i won a national geographic special issue on china

...when i posted a favorite travel memory at dong ho's first anniversary magazine give-away contest!

i'm tickled fuchsia pink because it's the first time i've ever won anything through a blog contest!

*time to do the happy dance!*

i was one of three runners-up by sharing my piat pilgrimage (cagayan valley) story. the highlighted portion indicates the "winning detail." here's what i posted:

"many years ago, two female friends and i just finished a gruelling set of final exams. it was so difficult, we unanimously felt that we needed divine intervention to get passing scores. motivated by the saying, "prayers can move mountains," these two girls decided out of the blue to go to this reportedly miraculous shrine way up in cagayan valley---a place that neither of us has ever been to. i went with them to complete this trinity of travelers on a prayer mission.

we packed our bags with things just enough for an overnight trip, purchased tickets and boarded the little-known bus that travels to piat at its terminal in espaƱa (close to UST, our alma mater), then braced ourselves for the 12-hour ride.

we occupied the very last row, and tried to sleep as comfortably as possible amidst the twists and turns that the bus traversed as it trudged up north. we would sometimes hit each other's heads accidentally while asleep whenever the bus made a sharp turn. the bus driver drove so fast (and it was nighttime!) that it was better to keep our eyes closed. an added prayer we murmured was to arrive in cagayan valley alive...haha!

the next morning, we were dropped off by the "our lady of piat" shrine's entrance. after freshening up, we started praying inside...hard.

lunch was conveniently had at the carinderias nearby, which all seemed to offer the local delicacy, "igado."

in the afternoon, we decided to explore the valley that surrounded this shrine, and descended upon chico river. a very kind local, upon learning that we were "tourists", let us ride on his barge for free to get to the other side of the river and back.

by dusk, we hopped on the bus back to manila and were very proud of our "religious adventure." we went to a very distant location on our own, without any contacts in said place to guide us, nor did we speak the dialects (ibanag, ilocano). total time we spent in piat itself? about 8. total time encased in a bus back and forth? a FULL DAY (not counting the rest stops!)...now that's sacrifice!

it's the "adventure" element that makes a trip special, and of course, the fact that you're with like-minded friends.

we passed the exams, by the way, and graduated together. heaven heard our hail marys. :)"

it's not even the whole story. i left out certain details such as how we felt so far-flung from civilization because our celfones simply had no signals, and how i packed extra fruit cups and vienna sausages in cans to feed my companions for breakfast in the bus (because i sometimes have motherly tendencies like that, hehe) after waking up from a turbulent night's sleep. haha.

but hey, i won! what a feeling! (ala-"flash dance" by irene cara...hahaha)

thank you for choosing my entry, dong!

9 vandalized my wall:

Anonymous said...

congratulations! you deserve to win. you write well. speaking of cagayan valley, i've been around that area before and i can attest how treacherous the mountain roads are. i know somebody from high school who went with his dad on a trip there. the cargo truck that his dad was driving plunged into a ravine. his dad survived the accident but unfortunately he didn't.

fortuitous faery said...

thanks, plaridel!

ohmygod...that's tragic! we're lucky we didn't have the same fate as your friend did...the zigzaggy roads we passed were bordered by cliffs and ravines! so we were terrified that our bus would plunge down.

i was able to return to the piat shrine about 2 or 3 more times after this first trip...but for the last two, we switched to victory liner because it was safer.

Princess Ody said...

wow, congrats, connie!

i know the feeling of hitting "each other's heads accidentally while asleep whenever the bus made a sharp turn" all too well - experienced it on a busride from vigan back to manila. bad news was i was sitting beside a person i disliked!

fortuitous faery said...

thanks, ody! haha...now that's a forgettable experience!

i'd love to visit vigan someday. :)

Marites said...

i like your adventure very much :) and you deserve to win naman because you write good. I've heard of Our lady of Piat noon pa pero i've never been there. hope i can visit it someday.

ms firefly said...

yay, congratulations!!!
lucky girl!

fortuitous faery said...

thanks, marites and odette! :)

gingmaganda said...

congratulations! enjoy the read! hahaha!

fortuitous faery said...

haha, tenk you ging...i wanna go to china! bird's nest! tiananmen square! great wall!

dibale, sa magasin muna ako mamamasyal! haha

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