There's No Place Like Home

This past week presented a unique opportunity for me to go home to Ilocos Norte after several months, staying and working here in Makati City.

Anticipation mounted as the days grew closer to my departure from Laoag City, the capital city of Ilocos Norte, knowing that I would soon be together with my extended family and friends I had not seen for months. I eagerly packed my bag and was clearly excited about the prospect of seeing my loving grandparents.

Ilocos Norte, Philippines

For the first few moments, I felt like stranger, not recognizing roads, buildings or the shifting landscape. But as I approached home, the surroundings became increasingly familiar and comforting.

The family reunion is usually a sweet moment, and there was no exception at all. Many hugs, few tears, and much laughter and joy. It was wonderful to awaken the next morning to the aroma of tea and the delicious pandesal (local term for bread) served on the table.

The food was heavenly -- vegetables from the backyard and fresh fruits at every meal. I had even the chance of picking these fruits and vegetables one late afternoon in my Dad's garden.

Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Over the next few days, family and friends dropped in to visit and welcome me. Wow. I felt like I'm really a stranger, totally new to their eyesights. 

The last day was difficult, with tears, goodbyes, and the pain of physically separating from loved ones. As I journeyed back, I remember mentally shifting gears, and preparing for re-entry into the busyness of life here in the Makati City.

It took but a few days to ease back into work, commitments, and responsibilities that are part of this season of our life. A few friends and neighbors enquired politely about my trip, but then moved on to topics of everyday life in the Metropolis.

The transition between homes was far easier physically than emotionally.

Indeed, there's no other place than home!