There he was, the mic clasped just below his lips singing some incredibly cheesy song I’ve never heard of before. At times he was off key, but it in a strange way it was pleasant to listen to. Karaoke – best experienced or dealt with boozed up is something I’ve missed about south east Asia.
We’re sitting at a Karaoke bar in Legazpi City, the beer is cheap and served in glass tumblers with melting chunks of ice. A pleasant remedy from the lingering 10PM heat. He wears a set of thick black spectacles with plastic plano lenses (I normally hate this), his left ear is pierced with a single silver stud. I speak in broken Tagalog, and he appreciates my efforts. He comes from a family of 10, and tells me of the hardships he encounters on a day to day basis. An 8 hour work day results in 176PHP, (4.50AUD). But he says it’s better than a job he used to have at a mall. He gets to play with his mobile phone at his new job.
We talk, we get along, but like many Filipino guys, they become insistent and easily attached. He asked me whether I believed in love at first sight, while looking at me with these crazy eyes at the bar, and I knew I had to escape. I said no I didn’t. I wasn’t sure whether he was interested in me due to the belief that he thought I was loaded, or because I’m so damn easy to fall for. I definitely am not loaded.
Shit becomes weird. A few days later he said he loved me. And now I understand now how a premature declaration of love can be a massive turn off. Or maybe it’s a cultural thing, where in the west we place too much value on the word; a word to to be used with sparingly, with a handful of people, whereas here it’s use is more lax, more generous.
I was due to cycle to the next town the following day. And I was thankful for the dynamic nature of travel. Where events, occurrences, and relationships are so easily created; yet sometimes, thankfully, easily lost.