Love and Relationships

‘Walang distansya sa love’: Man goes on 300-km bike trip to see girlfriend

‘Walang distansya sa love’: Man goes on 300-km bike trip to see girlfriend

John Paul “JP” Gatbonton and Donna Ocomen

Courtesy of John Paul “JP” Gatbonton

JP Gatbonton bikes from Imus, Cavite, to Anda, Pangasinan

John Paul “JP” Gatbonton and Donna Ocomen first met in a Facebook group months before the COVID-19 pandemic.

On January 22, JP posted on “The Life of an Introvert” Facebook page. Donna commented on his post, and JP added her as a friend on the social media platform.

JP is based in Imus, Cavite while Donna, who was on her second year as an accountancy student at the time, lived in Anda, Pangasinan. The prospect of a long distance relationship didn’t deter JP from pursuing Donna. He began courting her over a week after their first online interaction.

JP said they had planned to meet each other face-to-face, but a public health crisis was declared in the country, and lockdowns were strictly imposed in various areas, including their provinces.

When travel was again allowed, JP secured the required documents for his travel. 

The journey

On October 10, JP got on his bike and left Imus. He first headed to his parents’ home in Nueva Ecija where he spent the night.

He left early the following morning and headed to Pangasinan, braving Tropical Depression Nika that affected the Ilocos region.

The trip to Anda was particularly difficult – the town can only be reached through a bridge across the Kakiputan Channel. To get to this bridge, JP, who carried a heavy travel bag, had to first navigate challenging routes in Sual, Alaminos, Bani, and Bolinao.

After many hours of biking, he finally arrived in Donna’s town late afternoon of October 11. Donna’s parents fetched him and brought him home.

JP was exhausted but all his weariness disappeared when he saw Donna in person for the very first time.

“Nahiya ako sa kanya pero sobrang saya ko po kasi nakita ko na po siya…. Ngayon, nangyari na (I got embarassed but I was overjoyed because I finally saw her…. It finally happened),” JC said.

Couple goals

After going on their first date, JP asked Donna if they could be a couple. She said yes. The two are now sporting the couple rings that JP had brought with him.

While they’re finally together, they still have to be apart. JP is staying at Donna’s house for his 14-day quarantine, as required by local officials. Donna is staying in a boarding house for her online classes, as internet connection in her community is difficult.

JP’s message to people mulling over a long distance relationship is simple. 

“Walang distansya sa love at kapag mahal mo ang isang tao gagawin mo lahat para sa kanya at maging tapat sa isa’t-isa (There’s no such thing as distance when it comes to love and when you love somebody, you’ll do everything for her and you’ll be faithful to one another),” he said. –