Another Filament of Memory: The Day We Went on a Trip

A high school travelogue.

***

It would be another usual day, I told myself. But it wasn’t. It was a day that I will forever cherish.

The night that has passed through my senses was the same cliché I had been through during the days when we used to go out of school and attend outside competitions in several aspects just like our trip to Baguio the month before. That has been my farthest school trip with me alone without my parents’ perpetual supervision, for in every walks of my life, they are always beside me as if I would go so far. When the date of our educational trip was announced, excitement filled me but not like my previous levels of exuberance, and anticipation during our trip in the elementary days. It was simply a form of excitement that we would be free of stress even for a day, in payment for our hard works in school. It was a form of anticipation that we would once again go beyond the endless scent of the school’s portals as what we used to see everyday – the gravel flooring, the platform in our classroom, and the same faces of frustration for an exam failed by our classmates. At least, we would be replenished with a bliss of a different kind.

I was able to sleep well; and that’s the good news, for every time I go to bed the night before field trips, I could say, they were all like sleepless, dreamless, and disturbing nights – only being able to sleep for three hours or four due to overwhelming excitement. That eve was a rather peaceful and groggy one, being able to sleep easily after a day’s work.

The morning lights awakened me, or should I say the light shining outside which was still thoroughly engulfed by the apparent darkness. It was just four in the morning, as indicated by my alarm clock. It was tranquil except for the snores of my siblings as I went past their rooms, and the clanging of the casseroles just being prepared by my mom early in that dawn. So meaning, there was no breakfast yet, and I had to wait.

I hated wasting time, and I hated being idle at work. And to spend those thirty minutes while my mom cooked our breakfast, I pulled out my school stuff off my black backpack and decided to use it as my travel bag. Fortunately, it was big enough to inject my huge array of snacks, which were mostly chips, including the plastic bag my aunt insisted on me bringing it although I was not suffering from motion sickness, well, from a bus. If that would be an airplane, better let me have a garbage bag.

After stuffing all my things and trying my best to zip it up, with some gadgets I did not know why I should still be taking that iPod if that would just stop me from enjoying the trip and let me feel like the world-renowned loner listening to music, I began to start my morning ritual, said bye to my mom, and headed off to the school with my eager-to-fetch-me-and-worried-about-the-next-batch-of-studes service car. Time check: 5:45 in the morning.

I really don’t incline myself to the saying that the ‘early bird always catches the early worm’ but because of my service driver’s insisting that I should come so early for he still had to fetch the others, I was forced to be the early bird, but in the end, there was no worm to catch. As I strolled reluctantly along the empty corridors, with only the presence of some early and disciplined janitors, I felt a twinge of excitement, just a little bit.

That excitement even got larger as my classmates came wearing a different smile that day, as compared to my smile which just showed a slight difference of time. It was past seven, the supposed meeting time but we are proudly Filipinos, and always have a trademark of our own, “Filipino time”.

I never thought that I would be able to regain back myself into being as excited as the day we went to Baguio or set foot to Hong Kong. The anticipation continued to grow gradually. I could feel it. I told myself that as to my last year in high school, this is surely going to be the happiest trip ever in my entire school life. Now is the last time to get everything unforgettable, now is the last chance to make it our might, to be part of a legacy to stand eternally. The adventure begins!

Harvesting the Grains of History. History may be the most mind-numbing and lacklustre field of knowledge known by man. We often quote this saying especially if we experience failures, and portions in our lives that we do not want to transpire once again, that no matter what happens, past will always remain as past. Yet, history repeats itself. What is really the point? Though history is a boring subject, the footprints it has left upon mankind are always priceless, priceless that it teaches us the heritage our nation and our world are clinging on. Our first destination, the Katipunan Museum, has enlivened our minds onto the marks our fellowmen have left to our very own history.

