My 12 Most Unforgettable Journeys Around the Philippines / A Philippine Independence Day Special Feature / Part 2

10:00:00 AM Jerik De Guzman 2 Comments

It is true that freedom may mean a lot of things to many people. 

The real essence of freedom for me is choosing one's own destiny, knowing one can make a difference to other people, and that one can ultimately change for the better.  

Since i started traveling almost eight years ago, and up until now, the freedom that i am proud to have has lead me to discover the beauty of my own country. The freedom to discover the unexplored will always be the true nature of my passion to travel. And that freedom is one thing that i will always be proud of.

And with every journey that i take, i am blessed to either have met an inspiring person or experienced a life-changing situation. I wish to share these unforgettable stories with you to help you get inspired to find your own freedom. You may choose to start traveling or finally shut the idea of it. Let it be known that whatever you decide upon; it is your choice, your own life, and the destiny is yours to keep. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


7. Realizing it's all in the mind in Enrique Villanueva, Siquijor  

It's just so sad, that it took a Swedish family, two Dutch guys, two American girls, and a couple more Northern Europeans to make me realize how blessed i am to have visited Siquijor.

I got to chat with a lot of them, after they finished playing gate ball. Dagman was kind enough to treat us all for a couple of big grandes of Gold Eagle and San Miguel Beer. It was a good talk, getting to know them, and how long have they been staying. I've also met the family who's been in Siquijor for ten days now. From that chat, i just realized one thing. All of them could only speak of kind words, and much appreciation for the island of Siquijor.

On a lighter note, I also made so many friends with a lot of the people in Villa Marmarine, Max who i initially thought was Japanese, turned out to be a native of Lanao Del Sur, and Michael who was the go-to guy in gate ball, lawn tennis, and even day and night diving. And of course, all the charming waitresses of Villa Marmarine. 

I remembered the tip i received regarding locals tapping you in the back. Nothing happened to me. In fact, it was a symbolic welcome to the family. I felt like a friend, a brother; a part of the family.

Every day and night of my stay in Siquijor, i have been drinking beer from the bottle and glass, and was offered a drink in one of the occasions. Again, nothing happened to me. 

When will the time come, that we Filipinos, could see the hidden beauty of this province We're all so afraid to discover our own heritage, and our country. If the people who are not bred in the Philippines can see something, there must be something.  It is really, really sad. My heart is broken.

Good thing, people, it's never too late. 

Read the rest of my story by clicking here



8. Appreciating One's Hard-work in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Abel was persistent that i share his number to all my traveler friends. He was my guide and motor driver in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. He took me to the best places, and even patiently waited for me as i was meditating in Burgos light house. He drank with me in Blue Lagoon and took my photos on the viaduct. Last night, it dawned on me, his persistence is actually working. More and more, i realize how i should help out this man. Not because i was getting tired of his kind words, but because this man, i know, will soon prosper. I think his request might just be the trigger for him to succeed. He actually inspired me to continue on with my vision, he inspired me to blog again.

Looking back at my experience traveling around the province of Ilocos Norte paved the way for me to think how one's gift should be maximized, not only for personal gratifications but also to inspire other people. 

Back then, i really wanted to quit blogging for i find no time to actually write about the stories i experience from the road. To be honest, more people nowadays are more attracted to all the how to's and where to's. And these stories become really popular to readers. I don't blame them for these articles help travelers navigate their point of destination easier. 

When i started writing for Pinoy Boy Journals, i was solely dedicated to writing about stories from the road. Just pure, raw stories. Years have passed, and i would sometimes write about travel guides but my instincts tell me to pursue what i am fond of doing -- sharing experiences and relieving these experiences on this blog. 

Every time i think about quitting writing travel stories, i would recall people like Abel, who is eagerly waiting for a call from anybody reading this blog. Using this website as his voice, i could help by recommending him to other travelers like me. By providing him job opportunities, i help him out put food on the table for his family. 


9. Getting a Hate Mail in Camotes Island, Cebu

I've never tried to reason out to people why i travel in the first place. It's my own vocation. And i love what i'm doing, so there's no need for me to go the extra mile and confront why some people hated what i did in Camotes Island.

I arrived early, and explored the rest of the island on a motorbike. I stopped by at a view point and several coastal towns, when i was lead to the biggest beach in the island - Santiago Bay. There, i enjoyed my usual serving of grilled octopus and plain rice. After getting stuffed from my terrific meal by the beach, together with motor driver, we explored the rest of Santiago Bay on a motorbike. Everything was fantastic, and the memories of Camotes Island will forever linger in my mind. I was proud to have visited this island off the coast of Cebu mainland.

