This wandering cowgirl with her man in tow got hitched and made her way through Bali and the Philippines before landing back home in Taos with a monster case of jet lag.
On our journey we made it back to Mindoro, Philippines to a little town called Melgar once known as Lumang Bayan (Old Town). This little coastal village boasts black sand beaches, coconut trees, little sari-sari shops, and not a whole lot else. You might wonder why a traveler would make the 5 hour journey to a remote little town with no accommodations, amenities, or attractions. A bus ride from Manila to Batangas, a SuperCat Ferry ride to Calapan, a Jeepney to Naujan, before soliciting a ride from a tricycle (a motorbike rigged with a covered side car), all to land in this little town with only a few hundred people.
Why? you ask.
Well a good fraction of those people happen to be distant and not so distant relatives. The town of Melgar is right next to an even smaller village, Papangkil, and the land of my great grandfather Teoderico. Ned calls this the place of my creation story. Great-grandfather’s coconut plantation where my mother, her siblings, and her many many cousins adventured as children, is no longer active, but the land still belongs to the family and exists as a remote island paradise at the end of a long long road.
Auntie Minda graciously took us in and fed us heartily during our brief stay while her very kind young helper introduced us to her basketball playing friends and took us swimming in the clear waters. It was my second visit to the place of my ancestors, where my grandmother feels most at home, and where she will return after decades living in the states where most of her children have built their lives.