Route: Laguna – Manila – Rizal
February 1, a little past 5 o’clock in the morning, gloomy was the sky. I woke up in a familiar room, turned on the light and for one last time look at the big Philippine map I printed on the tarpaulin a month ago. This super big map has become my companion for the past month- researching, charting the course, plotting my itinerary, scribbling some notes on post-its.
I just came from a 3-hour sleep. The past two weeks were like this- little rest and a little bit worried for what’s gonna happen. I was afraid I won’t wake up on time that I even asked my younger sister, Jireh, to set her alarm clock at 5:00am.
I was cram-packing my trusty blue Jansports bag:
- 4 t-shirts
- 2 sando shirts
- a pair of pants
- 2 pair of shorts
- Macbook Air
- First-aid kit
All gadgets ready and fully-charged. I put on my ofﬁcial ISANGDAAN Shirt and then said my good-bye to mom and dad, hugged my sister and carried my backpack. It was heavy.
I was able to hail a bus to Manila at quarter to 6:00am. I needed to be at the original KM.0 (Manila Cathedral) at 8:00 am as some friends were already waiting for me there for a free tour of Intramuros led by travel blogger, Ivan Cultura aka Batang Lakwatsero. Friends started to gather together at Plaza de Roma fronting Manila Cathedral and after a short introduction about the journey I was doing we toured around the walled city stopping along the way to either photograph something or listen to Ivan’s piece of history. There was never a dull moment during the tour. We learned that Intramuros is the “Manila” before, everything outside is considered provincial.
Do you know that a total of 28 churches and chapels can be found in the Old Intramuros? Actually, all the religious orders are represented here. Speaking of a populous and bustling city right? It’s just so sad to learn that all the structures inside were destroyed during the World War II, except for the San Agustin Church because there inside was the Red Cross. Blame it on the Americans who dropped bombs on this great city. I have been to this place many times but this time I learned so much more. I actually wished Ivan was my History professor.
After the Intramuros photo walk, we decided to head to Binondo for an early lunch. Jeff and Melody talked of something about the Chinese culture while I shared a old joke on why Chinese-Filipinos have only 2-3 letters on their surname. Halfway thru lunch two friends came over – Aggy and Hannah. It was nice to see some support from friends as I begin this once in a lifetime adventure. I consider their presence a big push for me to continue. Then came a time to separate ways, its time for me to start the journey solo.
I then headed to Rizal province. Dead tired since I didn’t have enough sleep, I boarded the van going to Antipolo. I should have boarded the Cogeo van because I’m going to the Prayer Mountain. This is where I will be spending the next two days. I really don’t know what got into me as I woke up at Antipolo City. What a nice way to start the 100 days journey huh? Unfamiliar with the place and still sleepy, I just scratched my head and pretended that I’m on the right track. I walked towards the jeepney terminal and asked where I can ﬁnd jeepneys going to Cogeo.
I arrived at the Prayer Mountain relieved. I took a good long breath of fresh mountain air.
Before I slept, I wrote on my journal:
“A journey of 100 days begins with a prayer.
Fear and Excitement.
Thrill and Restlessness.
These describe what I feel today, I want to pinch myself to check if this is already happening. If the countdown [to 100 days] already ended and I’m beginning to do the journey itself…
I don’t know what the rest of the 99 days have to offer but I am glad because I know the One who holds that 99 days in His hands.”
I’m exhausted and my back and right shoulder ached because of the heavy backpack, its time to get that much needed rest.
Expenses for Today: Php 437
Apologies as I can’t retrieve the breakdown of expenses from Days 1-3. But starting Day 4 you will see where my money goes, yes, even the Php2.00 payment to public toilets were all accounted for.
Route: Los Banos, Laguna – Intramuros, Manila – Antipolo City, Rizal