It's been more than a decade since I last spent the night in my Mom's hometown. My first reaction was: "why does everything look smaller now?"
The answer, of course, is one that can be part of the script of a homecoming drama film: "No, they're still the same, you just became bigger."
So, on my first morning in the province, I retraced the steps that I took as a young boy, and revisited the places that were a huge part of my summer childhood.
The Regalado ancestral home where we'd spend the summers with Lolo Doring and Lola Pining.
The corner where we would wait for Lolo Iking's car - aka "The Pony" - to pick us up and bring us back to the beach.
The view of Mayon Volcano from the veranda.
The portraits of Lolo and Lola - both former Mayors of the town.
The Municipal Hall where Lolo and Lola worked. And the statue of the soldier which was our sign that we've arrived in Malinao.
The market or "saod" where we'd buy snacks and soda as kids.
The school where my cousins went and where my Tita taught.
The church in front of the school where Mom and Dad were married.
The tower where the Easter Salubong was held.
The rice fields where we used to play. (Which now has an eerie carnival.)
That 30-minute walk I took was worth decades of memories.
I'll do this again sometime soon.