Romblon Tablas

In Japar, We Slept Under the Stars

Wednesday, December 28, 2011Ryan Mach

Even though I was told that the trip wouldn't take more than 20 minutes,  I was still scared as hell. I'm never comfortable riding on small boats for the main reason that the boat is small. A large wave could easily upturn it. My anxiety got worse when I learned that we'd be travelling in the dark. With only a small flashlight and millions of stars to guide us. Okay, that sounded poetic so I didn't rally against the idea.

It's past 7 in the evening and we were huddled inside a small hut beside the road. There was only one boat to take us to Japar, a minute island east of Tabogon, an obscure village in Tabogon, Sta. Fe, Tablas, Romblon.  

I was part of the first group to leave. We had to wade through the knee deep water near the mangroves to get to the boat. It was eerily silent. Except for the soft murmur of waves and gentle gush of evening breeze, we could hear nothing. It was dark too. 

The sea was unrealistically calm, I couldn't believe it myself. It was like that scene in the Titanic movie in which the ship had completely submerged and all that remained on the sea were lifeless bodies. It was creepy but at the same time, the tranquility of the water was completely captivating. You could see the reflection of the stars in the water, that's how calm it was. 

I forgot about my fears. Next thing I knew, we were hopping off the boat excitedly. After all, we would be alone on an island without electricity. We'd drown ourselves in booze, do crazy stuff, watch the stars. Pretty exciting, right? The island is owned by one of my friends' grandfather (Sila na ang may sariling isla!). He lives in the island himself with dogs as his friends and company. He's not completely isolated because he still goes to the main land every now and then to get his supplies. That night he wasn't in his house.
We didn't want to intrude his privacy so we decided to camp out near the vacant spot in front of the house and a few yards from the breakwater.  We only had one tent but we had a lot of booze and food to last the night. Setting up the bonfire was fun. We were able to find huge chunks of woods from a nearby mini-forest. We built huge fire but as the night wore out, we toned the flame down. 

We drank, shared anecdotes, laughed and stared at the vast horizon dotted with million stars. 

In a far, far away land called Japar, I slept under a million stars. 
[Friends preparing to sleep under the stars]

[Friends doing an early morning jog]

[Feeling lost]

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