Growing a Three-Day Moustache at Lake Apo

Time is like frozen ice in this tranquil place overran by green grass that fronts a small lake surrounded by heaps of towering trees. We must have stayed here for a couple of hours tops, but it seems like long enough to clear my mind of big city worries. I only heard and read about Lake Apo prior to our trip here, I expect it to be this large mass of water where you won't hear the shouts of kids from the other end. But I did heard the kids playing from the other side where small pockets of villagers' houses stands by the lake, homes that could pass up as retirement abode for the workaholics everywhere. I could retire here, I thought to myself, living in a small wooden cabin, I just love the peaceful atmosphere of the place. Granted there is internet connection though.

I separated myself from the group and sat on a small jetty by a tree house and felt the wind, just as I stared at the mirror-like reflection of the trees and the sky at the waters of Lake Apo. I was just a couple of months removed from a conventional job that guarantees myself a bi-monthly salary, but rids myself of freedom to do what I want. It's that moment of uncertainty that lies ahead that blocks myself from looking ahead in the future. A place like this reminds me I should go about the path I really want for myself, guarantees and none at all, at least I get a shot at liberty and free will without walking under that corporate ladder.

To say that I experienced an epiphany of sorts is a stretch, maybe I just realized I could never see places such as this if I'm more concerned about occupying that office room with a city view of the Makati traffic. Not that I don't appreciate moving cars and city scenes, its just that time often goes to waste being consumed by chasing ambition while neglecting to live, you need to balance both. While deeply engrossed at my thoughts, I suddenly realized that I've been taking this contemplation thing too far, so I stretched my legs and lied down facing the sky. This isn't the place to worry about life's big decisions, as tomorrow will present itself in its finest form, I try to assure myself.

But the peace that reigns all over the place got me back to self rationalization. This is the kind of scenery that ran through my mind when my boss told me the company is letting me go. Five and a half years has met its dead end. I spent a few weeks after that racking up my brain trying to decide if I should go out and look for another office job or just live the kind of life I always wanted to have. Simplified, but has robust opportunities not only to see more of my country but other countries as well. There won't be any guarantee of a twice a month salary, rather relying only on an online freelancing gig that operates like the weather, raining one time to dry and humid the next.

Earlier, en route to Lake Apo as I sat at the edge of the habal-habal where the driver sat up front, Ferdz next to him and Alex in the middle, we passed by a long stretch of rough road sandwiched between plantations of corns and sugarcane. Thousands of tiny flowers held up by each of the sugarcane's tassels stretched from beyond to a misty distant, and as the golden rays of nearby fields beams back to my eyes, each picture provided an instant charming scenery, its the kind of visual feast that makes me grateful I now have the time to stop and enjoy such fine details of the world.

I remember sitting at the jetty and running my fingers over my mouth and felt my mustache almost scrapping the skin of my hand. Either it magically grew a three day rate over a few precious minutes or I just learned to cut the crap with the normalcy of shaving, dressing up and going to work. This was during a leg of the #TravelMindanao advocacy to promote tourism in the region and I just joined the group in the Bukidnon part. Still, It was during that time that I decided where to direct my future in terms of choosing from my old career path to 'living the life i wanted' course.

Photo by: Ching the ViewFinder
My silent sit-down moment at Lake Apo wasn't life changing by any means. Cmon, leave that phrase at the door will you. If any, it was part of a week-long incursion that allowed me to prioritize what I really desire in my life. I've sat on a cubicle for so long, my feet deserves its long and many a days - of venturing to new places. It was already dark, when after we dropped by Shugah's house, that we found ourselves standing at the side of the road when no buses are plying the route anymore. I didn't cared if we end up by midnight without a ride, all I was enjoying was the light feeling of not carrying that worrisome burden of excess uncertainties in my baggage when I left Manila a few days before. 

True enough, we saw a truck that already delivered its contents and is on its way to another city. We flagged it down and hitchhiked at the back of the truck. Passing by a pitch black highway illuminated by the bright moon, I hear my friends' laughter in the dark, the wind hissing behind my ears, as if whispering to me "worry no more", right there I thanked my boss for finally letting me go and setting me free from the cuffs of my office desk. Even if this last only a short phase in my life (ultimately I might find my way back to the corporate world), I'd fast forward to the day I will proudly declare how grateful I am to be handed such  a blessing in disguise.

Valencia, Bukidnon is 2-3 hours from Cagayan de Oro City. Cebu Pacific Air flies to CDO daily. Like their Facebook Page and Follow their Twitter to get updates on seat-sales and other news.