Travel and Me

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—-

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference

(The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost)

I always find joy in travelling and going to places. It does not matter whether it is within the City which I live in or if it is beyond the border where I am so used to. I enjoy seeing places, meeting new people and learning about the place’s history and heritage. I cannot remember exactly where this fascination to different place began. All I know is that I want to see and explore interesting places here and abroad.

I have been abroad only twice and I hope to travel some more and hopefully it will be soon. But I have been to quite a number of places here in the Philippines and I highly enjoyed each and every travel experience. I get to experience my country’s rich culture and heritage first hand and I am amazed by it. Admittedly, for the past five years or so, I am quite limited to travelling places owe to the demands of my work and school. Hopefully soon, I’ll be back visiting old and new places and exploring it more.

Yes, I have taken the one less traveled by…. When everybody’s rushing to Boracay, I am just here in the Metro, exploring Intramuros and the old seven churches. When everybody is heading to Puerto Galera, I am on my so-called Northern Exposure trip of the Cordilleras and bumping my head in the tricycle just to go nearer the Banaue Rice Terraces or questioning the driver on how steep the mountains are when we are on our way to Sagada en route Bontoc. I was so star strucked the first time I saw Mayon Volcano and I easily fell in love with the laid back atmosphere of Bacolod and its sweet cakes. I get so nostalgic when I first visited the Ilocos region in 2000 and had goose bumps when I entered the Malinta Tunnel in Corregidor.

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

It was also love at first sight at the powdery beaches of Pagudpod, which reminds me that I have to visit and explore the Ilocos Region once more, for photo-ops and a good travel journal too. I also would love to visit Batanes, Siquijor, Leyte, Camiguin and Bukidnon among others. I have visited Boracay by bus from Iloilo City and I enjoyed the country side of the Panay Island plus the fruit shake and the pizza in Bora’s downtown. I love the feel of the sugary sand of Guimaras and tasted the best dried mango ever courtesy of the Trappist Monastery. And just recently, I fell in love with Tuguegarao’s pancit batil patung and Chicha-rabao and Piat’s pawa. And yes, my first love will always be Cebu City and I would like to visit Davao again and perhaps visit my former classmate in Cagayan de Oro too.

It is truly a new way of seeing things…. As I travelled the poor road conditions of the zigzag from Banaue going Sagada and upon seeing the living conditions in these towns, it makes me wonder, where’s the “countrywide development fund” to develop road networks which could help in strengthening the province’s infrastructure which correspondingly help bolster trade, commerce and tourism.

Another story which I vividly remembered was when the caretaker of one of the caves in Sagada informed us that some Tourists (locals and foreigners) are taking “souvenirs” from the hanging coffin. This is just disrespectful of the local customs, the burial ground being a holy site for the people of Sagada. For crying out loud, it’s a burial ground and I cannot find the logical reason why one has to take wood from these coffins… its coffins, hello?!

Or when I was plying along Roxas Boulevard and saw the pitiful conditions of Manila Bay or looking down at the Pasig River on top of Ayala Bridge or the Jones Bridge, or passing by the filthy street in front of the Metropolitan Theater, it is disappointing to think that only few people are concerned about these historical sites. Well, these issues will merit another blog post for that matter.

“Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

Admittedly, I am having my own personal struggle this year. It is a test of courage, strength and determination to surpass it all and rebuild my life. It is difficult, after all nothing starts easy, but I know I will get by. As I travel to another phase of my life, I fervently hope to continue and dream once more. This journey, I have to take alone, it is the journey back to my heart and learn to trust and forgive myself too. I am blessed for having a very supportive family and I have good friends who help me along the way. With these people by my side, I know everything will be alright.

It is perhaps a journey to the unknown and I have to play with my strength to rise once more. I just have to agree with the card sent by my good friend which says “It is only when you step out to the unknown that you discover you can fly.”

As Lao Tzu has said “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step” and I will begin my journey from here and I know I will get there… to the place where my dream is waiting for me….

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