We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again—to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”—Pico Iyer
The sun set over a tranquil sea and, as if on cue, strains of Disney’s “A Whole New World” filled the cabin as our PAL flight touched down in Cebu on a Friday evening. The children and I had embarked on our first adventure for the summer, and the short, smooth flight from Manila seemed like a good sign of things to come for that weekend.
Every few months, I make it a point to block off quality time with my daughter and son, especially now that they are older—Pia is 22 and Leon, 14.
There was a time it was so hard to leave them both for work-related trips or writing assignments. They would argue over who got to sleep with my nightshirt while I was away, so that I would have to make sure that I left each child with something that had a “mommy smell” which they could snuggle with.
No longer needing that comfort object, we now try to travel as often as we can, each trip made happier by the memories we now build together.
This time it was a weekend spent at the Crimson Resort in Mactan, Cebu, which is a slice of heaven on earth. Home for the weekend was a beautiful villa on a hill on the six-hectare property which overlooks the Visayan sea. Each morning, a gentle sunrise would wake us up and the waters of a cerulean sea below us were always so difficult to resist.
Refuge by the sea
We began our days on the beach, where a stretch of white sand and clear blue waters called out to us. The hours would just go by as we soaked in the sun and swam with schools of fish.
As we lounged about, we discussed many things—politics, films, health issues, history, family, teenage concerns (my son’s), and all our hopes for the future.
Staying close to nature, the sea especially, seemed to have a magical effect on all of us—allowing us to open our hearts and souls to talk about many things we probably would not have done back home in Manila.
Crimson became our refuge by the sea, a tranquil place where for a weekend we could leave all our cares and worries behind.
In a way it was a weekend of discovery, of rediscovering ourselves, and one another once more. Away from the demands of work and school, and basking in the majesty of God’s handiwork in this beautiful resort, we reconnected with strengths which Anne Morrow Lindbergh describes as the gifts which the sea itself brings when one is patient and remains open.
Lindbergh, who lost an infant son and was often drawn to the sea for solitude, says, “The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.”
In the resort were many areas conducive for meditating or writing, where for a few hours each day, we allowed ourselves pieces of solitude. Propped on comfortable lounge chairs, I would spend early mornings looking out on an endless sea, hugged by clear, blue skies. I remarked to the children that at Crimson it seemed that God painted mostly in blues with splashes of green. To say that our surroundings were soothing to our spirits doesn’t quite capture the essence of the experience.
Of course, world-class creature comforts made our visit all the more memorable; the warmth and hospitality extended to us by every member of the staff was simply impeccable. I love how the staff put their right hand on their heart every time they greet you—sincerity that you can actually feel not only in the gesture but also in their smiles.
And so, on that lovely weekend in April, I became what Pico Iyer described—a young fool, a mother on a journey with her older children, and falling in love with them over and over again, embarking on a whole new world together, and apart.
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