For the first time in my life, I went to a buffet restaurant alone, at night, with tears streaming down my face; okay no, I didn’t cry. I wasn’t depressed, I just didn’t want my Banzai GC to go to waste so off I went. Banzai: The Great Teppanyaki Center is a Japanese buffet along SM By the Bay, passed the MOA Eye. I went there a little ashamed that I wouldn’t pay extra because that 1k worth of GC is enough to cover me, and I didn’t have company. Thankfully, there was no trace of judgment in the eyes of the staff when I said I’m using my GC.
The venue is Z Hostel so I was naturally thinking about the gory slasher film, Hostel while trying to locate it, more of word association rather than the fear of getting disemboweled of course. I was told to go to the rooftop because that’s where the “party” is. I saw a willowy figure on top of the stairs wearing a big smile; turns out to be Cai, one of the online people I’ve been in contact with of late after I signed up to be part of this new volunteering group called, Backpacker Teacher.
I was early for the Protons 29 event, early in a way that if this was grade school I’d probably be the key keeper, or the student a teacher assigns to open the classroom because he goes to school earlier than everyone else. And because I was early I had the liberty to photograph the venue without distractions (people). That’s what I usually do when I discover a place I find interesting enough to blog about. This one is another third-wave coffee shop called, Local Edition.
In mid-sentence, Arline suddenly crouches down on the ground, picks up a twig, and starts digging in the soil, “When I was a kid, we used to play with a kutong lupa,” she says, before I get a chance to question what she’s doing.
“Kutong lupa?” I repeat, thinking about the figurative term that Filipinos use to refer to a pesky, low-life person. But Arline, I realize, is referring to an actual insect, the larvae of an ant-lion.
Protons29 is an online challenge that encourages people to practice the habit of being grateful. It started in 2012, a leap year, with over 150 participants. The challenge began on Twitter and the partakers were mostly from the circle of friends of its creator, Kimi Lu. To explain the name of the project, protons is what Kimi likes to call people based from her belief that everyone is a positively charged being; the 29, on the other hand, is from February 29, which only happens every leap year.
When I went to Alabang for that blogger event that involved Butamaru and TUS’ Clay Pots and Skillets, I wondered how we would burn the hours between lunch and dinner. Somebody suggested that we try other restos in the area, an idea I immediately disliked because then I wouldn’t have enough space in my tummy for that highly anticipated dinner at TUS. Then somebody suggested that we watch a movie at the Commercenter. I thought, now we’re talking, what better way to kill the time with but to see a film.
When someone asks you why do you travel, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Most probably you just answer either business or pleasure, right? But what if I ask you to not give me that business or pleasure shit? That I want you to elaborate in one sentence, why you bother to wait for that seat sale, why you learned how to pack light, why you collect those magnets, key chains, or other souvenirs from places you’ve been to, and why you post those travel photos on Facebook and Instagram? Why do you travel? That my dear, is the challenge that I gave to 10 people who, just like me, are consumed by wanderlust.