Finding Sleep in Sorsogon
Sleeplessness scares me more than anything. I am frightened that in my days of being slumber-deprived, a Chuck Palahniuk character (Tyler Durden to be exact) will magically appear beside me. Some of you may know Tyler Durden as that mayhem-mongering “imaginary” friend of a poor insomniac-turned-schizophrenic. So, recently, after being awake for more than 48 hours, I decided to find sleep away from the comforts of my bed in Quezon City. Maybe in Sorsogon, Bicol, sleep will come to me and Tyler Durden won’t.
I didn’t just hop on a bus to Bicol out of sheer fear that my insomnia will turn into a full-blown schizophrenia. It wasn’t exactly on impulse. I remember a friend of mine previously mentioning to me that he plans to go to Gubat in Sorsogon. I just made him reschedule his plan to an earlier date. One-month earlier, to be exact. He detected the desperation in my voice over the phone when I told him I needed this trip. Travel, as he realized over the years, has been my cure-all. Be it for weak lungs, a broken heart, or a bruised ego.
After hours of biking, we decided to take a break. We realized we haven’t eaten lunch yet. And it was nearly three in the afternoon already.
“We can find adobong pawikan (sea turtle in soy sauce) and ginataang pagi (stingray in coconut milk) around here. Brave enough to try?” my friend suggested.
Although we were both curious on how such dishes taste, we decided against it. These animals are said to be on the endangered species list. Instead, we went for the boring adobong manok (chicken in soy sauce) and halo-halo (fruits and sweet beans in crushed ice and milk) in one of the carenderias we passed by. Guilt-free eating had a whole new meaning for me in this late lunch.
After eating, I suggested we go back to his provincial home. “No. Like what you said, exhaustion to the point of immobility,” he reminded me. “Let’s go swimming.”
Before I could even protest, he sped off with his bike. Being completely devoid of knowledge of this sleepy town, I had to follow him while secretly cursing him. After 30 minutes or so of biking, we finally reached Buenavista Beach.
“Now you can thank me for bringing you here,” he said with a sly grin on his face, upon reaching the beach area.
Again, I was ready to let out a litany of profanity. My legs were aching and I realized I wasn’t much of a biker. Upon seeing the beach, though, I realized there was no need for hurtful words: Buenavista is a thing of beauty. The sight of the white-sand beach, clear blue water against a backdrop of the clear blue sky is enough for me to forget my earlier qualm. It was enough for me to forget that I barely slept for the last three days. It was enough for me to shrug off the unexplainable thought of me going all the way here to find that elusive slumber.
“This beach is now becoming popular as a beginner-friendly surfing spot,” my friend told me. “Too bad we couldn’t carry surfboards on our bikes.”
That didn’t matter. Surfboard or no surfboard, this was still paradise – especially to a slumber-deprived sod like me.
We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the beach, swimming, making failed attempts at skimboarding using some plywood we found. Later, his Gubat-based friends followed us to Buenavista Beach.
“Exhaustion to the point of immobility,” I remember myself saying. I didn’t have to wait for that, though. By early evening, I had to ask everybody to accompany me back to my friend’s Gubat home. I could finally feel sleep coming to me, surrendering to me even after its elusiveness.
In bed that night, I couldn’t care much if I didn’t change into cleaner clothes. Slumber was coming to me real fast. Before I dozed off, the imaginary voice of Tyler Durden’s alter ego spoke to me: “If you could wake up in a different place, at a different time, could you wake up as a different person?” Then I blacked out.
Ryan Celis is a freelance photographer and a full-time goofball. He loves traveling and taking off his clothes whenever there’s an opportunity.
You can find him at http://mabangisnalobo.tumblr.com