This is me running away.

And running off to that bosom of assured uncertainty that is home.

That messy. A last look at the shrine of my life in Bahrain,

It's never enough. Packing a life into a meter-high balikbayan box.

Kuwait Airways via Kuwait via Bangkok. This is in BKK. Some 6 years ago, I flew in the same airline. That time, we were coming from Bangkok, on a class tour, and was completely distressed by the stressful looks of the OFW passengers that came from the Middle East. I have become that distressed and stressed out OFW.

We are home. Upon landing at the NAIA, nobody claps gleefully anymore.

The eagle has landed. No big deal.

While at the baggage carousel. And trying not to stress over my realization that I didn't label that one small box I hurriedly packed like an hour before I was leaving, I couldn't help but overhear a conversation between two Pinay OFWs, presumably domestic workers, on their difficulties at work and struggles just to get home, the usual DH tales of withheld salaries, extended contracts without their consent, suspicious employers. A statement that struck me: Mabuti pa 'tong mga lalaki na kabayan, mukhang walang ka-proble-problema sa trabaho o kapag uwian. Most possibly.

Overpriced goods at the airport. Check. Cheating taxi drivers. Check. Bustling and dirty streets even at night. Check. Welcome to Manila.

Welcome drinks. Shamelessly crashing at Edwin and Tey's because I'm thick-skinned that way.

Priceless. To look up at a mango tree with mango fruits dangling.

I had to attend to some personal errands, hence the stop in Manila.

This is freedom. I can take public transport again without fear.

Samalamig in Cubao. Where I just came from, it was hot and dry, here, it's hot and humid. This is worse. Good there's street drinks to quench our thirst.

First stop was to book my flight to Bohol. But seats left was way too expensive, it was cheaper to go via Cebu and then go by ferry to Tagbilaran. I had to go to the airport ticketing itself because all other offices were closed because it was a holiday that day.

I am still at awe at the greenery I see around, even at the airport. What a lovely sight.

Next stop was Recto for that dry seal. To get there, first a jeepney ride to Baclaran.

Just goin' with the flow. This is probably only my second time in this area.

Late lunch in the Jollibee near the LRT station because for the longest time I've been craving for a Jollibee meal.

LRT, only my second ride on this route. I was more used to the MRT.

Walkway towards Recto. Again goin' with the flow, this is my first time here.

Next stop, Quiapo. Uh, not to pray, but to visit my suking DVDhan.

Election season is so full-on. Exciting times.

About to ride LRT-2 from Recto-Cubao, but had to change mode of transport.

For this meal with Tey and Edwin at a Persian restaurant in West Ave. Hah. I thought I was back in the Philippines.

A little later, I was off to the airport for my early flight to Cebu. 'Love the free Wi-Fi. There was none in Kuwait and Bahrain.

Inside the PAL Airbus to Cebu.

Farewell, Manila.

Hello, Cebu!

At Pier 4. I decided to go on directly to the SuperCat ferry terminal and ride straight away to Tagbilaran. I could go back here anytime.

Last trip and I'm home.

Inside SuperCat. Two more hours.

At last, I see you, Tagbilaran.

So, I was waiting at the visitor arrival center for about ten minutes for Ryan and Reg to come pick me up, which was the last thing I wanted to do, wait. The waiting time, was about enough for a virtual recap of that somehow harrowing journey, like a vortex that sucked me in rapidly, and out, as quickly, suddenly everything struck to me as real, overwhelmingly so, that I made it back in one recognizable, seemingly  sane piece, that tears started to flow out of my sore and tired eyes, just in time, when they came to get me. No fucking way. Yes fucking way. I survived.

To cap off this adventure of venturing back to the motherland, the much-needed body massage. Oh yes, I am home.

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