When i came back home after posting the video of myself riding the motorbike along Santiago Bay, somebody posted a rather disturbing comment on my site. He said that i shouldn't be riding a motorbike along Santiago Bay, and that i was clearly selfish because of my action. For whatever reason i cannot figure out, i felt embarrassed for myself. I didn't know if i actually did something wrong as there's no signage that motorbikes aren't allowed along the beach. Still, i find it really odd that after years of traveling around the Philippines, i received my one and only hate mail. 

Up until now, i am still trying to understand whatever i did wrong. Until it is finally clear to me, i would park my sorry for now, and continue what i love doing. 


10. Singing the Karaoke Alone in Bacolod, Negros Occidental

Filipinos really love to sing. When you travel around the Philippines, and during the night, the only voice you will hear is from a local singing, the only bar or restaurant open is that of a karaoke bar. In Bacolod City, these places are called videoke joints, and there's tons of them. It's a very popular past time for most, if not all, Filipinos.

It was in the middle of the night. I just ate a very late dinner in one of the popular night spots in the city. I was looking forward to drinking my cold beer, and enjoying the rest of the night when i chanced upon a videoke bar. There were just a couple of people in one of these open spaces, taking only a few tables. Perfect. It's a place i would definitely check because it's completely devoid of too many people. I ordered my favorite San Miguel Beer, and started reserving my playlist for the night.

It was a very lovely evening, with only a few guests coming in and out. As i sang my third song, i noticed more and more people were actually listening to my singing. I knew i was in tune so i wonder why were they staring at me clueless. Suddenly, i remembered i was there drinking my favorite beer, belting out this 80's love song, all by myself. 

I've been traveling solo for about 90 percent of my trips around the Philippines and even abroad, and this is one of the very few times i realized it would have been nice to share the table, the beer, and the mic with a friend.    


11. Breaking My Heart in Manila

Oh, Manila! My love affair with you will never end. I was found roaming the dirty streets of capital for the nth time, doing absolutely non-touristy stuff. I was begging off to see the popular attractions and always looking forward to discovering new alleyways. All for me to discover more what makes this city so enigmatic - dirt and grime but lots of adventure in between. 

I often wonder why so many people hate Manila. I can understand if foreigners hate it because they're not used to it, but Filipinos, that i am trying hard to comprehend. Hate is a very strong word which i don't like using. If you don't like Manila, then so be it. To each his own. But you never hate a city, you try to understand it. 

When you try to study perceptions of people on destinations like Manila, you begin to understand realities. Not all cities are perfect. Look at Phnom Penh, Shanghai or even Colombo. I've had my share of awful stories there, but i never hated the city. Much worse, i will never hate Manila, for i was born here. 

Let's be honest. Manila isn't the cleanest nor the most progressive city in Asia. But i can never say it's not beautiful. After visiting dozens of cities around Asia, i still find Manila full of character. That's why i don't hate the city. I may not like some of what it is now but i definitely don't hate it. There's something about Manila that i cannot find in other cities. And whenever i read awful reviews or negative sentiments about Manila, it really breaks my heart. I love Manila so much, i actually wrote a screenplay about it. 

Read the rest of my story by clicking here


12. Becoming a Kid Again in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro

I remember playing with these kids. They know nothing about what i was going through. Heck, that's none of their concern and i wouldn't want my sorrow to dampen their favorite activity. What else? Playing with water! In Sablyan, Occidental Mindoro, life is all about excitements and journeys.

Now that we're older, we sometimes look back at how the kids are enjoying so much of their life. Their innocence shields them from the realities of pain, disappointment and tragedy. The dangers of poverty and grim future are not yet on their minds. It's how long they will play in the afternoon, and how many more days before their birthday comes, are what matters. It's the kind of the mind that paints a smile on their face every day. And we, as adults, wished we could have the same smile when we're always worrying about bills to pay, partners to pursue, etc.

I asked the kids if they can show me their best moves as i was shooting a video, and i want them to star in it. Luckily, as i was taking photos, i was able to capture one of my most favorite travel pics of all time. I will never forget this afternoon, for once i realized how lucky i was, and that i was able to relieve this moment through my videos any day i want. 

2 Comments:

Ren said...

Nice story! keep it up!

I share the same sentiment for Manila. Indeed chaotic and dirty in some areas but it sure has its charms. Quaipo, for me, is one of my happy places there. =)


http://thisislovelee.blogspot.com/