The Philippines is a regular destination for me whenever I travel. It’s a place that is familiar and oddly feels like home. It’s a place that I flee to for comfort, run away to for adventure and seek for escape. It’s a place of traditions and warm-hearted people and a place full of new experiences. I once again am here with much joy, but this trip is unlike most trips. I’m not sure if it’s the mere fact that I was in a different country before this or if it’s that I’m getting older, but I no longer hurry towards new, thrilling experiences. I am slower and hopefully more present. I’ve learned so much from the people here and from those who are older and wiser.
The Power of Positivity
It’s not new to the general public that the Philippines has a large chunk of it’s population in poverty, but it may be a shock to some people that every year hundreds of people’s homes are ruined by typhoon season. My own cousin and his wife were stuck on the roof of a house for 3 days with no food or water. Rain or shine, money or no money, the Filipino people are some of the most happy and positive people I have every met.
Generosity Goes a Long Way
The Filipino people are some of the most generous human beings I have every met. Even if they don’t have a lot they will still share with you so as to be a good host. You’re always given food at a Filipino household and undoubtedly will be encouraged to eat more and more until your stomach explodes. When I went to Daranak Falls with my friend Happy an acquaintance brought us lunch and he definitely brought more than we could handle. Who does that? I just met him that day.
In the Philippines, Anything Goes
I don’t plan too much when I go to the Philippines because it’s useless. You must always be flexible when you’re in the Philippines. Traffic may cause you to be late or the people you are with may spontaneously decide to take you to the Fort and persuade you to join in on their shenanigans. My cousin and I ended up taking a long bus ride and tricycle to the mountains of the Philippines. We ended up hiking in the rain, crossed a monkey bridge and went spelunking (all for a very fair price I might add). It’s moments like these that I live for.
The people of the Filipinos are never in a hurry. They live the island and city life (which is still slower than that of Angelenos in Los Angeles). No matter how busy it seems I notice that Filipinos are able to enjoy the moment without worrying about the future. Maybe that’s why they are so happy. I seem to always be in a hurry and to always be thinking about something.
Enjoy the time you have with family and loved ones
This is the most important lesson I have learned while in the Philippines. Last time I was there we had a reunion with everyone on my mom’s side of the family (and I mean EVERYONE). I really cherished those moments. It has been awhile that I’ve seen everyone and there were several new members to the family. That was the first time I think my cousin, Paul, and I were able to really talk and bond.
Two weeks after the reunion I received news that Paul and his mother passed away in a car crash. He was only 25 years old. My aunt was 55. It was so unexpected. You never know what the future holds, so take every moment you can with your family. Be present, be thankful, be happy.