Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Some Place to “Refresh”

Archie Modequillo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — It had been a very long series of holidays in Cebu City – starting with Christmas (or even earlier), then the New Year, and then the Sinulog. While the period was certainly fun, it could have also been quite draining. Those party nights surely cost an equal number of night sleeps, not counting the forgone daytime rests because of the influx of visitors at home.

Now that the festive rush has fizzled down, there may be need to refresh everyone’s senses. A time of “getting away from it all” may be necessary. Or perhaps that’s what many people seem to be craving for.

The prevalent wish among worn-out city residents may be about traveling to iconic, far-flung and fascinating places – those destinations that many travelers dream of going to. The problem is that the expenditures of the preceding holidays render any plans of traveling at this time rather far-fetched. It’s more realistic, under the situation, to just stay put at home or make short tips to nearby outskirts.

Okay, the “refresh” that many Cebuanos need may just have to happen right at the same familiar places. The thing is, these very familiar places are likely to come across to anyone as “boring” places, too. Familiarity breeds contempt, right?

Actually, it may be only a matter of perspective or mindset. Any familiar place can remain an interesting place if one looks at it with fresh eyes. And one’s experience of it can be as refreshing.

Perhaps no place is inherently dull. While the home could be stifling to some, others find the miniscule space warm and intimate. While a daily view of the crop fields may seem bland to someone living in the rural village, it may strike a fellow from the city as exhilaratingly calming.

“Boring is in the eye of the beholder.” And so is “exciting.” There are some things to do – in any place, even in the most familiar – that won’t fail to reveal many things interesting. There’s even a recent trend called “slow traveling,” which is to embrace the less riveting and more “boring” elements of a travel experience.

Yes, there are things to do right in the home city or in the districts close by that will offer many fresh opportunities for discovery. The experience can spur insights, which in turn can bring on the “refresh” that one yearns for.

Go out very early in the morning. The world looks different and people do different things at daybreak. This early, people are just starting another day in their life – working folks starting in on routine commutes, people exercising, walking dogs, sweeping their front yards, and the like. Even if there aren’t many people out to see, the sunrise can put a nice shine on almost any dull neighborhood.

Check a map. Browsing a map of the city and neighboring areas can spark the idea of going somewhere. Suddenly one realizes that there many nooks and crannies around that may be nice to discover, one at a time. Somewhere nearby there may be something different from one’s held views – and that is sure to enrich his own experience of life.

Try the delicacy sold somewhere. It’s quite an experience tasting some delicacy sold in a newly discovered neighborhood. The same fried ripe bananas may taste different there, because it’s cooked differently. Or it may be something one has never tried before. Or there may be other interesting finds that are nice to bring home.

Talk to people. Stop by a neighborhood store. The woman tending the small sarisari store is a good source of the latest news in the neighborhood. She only charges for the softdrink or gum or menthol candy – the latest stories are free. One is not as involved if it’s not about people he knows or his own neighborhood and, thus, may realize how a story is blown out of proportion when it’s about familiar people. The woman may even volunteer certain key things to check out about the vicinity.

Those are just a few ideas to start the mind on a spin of adventure.  It’s easy and often safe from sneering looks to try new things when one is in the middle of nowhere. Incidentally, “nowhere” may be just two blocks away.

Even a walk through the nearest cemetery can offer an enriching experience. What are the most common names on the tombs? How long did people live in decades past? At cemeteries one can also have some peaceful time and space to think and reflect.

There’s actually no place so familiar to cease to be interesting. The world is changing all the time. But, again, it often takes fresh eyes to spot what’s new in the same old places.

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