Wanderingbakya started out as a joke. While Virg and I were in Ho Chi Minh, I sent daily emails about what occurred in our trip to a handful of people. Someone suggested that I start a blog with the emails I had written. I laughed it off because I was allergic to social media. As our Vietnam vacation came to a close, we still joked about blogging and conjured up silly names and contents for it. While on a 12-hour ride from Ho Chi Minh to Siem Reap, we discussed the possibility of a blog at length. By the time we climbed up and down the stairs of Angkor Wat, the joke became less funny and farfetched. As we flew back to Manila, I was certain of writing my love letter to the world, with the goal of posting things that interest me.
Exactly a year ago today I posted “Good Morning, Vietnam” as my initial entry on wanderingbakya.blogspot.com. It took me three days to choose and watermark the photos and write the content that saw three or four revisions. What I wrote was overly long and bursting with information – both necessary and unwanted. To make matters worse, it took eons for the photos to load because I thought the higher the MB’s the better the photos. Teheeee. 🙂 As someone with no writing and photography background, making that first entry was a bloody experience. I wanted to quit right after posting it because it made me sleep-deprived and frustrated. Five well-intentioned people who knew about my blog gave me constructive criticisms. I listened to them halfheartedly and mentally rolled my eyes for the most part because I can be stubborn as a mule when I want to. In the end, logic prevailed and I realized that they were correct and made the necessary changes in the succeeding posts.
365 days later, I am writing my 100th entry. Sure, I have numerous grammatical and typographical errors and some photos are as clear as the future of my country, but I still made it to a century without compromising my vision 98% of the time. Since I wrote my first entry, I have visited some of the places that have superlatives in their description (the biggest, the tallest, the largest, etc), asked theater actors to have our photos taken (I did not do this before because I would turn beet red in embarrassment), risked my sanity to attend Pope Francis’s mass at Quirino Grandstand, met a flamenco guitarist and touched and smelled his expensive instrument, touched the rock-hard abs of exactly three guys, taken exactly four selfies, cried after eating too spicy food, watched Spanish films and series without subtitles, and posed without shame, in all my sweaty glory, in countless of places.
To the three persons who are wondering why I chose the name wanderingbakya: I chose it because the other names I wanted were taken and after three hours of reaching for the deepest recesses of my mind for witty names with double meanings to no avail, I settled for one that is hard to remember. Wandering is self-explanatory. Bakya or wooden clogs were popular Filipino footwear before the arrival of Japanese rubber thongs. Growing up, I saw my maternal grandmother wear them with finesse as she gingerly made her way to church. I thought that their height and design make the wearer look feminine. The rhythmic sound they made on the pavement was music to my ears. When I thought of adding a Filipino touch to my blog, it was a toss up between salakot and bakya. I ultimately opted to use bakya partly because of its second meaning. Bakya also refers to the masang Pilipino, the members of the society who adore local stars, watch teleserye and memorize each hugot line in Bea-John Lloyd films. I thought I am one of them. And wanderingbakya was born.
To Albert, Ares, my brother, Virg, Laurence, Hope, Che, Pats, and John, thank you for helping me one way or another. To the two guys who will remain unnamed, thank you for giving me different perspectives and helpful critiques.
See you in Year Two. 🙂