The Katipunan Museum is located in San Juan, Manila, which was one of the most remarkable sites of revolution during the Hispanic Era. As we stepped out of the bus, what welcomed us was a small and simple museum site with the Philippine flag full of dignity and authority erected at the middle. But never shall we judge a thing by its cover, what matters most is what lies within itself. This belief has been the most indulging saying when Bus No. 5 got their turn of entering into the portals of the museum.

As we began our adventure inside the Katipunan Museum, our face was filled with awe and astonishment seeing those artefacts laying on glass-protected cases such as important manuscripts of different documents, records, and treaties, the weapons used by our national heroes, and some of the flags our Katipunan went through. We were at first hesitant to even bring out our cameras and flicker our flashes because of the grandeur and the formality of the surroundings, that even the architectural design matched that of the early and secret hideouts of the Katipuneros.

The life and the bliss of the museum would never be complete without the replica of certain scenarios and depictions of the most crucial parts of their struggle via the miniatures, and dioramas with the people as dolls, finely crafted with accuracy, and precision. It was like you were at those times, eyebrows meeting in anger as you set plans for your next attack to the Spaniards. The creativity shown by the museum has bemused its audiences, letting them feel Philippines history more than how students just read it from textbooks. That in our short stay inside that influential museum, our minds were awakened on how the Filipinos fought so hard to regain back the honour the conquerors had snatched on us, and to uplift once again the pride that we are to show as history walks onto the grains of its passion.

Letting Loose the Enigma of Colours. That huge rectangular prism-like yellow entity housing noisy people with a lot more talkative tour guide, with the cracking of chips, the sounds of mp3 and iPod dominating the area, and with the turning of books’ pages, travelled along the stretches of Manila. It reigned the whole area as a king, the monarch of its own. Well, that’s what a bus is for, right? The King of the Road, ruler of the holy avenue.

How we wished we could drop by Star City, visit the Snow World or even watch a play in CCP. How we wished it was a field trip just full of happiness, and enjoyment because another museum, the GSIS Museum, lies ahead – another place where we have to walk around, stare at the paintings, and wait for magic to occur. Two museums in row, that’s what you call an educational trip.

The swooshing sound of the bus doors opening indicated another journey through a realm where we have to let loose our subconscious minds, to discover the reality between the paintings and abstract tapestries holding a few brushes and strokes of colours, posted on the walls. The first section of the museum showed rows of tapestries, a popular painting tool during the Medieval Age, which was intended only to be walled decorations with etched paintings easily understood by viewers being only displays. Here, it was a different kind. They all housed abstract drawings that we have to uncover with far-fetched titles such as “Reminiscecia” and “Shovelle”, titles which are not even seen on the drawings.

After those empty-looking tapestries, although we spotted a figure of a fish and a monkey hidden beneath the abstraction, we entered another world, a world full of different kinds of paintings done by several amateur painters showing the reality of life. An eye-catcher was a genre of painting entitled “Barya” by Emmanuel Pacaldo housing an old-aged man, beautifully and elaborately painted as if it was a photograph. The old man seated on a typical chair with a table in front of him was patiently counting remaining coins in his pocket during another struggle on paying for the Meralco Electrical Bills.

One of the highlights of the museum was the ever-controversial “Parisian Life” painted by the famous Juan Luna a few years before Rizal’s death. One of the main reasons why it became a talked work of art was the amount it was purchased from Hong Kong tha speculations say, it might have been stained by politics once again. But, moreover, it was a painting crafted to line up with the puzzles done by Da Vinci on his masterpieces. The woman on the painting, as analysts said, resembles the entirety of the Philippines islands with one of her arms symbolizing Palawan. Other national artists recognised via their works displayed in the museum were Amorsolo, Manansala, and “Botong” Francisco.

Social values, and social realities – that could probably be the main theme of the GSIS Museum. Through artworks, paintings, and sculptures, we were able to contemplate on the real happenings of a Filipino’s daily life and how painters are able to unleash its power through arts that touches the minds, and the hearts of the Filipinos, of the youth that would be our nation’s hope in preserving our legacy.

