, being the typical overprotective Pinoy dad he is, didn't like the idea of us traveling while pregnant. We had a couple of arguments about this. But I guess there is nothing a husband can do when a pregnant wife wants her way. "Last na 'yan," he said sternly, with conviction. 

It wasn't the last. 

We arrived in Pundaquit, Zambales at 8 am to sunny skies and an antsy boatman. At once, we boarded our small wooden boat and headed to Capones Island first, where the sun was specially harsh. In between snorkeling, I took refuge in a lone rock, rubbing white sand on my belly. Do you feel that, Lia? 

After an hour of rough seas, we arrived in Nagsasa Cove, far from the comforts of our hotel room in Pundaquit. During that time, Nagsasa was still in its infancy and there were no other people on the island. Just hammocks, a lone dog, and a long, agoho-rimmed beach strip.

At the back of the beach there was a serene lagoon, filled with felled trees and undulating pockets of grey sand. I walked to a pond, examining the sea from afar. In that moment, I needed nothing else in my life. Filled with a growing love for the road and the priceless and intangible gifts it lends, I touched my pregnant belly and said, "We will do this again, Lia. I promise."

In that lagoon, was a life-changing revelation: This is what I wanted to do with our lives - to always see the world a first time through your eyes.  I will fight for it because it is what is right for me. For you.

Zambales was the first of many harrowing experiences, but also many, many beautiful and enchanting journeys we had together. It was the heart and touchstone of our journeys. There is now an island in the map of my soul specially reserved for Zambales. For that lagoon.

I wish that when you are older, you will also find a moment in your life like what I had in Nagsasa Cove, when you'll say, this is what my heart says I must do and I will fight for it. Always choose what's right for you in those moments, for a life is only truly lived when you fight for the freedom to do what you love; when you choose your own path. Know that when that time comes, you will find me behind you, no matter where you are. 


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