When Rated K featured San Jose a few months ago, a friend of mine started to cajole me if I could give her a tour around the island. She was officially enamoured by its untouched beauty. "We should come and go see the place before it becomes another Boracay," she told me. She had a good point, I admit. "Yeah, sure. Maybe. Next time. When we're not busy," I told her unenthusiastically which made her sulk. "I've never been there yet, myself," I added. She didn't believe me, of course, especially when I had told her before that I've gone to Boracay and that San Jose's practically less than an hour away from Looc, my native town.
That's true though. I've never set foot to Hambil (San Joses local name) before. "I've a friend who grew up there, you know," I told my sulking friend. This statement abruptly changed her sullen mood. Wide-eyed, she exclaimed, "That's great then. We could crash at his place so we can save on expenses." Shoot, I had to think of a great alibi. "Wait, my friend and I are not close anymore. We broke up. I mean, we had a terrible fight," I said, dead-pan. She wouldn't budge obviously. "That's sad, but hey maybe it's time to patch things up."
I gave up. She was really determined to go to San Jose. So, I checked with my Hambil-born friend if he could come with us. He couldn't. No surprises there. I've been asking him years before to invite me to his place but he was always busy.
This left me in a dilemma. I've never invited a friend to visit my beloved province before. Not that no one has asked me. I just don't feel comfortable taking them with me because I'm afraid that they would have a negative impression of the place. That's just devastating. It would kill me. We live an austere life in the province. We have no car, no air-conditioner, no luxury that we can offer to satisfy guests. Yeah, I know that they're not looking for these things because they just want to go to the beach. The worst part however is I don't know a good beach in Tablas! Pathetic eh?
My best bet is to hope that my insistent friend would eventually forget about San Jose. But I know that's just not going to happen especially that the news about San Jose to become the next Boracay is not dying anytime soon.