Monday, March 29, 2010

Highs and Lows: The Highs

The past 2 weeks have been a whirlwind ride for me. It's as if I was spinning around wildly in some wheel of karmic fortune. I have no one to talk to about it. So here I am telling my blog of all the smiles, joys, tears, and sadness of the past 2 weeks.

The Highs

The Friday before last Friday was the beginning of my long anticipated "vacation". I have not had a vacation in over a year because of work. Considering I didn't even get time off from the Christmas and New Year holidays, I was so stoked to actually take time off and head to the beach. I was fortunate that my good friend Roland wanted to hit the beach as well. So unlike, many trips years ago, I felt good that I wasn't doing this particular trip solo.

I missed White Beach, Puerto Galera. It has been years since I would go there practically every weekend. I used to treat the place as my escape because of my immaturity/inability to handle love and the loss of that love. Through those countless trips, I found friends and music that guided me towards a life direction that until this day I am glad that I took. After a while I went back to White Beach less and less. This was actually a good sign back then because I became less dependent on the place to help me deal with my depression. I was reckless and self-destructive back then (I was such a stupid kid). But with the friendships I formed there, and the music that we shared, it shaped me towards the person I am today. With all that personal history with White Beach in the back of my head, I was so excited to "come back home", so to speak.

The bus ride and boat ride was relatively quick. The only lag time during the trip over to White Beach was the fact that our boat waited until it was full before departing. But once Roland and I arrived at White Beach, I felt a joy that I haven't felt in such a long time. It was an indescribable exhilaration that came from my chest and outward to my limbs.

Roland and I proceeded to CocoAroma. The place looked slightly different from when I last went there during New Years of 2008 (That was actually the longest gap of time that I haven't gone back to White Beach). I'm glad to see they've moved the bar off the stage to the side instead. It seems they finally got fountain constructed and it looked nicer than how they described their plans for it when I was last there.

I like CocoAroma because it's not bustling with people like every other resort on White Beach. It makes the place feel quiet and more your own.

We were fortunate that "Room 1" was not occupied. So we definitely had to get that room. We've had a lot of history with that room (and the room's front porch, and hammock) that we couldn't pass up the opportunity to grab the room for this trip.

Joel and Tita Cora came on over to CocoAroma from their house upon hearing that we were back. I gave them both hugs upon seeing them.

I was saddened to hear that their house band called "Turtle Club" disbanded. I brought my bongos specifically so I could jam with those guys. It seemed most of the band members went their separate ways already. The Turtle Club bassist was still there, and was apparently the most veteran musician of the regular performers at CocoAroma now. The guy still remembers me because of the Brazillian models that were watching us jam during New Years on my last trip. Apart from him, there were the new generation of musicians. These youngens have a lot of raw talent. But lacked the skill refinement to really perform well. Regardless, they all managed to pull it off sufficiently and they were very entertaining.

They've changed the performing format in the place these days. The same house musicians would rotate between instruments every so often, essentially forming a different band that played different songs with each rotation. They would even call themselves a different band name whenever they do rotate. One band name thoroughly cracked me up; that particular member configuration was called "The Mighty Band". Of course, foreigners would have never gotten the humor behind the name. But for Filipinos, the pun allusion to "MightyBond" just made it amusing. Jamming with the new blood musicians was fun. It was fun stirring the jams with my playing and it flowed pretty well. I jammed with those guys every night of the trip. Saturday night was particularly amusing because even the foreigners who were there acknowledged me in appreciation after I got down from the stage.

Pino came down from Kido's place upon hearing that Roland and I were at White Beach. I haven't seen Pino in years. And it was such a nice surprise to see him again. Pino has apparently found love once again, which he emphasized he hasn't felt in 20 years. He would go on and on about how nice a feeling it is to be in love, and that his current song writing creativity surrounds that. That morning to early afternoon when he visited, we would lightly jam, and talk away about some of the amazing things we have come across in music. It was some of the most engaging conversations I've had in a long time.

The Saturday of that trip happened to be Joel's birthday, which was a quite a pleasant surprise. We were invited to the celebration of course. I remembered being at White Beach during one of Joel's birthdays in the past. So it was nice to celebrate Joel's birthday at CocoAroma again. Surprisingly, I met a good number of locals that I haven't seen in years either during that celebration. I didn't even realize that I knew so many people there from different trips until Roland pointed it out. I would remember a particular trip depending on who I knew a particular person from. It was the first time I felt that I knew practically everybody around.

I noticed that they had a poster at the back of the stage of a production we held at CocoAroma years ago. I found it amusing that the poster still existed. And I immediately remembered how much that gig rocked because my band came along with me on that trip. The production was put together specifically for my band to gig at CocoAroma. What a fond memory that was.

The entire trip was filled with listening to good music, jamming, spacing out, feeling the wind, breathing in the fresh air, boozing, lying down in the shade, soaking up the night sky, staring at the stars, etc. I have never felt so much warmth from people around me in a long time.

As Roland and I traveled back home to end the trip, I asked him if I could hang out at his place for a while because I didn't want to end the trip. Even hanging out at Roland's house was nice. We ended up watching the original Tron movie in anticipation of Tron Legacy coming out later this year.

By the time I finally got home, I had this general feeling of contentment shown through a big smile on my face.


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