For Holy Week, my family and I stayed at a friend’s unit in Hamilo, Pico de Loro, Batangas. My mom’s friend was kind enough to lend us her unit for a night, where we contemplated on life and bonded amidst a sweeping beach and a series of buildings that encircled an emerald-green lake. We stayed for a night, but the 24 hours we spent communing with nature (when we weren’t luxuriating in a wintry unit with stuff for mucking around like a kitchen and a balcony) was enough to get me back to my roots as a caveman and realize the rejuvenating powers of nature.
As an urbanite, I am accustomed to being online the whole day. In the industries I work in, I am expected to be online at all times. Take a break and you’ve missed a viral sensation. Act too slow and you’ve missed an opportunity to put your brand in the spotlight. And as a writer, I live a largely sedentary life, my mortal body bound to an uncomfortable chair and chained to a laptop. It’s my mind that journeys, explores distant lands, and travels to faraway planets.
While walking around Pico de Loro and being surrounded by trees, I confirmed my long-held belief that man was not meant to be a slave to technology. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, man lived in the wild, feeding off fruits and game, hunting for food, and relying on nature for everything. Today, we feed off our Instagram likes, we hunt for dates on Tinder, and we rely on Google for everything. I guess it’s a natural progression given the rate of technology, but there’s something scary about becoming dependent on gadgets and social media.
This theory reminds me of why cats have a reputation for being aloof. They’re like that because they’re not fully-domesticated. Despite 9,000 years of sharing a home with humans, they only split from wild cats recently, and some still breed with them.
Like cats, humans are not fully-domesticated. We feel a rush of exhilaration when we see a gaggle of trees, a school of animals, a surge of foliage. That’s why many fall in love with the charms of hiking, mountain climbing, and hunting. It reminds us of our DNA as cavemen.
I was a caveman in Hamilo. I fell in love with the expanse of the sea, the salty taste of the water as I swam with the cold current. The feel of powdery sand between my toes. Walking along a pathway lined with vibrant flowers, whose fragrance perfumed the air. The sound of cicadas piercing the sky. The sight of the large lake, gleaming in the sunshine, its pattering like music to one’s ears. Facebook, Instagram, and Gmail faded away. I can count with one hand the number of times I looked at my phone. As they say, life happens offline.
We relied on Waze on our way home. Sure, technology has its uses, but I am a cat waiting to return to nature.