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Memories With Strangers (The Luna Sea Experience)

This is a guest post from one of your fellow travelers, AK Castillo. She joined us in the recently concluded Luna Sea 3. Read on as AK tells her story of trust, friendship, staying up all night drinking and having conversations with strangers turned into friends.

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For the past months, we’ve been dying to have that chance again to go to an out of town location very, very far away from the everyday busy noise of the metro. That’s why when our colleague, Alfie, asked us to join their road trip this May, we immediately nodded. But when we asked where the location is, hesitation slowly creeped through my mind. Usually, you had to plan for out of town trips, right? The catch for this trip though was you have absolutely no idea where you will be going. Good luck on planning for that.

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But the theme was really intriguing. Luna Sea. Moon by the sea. And the perks were even enticing. I mean, unlimited drinks? Actually, you got me with just that. So, I thought, why not? There’s a first for everything.

When the day came, we met with our Travel Manager, Danes, at Centris. Right then, he made us sign a waiver. My mind suddenly envisioned myself coming back from this trip without any internal organs left. After everything was set and we’re ready to go, we braced ourselves on the thought that we’ll be having Vitamin Sea under the sunset soon.

Not.

Eons of hours later (Our expected 4-5 hour travel time extended to a 6-7 hour one) filled with landscapes of nature and cows and Danes trying his best to still keep mum about the location despite having to resort to Waze because we had to do a detour from the traffic caused by an accident and, worse, we got lost, we finally caught a glimpse of the sea. It was so near yet still so far! We stopped over for a moment as we saw the Road Trippers along the way. I was too tired from the length of the ride when I hopped down for a smoke, but I was met with the most overwhelming yells of welcoming greeting from the other Travel Managers that I forgot I was even tired in the first place.

Luna Sea 3 Last Leg to Quinawan

Armed with newfound strength to carry on (well, as if we had a choice of turning back at this point), we trudged on the dirt path until lo and behold, the sign with Luna Sea! We even saw lanterns scattered like fireflies on the whole venue. By that time, it was already evening.

Again, we were greeted enthusiastically by the Travel Managers. We were told that we can use one of the five tents present to sleep in. AJ also gave us glow sticks and Luna Sea shirts that we can cut and style however way we want. The amazing thing though was he was able to memorize all of our names in one go. We were given time to freshen up, but we opted to take a look at the sea first.

As we were quite an asocial bunch, we decided to lay down our blankets between the sea and the stage. We didn’t participate much on the events happening on stage, save for the cheers we yelled for the people we are acquainted with (just imagine our surprise when we found out that the fire dancers were our travel buddies all along). Dinner was an amazing feast of curachas, shrimp, chicken, and buko juice. Then, the mixed drinks were passed around, just in time for the first set of the acoustic band, Pusakalye. Their songs were like lullabies to broken souls. And right then, I realized, there it was: the moon was glowing softly.

Luna Sea 3 Party

The scene unfolding before me was a fleeting moment of beauty: Everyone blurred in a drunken haze of sand, lights, and laughter. As I said, we were quite an asocial bunch. But kudos to the Travel Managers who kept the drinks flowing and made sure we were comfortable and having a good time. Danes even stayed with us for a long time to chat. He was such a funny and caring fellow! I say, if you see Danes as the Travel Manager on one of Experience Philippines’ roadtrips, book it immediately. Also, one Travel Manager, Jayvee, who was just supposed to give another round of drinks, even ended up playing Tong Its with us.

Then, as midnight passed and majority of the people were already wasted, Jayvee went back to recruit us for another round of shots. He got us with a promise of cigarettes, but even when we ran out of them, even if there were no “chasers” at first, even if Alfie promised us he will get us so drunk but ended up doing yoga poses while asleep, even if I was in a circle of drunk people I don’t even know personally, I never felt out of place at all. It was as if I was with long-time friends I finally met again – for the first time.

AK and Friends at Luna Sea

The next day, sadly The Party Only people have to leave in the morning (editor’s note: For Luna Sea 3, you could choose between Full Road Trip or Party Only). After a good dose of sinigang, which is an amazing medicine for hangovers, we packed our bags and were ready to go, but the Travel Managers were not finished surprising me just yet. They gave us a heartwarming send-off that made me feel they want to see us again, despite the limited time we were together, despite us being complete strangers the day before.

You see, trust is very hard to give, most especially to strangers. We were hardwired since childhood that strangers equal to absolute danger. But for these “strangers”, I’m glad I made an exception.

Thanks, AK, for joining Luna Sea 3! It sure was a lot of work for all of us Travel Managers, but we couldn’t think of a better reward than hearing stories like these from our Road Trippers! Hope to see you on our future trips!

Photos by AK Castillo, Caryl Bravo, Isang Zabat, and Experience Philippines

Shoutout to all of the Travel Managers who helped set up Luna Sea 3 and to our corporate partners BLOC Camp Site for providing the tents, Canon Philippines as our official camera sponsor, and By The Way for video coverage! Acknowledgements also goes to Pusakalye as our official band for Luna Sea 3, KAJ Audio System for our lights and sounds, Flame On for the awesome firedance performance, DJ Masta for our beats, to the government of Bataan, Marie Ligutan of the Municipality of Bagac, and most especially to Barangay Captain Lorenzo Laguna and his family for their generous assistance!

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Learn more about Luna Sea here!
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Experience Philippines is travel tech and community platform that offers themed experiences and surprise mystery adventures to adventure seekers who want to enjoy real and authentic connections in exploring the 7,200 islands of the Philippine archipelago.

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