HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 26, 2015 – 12:00am
Got a call from my photographer friend Dennis Saco from Bohol. He asked me if I had time to go to Bohol and shoot with him. We had shot together before and really had fun. He told me he had talked to a resort owner to sponsor my stay there. I immediately said yes.
Two days later I was in Bohol. I checked in at the Ananyana Resort where Emma Gomez, the resort owner, greeted me warmly. I instantly liked her. I also met Nema, a Danish guest vacationing in Bohol. Everything and everyone that I encountered the minute I got there — the staff, the physical resort, even the dog — seemed to radiate positive vibes. I knew I had made the right decision to go, however whimsical it was.
It was the right time to be there. Psychologically, mentally, perhaps even spiritually, I was beginning to feel depleted. What brought me to this state of mind was a combination of things and events that have made me go through highs and lows. A marriage of a daughter, the 100th birthday of my dad and the likely last family reunion we will ever have (because we are all getting old) brought me into a melancholic state. The punishing summer heat made the inertia I felt insurmountable. I was beginning to feel depressed.
As a creative, I know that it is almost always better to show up rather than turn things down. And that was why I was in Ananyana Resort in Panglao, Bohol. I fought the inertia that told me to stay home and cocoon in misery, and was happy about it.
There are many reasons to like Ananyana. It is a 13-room resort with really spacious rooms, gardens and green areas. It is near the beach and only a few people hang around this part of Bohol. It is 25 minutes from the city. The food is good. The staff members are friendly and efficient, and the ambiance is homey, calming and just wonderful.
Normally, when one goes on a vacation somewhere, especially when you ride a plane to get there, you feel primed to see and do as much as you can to make it worthwhile. After all, you went through all the trouble to be on vacation.
For this three days and two nights, I decided not to be in a rush to do anything. I just wanted to completely chill out and do only what moved me. No striving to get the most of anything. I did not want to feel like a kid in a candy store. No kicks to look for. No goals to achieve. There was nothing compelling to do. I just wanted to unwind, relax, de-stress, and let every muscle in me un-flex.
I enjoyed the afternoon breeze, the juice I was sipping, the company of Emma and Nema and another guest from Palawan named Eddie Brock as we happily discovered common friends we had. We exchanged lots of stories, too.
We also went to see places not normally shown to tourists. Emma brought us to the old but magnificent Abuquerque Church one morning where there was a “museum” that housed religious paintings done on flat yerro. We also had lunch at the ancestral home, an old landmark house that served home-cooked meals.
In the two afternoons I was in Ananyana, I took photos with Dennis who invited some comely-looking Boholanas to the beach. They were fun, pleasant shoots. No stress about submitting pictures to editors. We were not working. We were shooting just for the fun of it.
At dusk, I would simply look out over the horizon and appreciate the timeless cycle of day turning into night. After dinner, there was pleasant conversation over coffee.
During my brief stay at the resort, I was in silent awe at the genius of Mother Nature: how she seems to know what she is doing and has known since the beginning of time.
With Ananyana Resort owner Emma Gomez at Albuquerque museum
There was no reason for the world to fall apart just yet, I thought. Everything outside of me knew its own place. They all knew what to do and did it simply and without effort. The waves would come in strong at high tide and recede at low tide and come in again in an endless cycle. The birds would chirp and the breeze would blow at the proper time. Low temperatures gave way to high ones and back again.
The simplicity and directness of nature unraveled the tension and knots that had me stressed, depleted and tired.
It will certainly not be my last visit to Ananyana Resort. I was already talking to Emma about a possible arrangement to stay much longer and do some writing.
It was just amazing to quiet down and allow myself to focus on what was happening “in the background.” There are lessons we learn and forget. Luckily, we are given the opportunity to relearn them again. There is so much going on in life that can make us happy or miserable. We just have to focus on the right things to enchant our daily living.