Entrevista: The island girl

by Evans Yonson

Photos by: Shane Tagupa

(Note: Shane Tagupa is a senior Development Journalism major of Xavier University´s Development Communication Program. She will be graduating from the university soon.)

The Light Traveller (TLT): Tell us a background of yourself: Where are you from? Do you have family in Cagayan de Oro?

Shane Tagupa (ST): I’m a homegrown probinsyana. I grew up in Camiguin, in a quaint town called Catarman. My family, as far as I know, are all Catarmanons. However, some of my uncles (my mother’s brothers) and their families went to live in Cagayan de Oro and Cebu.

The volcanic island of Camiguin is situated in Northern Mindanao.

TLT: What circumstances brought you where you are now? How many years have you been here?

ST: When I was a kid, my little sister and I spent our summers here in CdeO with my cousins – we were closer than brothers and sisters. It was already like a given that we would study here for college. Besides, Xavier University (in CdeO) has always been one of my top choices. Right after high school, I took up Development Communication in XU because I knew I could hone my writing here. It’s been almost four years now, minus those kiddie summers.

TLT: How often do you go home?

ST: Just every summer, Christmas, and sem break. I don’t even get to experience our town fiesta anymore. Could be because I always have tons of school work, or I’m too lazy and tired. But I never miss summers and Christmases. They’re non-negotiable.(TLT: Summer in the Philippines is from late March to early June).

TLT: What are differences between home and your host city/area? Cite differences in terms of people, food, transportation, pace of life.

ST: At a glance, anyone could say that this city is a contrast to my hometown. CdeO is shopping centers, vendor-littered streets, and traffic-laden bridges; Camiguin is crystal waters, tree-lined roads, and mountain backdrops. But having been here in CdeO for some years already, I’d say there really isn’t much difference. Of course, you’d expect the city to have big-time businesses and big-time traffic – CdeO has those. But when you get in touch with the people – how they live, how they interact, what they believe in – you’ll find they’re all similar. They live simple lives, grounded on tradition and fueled by close ties with each other. CdeO is different only because it has physical advancement, but the traditional Pinoy flavor is still there.

Home swing home!

TLT: Would you travel alone? Or with your family? Or with friends? Why?

ST: I love travelling alone! It may sound cheesy, but it gives me a sense of freedom and control, especially if I know the directions well . I usually travel alone to and from Camiguin, but now that my sister is also studying at XU, she’d tag along sometimes. Our father also comes with us if he has some business in CdeO. I’ve travelled with friends, too, but only on school-related stuff like field trips and contests.

TLT: How do you travel? By car? By bus? By plane? By boat? Please explain.

ST: Since I don’t drive – and have no car to drive, to start with – I always take the bus-and-ferry course to Camiguin. I sleep almost the whole time. But if I’m going to a new place, I never shut my eyes because I love seeing new stuff. Plane rides are saved for really long ways, like to Manila (which I’ve only been to a few times). There’s this one plane ride that I’ll never forget: it was during my internship, when we went to Albay and I got to see the perfectly coned tip of Mt. Mayon nestled among the clouds. Thank God I didn’t sleep!

TLT: What is the farthest place that you have travelled to away from your present residence? Why the distance?

ST: I’ve travelled a lot since grade school because I got to join the yearly nationwide journalism competitions. But the farthest I’ve been to was in the ‘other Cagayan’ – that is, Cagayan Valley, near the northern tip of the country. My summer internship in 2009 really took me to lots of new places! I tacked a map of the Philippines in my closet and I marked the routes I’ve gone to during that summer. I had a minor rush drawing a long line from Cagayan de Oro in the south to Cagayan Valley in the north.

TLT: Do you take photographs during your travels? Why?

ST: I didn’t have a camera until I got a DSLR about a year ago. When you travel and you have a digital camera with you, you just have to take photos! Some people do it for their portfolio, some to brag to their friends. But I do it because I always want to remember my travels.

TLT: Travel light? Travel heavy? Why?

ST: Travel light, definitely. I like being able to move around freely and walk fast. But for a student who spends months away from home, sometimes I carry a lot of stuff with me.

TLT: Backpack? Luggage? Why?

ST: It doesn’t matter how I carry my stuff. Sometimes, I just go carrying only my everyday shoulder bag.

TLT: What’s in your backpack/luggage when you travel? Complete details, please…

ST: The usual: clothes, toiletries. If I’m going away for many days, I have to have some books and my laptop with me because I can’t stand getting bored or I sometimes have to take my school work along. Of course, I bring my default travel items: journal and pen, camera, and a rosary.

TLT: When and where was the last travel? For how long?

ST: I went home during the holidays. I was in Camiguin from Christmas 2009 until the welcoming of 2010. And then it was back to rainy days and Mondays for the last months of the school year.

TLT: Home? Or host city? Why?

ST: Home. I get thrilled in CdeO, but I will always go back to Camiguin, where I can be greeted by the sea, drink cool tap water, and breathe the sunshine.

Catching the sunset by her hands in Catarman, Camiguin Island.