day 716 | november 16, 2014 | Zamboanga Hermosa

I had butterflies flying to Zamboanga. It shouldn’t be so strange to be meeting your father-side family, but it held a 26-year old strangeness to me. This was a deeply personal trip. Stories upon stories of so many years ago, shaping the lens with which I perceive my history. The intent was to layer real memories and grown-up impressions on top of childhood fiction, and to bridge the past to the present. I worried about being disappointed, too afraid to expect anything.

It started with a phone call. I called Mamang a few days before my flight. She would be excited to see me, they said, but I heavily discounted it. Maybe they were just being nice, easing my worries with kind words. But upon hearing her voice on the phone, I knew the sentiment to be genuine, and fought back tears with a steady tone and paced breaths. I haven’t gone for the trip yet, and I was already on an emotional roller-coaster. Whatever history there was, we acknowledge and make the active decision to move forward. And then, it was there again -- That feather-light feeling of everything falling into place – I was where I needed to be.  Doing what I needed to do. Writing chapters of my story that needed to be written.

Snapshots that barely scratch the surface… but hopefully shares some of the beauty I found there. 

Sati, Tausug version of Satay
Paying respects with my grandma
Canelar Barter
Fort Pilar
Doves and gunshots
Rio Hondo
Yakan weavings
Climbing higher for the free fall...
Merloquet Falls
Rubber tree
That smile says it all
Will be back with my little ones...

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