It was in this past school year that I felt the most connected and the most disconnected. But in all times, I strived to be where I hoped to be and most importantly where the Father wanted me to be- blessed. 

The tour company included this one special reminder before embarking on an adventure like no other in the Home of the Winds: What to bring- iPod. BATANES BREATHES NEW MEANING TO YOUR FAVORITE SONGS. 

It was a journey free of expectations. It was a journey filled with silent praise. It was a journey of ‘there and back again.’ It was a journey to remind us that “We are Yours.” 

If I had to choose one particular song for this camino, it would be Bukas Palad’s ‘We Are Yours.’ 

I had a few hours of preparation for this. Which I think worked best because I didn’t have to stress too much on things. Stress that also includes excitement and somehow becomes a distraction. It was, after all, finals week. It usually is before Holy Week. This particular song is listed as Jesuit 08 in my playlist. The 8 I guess represents us seven and the eighth for the beagles. 😊 

On the way to Basco, this song was on endless repeat. When we landed on Basco airport, I couldn’t help but think that we landed on the airport of Jurassic Park 3. The place, the scenery welcoming us, is far from being a mere cliche.  Just as the movie wasn’t just a mere cliche too. 

Overwhelmed would be a good word to start with. Overwhelmed that it rendered us speechless, while our eyes grew big and round in wonder and our hearts leaping repeatedly in excitement mixed with joy!

This camino brings to mind what Sr. Fids said about how the presence of birds, butterflies, and other earthly creatures speak of the abundance of the place. Abundance not in terms of materiality. More of- abundance in the aspects of humanity, morality, spirituality. It signifies the liveliness of the soul/ the life of the place, that it is able to gather within its embrace other living creatures too. 

Over hill and under tree, we drove through one-way streets located on very high hills. Under cloud, beneath the sun, we walked through narrow paths to get a glimpse of blue skies touching the sea, clouds dancing to the rhythm of the winds, the silent mountains standing tall, the animals creating spots of beauty amidst the green. 

This particular line from the song echoed throughout the journey- 

“When the world lays its claim on our hearts and souls, remind us of what is true- that our hearts are yearning and restless til our hearts rest in you.” 

Every time the winds make a swish and a swoosh around us, it couldn’t have been singing any better song than this. The winds couldn’t have just been whispering, no. The winds were singing on top of their lungs, reaching as far as the highest note, as it echoes the prayers of the Ivatans and in turn the blessings of God’s great love for them. 

As we move forward in terms of time and innovation, we get more distracted by all the things surrounding us. As a result, we unknowingly let the world claim our hearts and souls and we forget ourselves, we get lost, we lose our sense of being. Because our being does not only come  from within us; our being is sourced from the One who made us. Thus, the disconnection does not only involve a break from our sense of self, but it also includes a separation from our Creator. 

Although the space may not be visible because according to us we are still doing all things a good Christian does, but it is there. We struggle to keep everything in place. But God likes a little challenge, God likes to challenge us. Not test us. To test us sounds too heartless. He challenges us time and again because he wants the best for us, he wants us to be our best. It’s not that he has standards for each one of us. It’s probably that he knows, as a Father knows his children so well, that we are capable of doing great things (not grand things, but great things- they may be small in some aspects but because the good it brings as an effect makes it great) when we are not afraid. We can do all things with Him- when we are not distracted, we can hear Him remind us that constantly. 

Being without fear is a trait that only God has. With us being mere humans, we have to practice trust with constant faith and prayer. Then only then will we be able to gain the strength from him and have the courage to walk through a path twelve inches wide, for us to better experience the world He has created for us. 

Courage is not something that we alone create for ourselves. Courage is something that we get from trusting Him, from having faith in Him and His plans for us. It’s hard. I know. Sometimes the uncertainty gets to us, especially in our weakest moments. I remember having this conversation with Sr. V and Sr. R- 

M: There are times I feel like God and I are the best of friends. We’re really close. Then there are times na I feel like we’re going through El Niño, our relationship is very dry. It’s hard to feel his presence. Even if I continue to do the usual things, but those things become too robotic. I don’t know how to feel about it. 
Sr. V: That’s okay. Sometimes God wants you to seek Him too. It’s should not always be that He is the one chasing us. Maybe He also wants to see us taking an effort to be close to Him. That, with the exception of doing the usual rituals that we do regularly. Diba Sr. R?
Sr. R: Yes, yes that’s true. Like the usual relationships, He also wants to be courted, He also wants us to find Him. He wants us to court Him, seek His love and presence. He wants to be needed. He needs to be wanted. 

I guess what we do outside does not determine the kind of relationship we have with Him. What we have inside of us, what we do inside, is more important to Him. But doing the usual practice of attending mass, etc. gives us that sense of concentration we need, for us not to be led astray. We cannot just disregard them as mere rituals. No. If not for them, we would not have anything to catch us when we fall from the pillar of understanding. Sometimes when weakness seep into our bones, we let go of emotions. It is during those moments, despite our feeling of blandness, that God envelops us in His embrace through the melody of songs and prayers of faith. 

Thank you Basco. I needed just that. I am humbled by the truth that mirrors your simplicity.


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