Lunch at Asia’s Largest Shopping Mall. It never came to me that lunchtime would be so much anticipated though it is just a typical part of the day. Nothing special about it, except for where we are to take it. Guess what, at one of the largest shopping malls in the world, the Mall of Asia, or most commonly known as “MOA”. To give you some facts, the building of the MOA has raised bags, tons, and trucks of money just to be hailed as “big”. And hey it was! The Mall of Asia, according to our tour guide, is the third largest mall in the world, even overpowering the malls of Hong Kong, the commercial capital of Asia and of the world, and the malls of the United States.

Everybody, as usual, was excited as many of my classmates would land on the Mall of Asia for the very first time, after glancing at the huge replica of the globe just like the USA’s Universal Studios. We took our lunch at the unusual food court situated on the second floor and not merely just on the ground floor, and ate our baons there. Take note, we actually ate our packed lunch that people, the alta sociedad, eyed at us with suspicious and curious faces. But those were nothing, what is important is the fun that we must never miss.

We set off our clocks. Fifteen minutes for lunch so we would have an hour to stroll. We would risk everything for malling, and that’s a fact. We ate furiously and hurriedly catching time, worried if we would still be able to have some real fun for the bus was to fetch us exactly at 1:00 pm. Time check: 12:20.

That hour was only spent walking around the mall, although we did not ever wish to see the entire spot as some shopping guru commented that a 2-day span is needed for you to feel the whole and the grandeur of the large mall. We were with our adviser as he searched for a “toner” for photos think, and at the same time took pictures into different portions of the mall. There was even one wacky picture that we had to pose behind a monkey-ad holding some ice cream. As usual, we were ‘attention grabbers’ and like tourists that came here in the Philippines for the very first time.

All-in-all, it was a happy experience for all of us. The mall did not only provide us comfort, convenience, but most of all the unending fun with my classmates. And with a tic of the clock plans are already made, and as our last year together, we have to spend it to a place that would be very much memorable for us, the Mall of Asia.

Plunging Through Ocean’s Depths. Our last destination is on the newest urban tourist spot in the Philippines, that is the Manila Ocean Park, situated nearby the historical Quirino Grandstand. Again, as a matter of fact, the 25-meter span concave aquarium is one of the largest in Asia.

There, we saw different kinds of marine creatures, and marine invertebrates such as the seahorse, the giant crab, sharks, sting and manta rays, and the large fish called “Anapaena”.

The site was smaller compared to the Ocean Park in Hong Kong but it lodged a variety of creatures that reflected that of the Philippines’ huge biodiversity. Aside from gearing us up from the aura of the Philippine coastal shores, to the shallow parts of the ocean, the depths of the ocean, until the sea bed, the site also campaigned for environmental concern through an enjoyable way. There was one portion in the museum allotted for an interactive activity regarding environmental awareness. And speaking of this matter, even their plastic bags on their souvenir shops were made entirely by biodegradable materials.

What I learned from the themed park was that, animals also have a habitat that of the humans with different characteristics, qualities, and adaptations that are even superior from human life. It made me even more knowledgeable about the darkening faith of out country’s marine creatures as they are being killed, and eaten by filthy and cruel people who do not possess a heart. That in our trip inside the park, we were, even once, deemed as “environmental advocates”.

I apologize for another lengthy composition but a little narration on what has transpired on the day of our trip may not be as compact and informative than having a detailed narration on a five-page span. I hope you have held your patience on reading this article for it came from what was within me, my realizations, my learnings, my contemplations, and happiness during the trip. I really tried my very best to make my last year in secondary school as rather memorable and unforgettable one.

That trip wasn’t merely an out-of-school hang-out with my classmates and teachers, not just an ordinary day for me, not just a field trip or an educational trip, but a very great day that I will forever cherish. It would always remain inside my heart. The photographs taken as remembrance may not last long but the memory lying within your very self is the one that you would carry as you go on your journey in your life.

Another filament of memory has been preserved, waiting to be unfolded… to be reminisced.

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