I haven’t travelled for the past nine or so months (!!) and you can just imagine how excited I was to finally wrest a few days of vacation. It turned out this one was overkill. Going through three interlinked destinations meant I had to ride the plane, ferry, taxi, bus, car, subway train … not to mention go through numerous immigration counters and kill my feet from all the walking. My virgin, machine-readable new Philippine passport now has a total of 15 stamps to show for it in just a matter of days.
Travelling light remains the one sane piece of advice I can give to anyone who plans to embark on that trip. “Light” in terms of spirit and mind, and figuring out what to bring and what to leave home. The essence of travelling after all is leaving behind your earthly possessions in exchange for acquiring new ones as well as embodying new attitudes and perceptions. A Filipino needs to get out once in his lifetime to get a sense that in the outside world, bus stops exist for that reason, train arrivals are timed and things overall work with organized precision. The same thing cannot be said of the chaos back home, but this is what I exactly miss – being a creature so established in the comfort zone of the discomfort that is the homeland.
In Asia, a Filipino travelling alone will probably never feel alone as you realize the extent of the diaspora. There will always be a countryman to ask for direction in the hotel, restaurant, airport and the city proper. But one thing I realized from this trip: I can no longer hack it travelling alone and my next goal should be to show my kids the sights of Hong Kong Disney or the taste of Ben & Jerry’s. It was simply superb!
A shout-out to the following which kept me company:
Cebu Pacific Air’s Smile Magazine, overall a fun read. The writing is not too pretentious and there is a lot of factual information. I had to tear out the page of dining recommendations in Macau.
Jessica Zafra’s Twisted Travels also proved to be very handy, it was given to me by Melo Villareal for winning an online contest (sort of like CebuPac’s Bring Me game, hehe). Thank you, thank you. No other Pinoy author deftly combines humor and sarcasm as Jessica. It is perfect for reading when you just travelled and you get to ask yourself “what was that I went through again?!”
Okay, more in the coming days.