I wrote this put up years in the past after visiting the Philippines however by no means had the center to put up it.
As vacationers, and particularly as a journey blogger, I believe we regularly really feel like we’re supposed to completely adore and join with every place we go to. There needs to be some form of enthusiasm or constructive spin on it or else we really feel we’ve wasted our time.
Moreover, when you actually need to offend somebody, discover one thing you don’t like concerning the place the place they’re from. It’s their connection to life and who they’re. I do know, I used to really feel the anger effectively up in me when folks would insult the US or Los Angeles (I don’t care anymore – simply because it’s their reality doesn’t imply it’s the reality, nevertheless it took me some time to get so far).
That’s why I by no means shared how I felt concerning the Philippines. It’s a sensitive topic, and I puzzled, was I actually being subjective?
Earlier than I made plans to go to the Philippines for the primary time in 2013, everybody talked it up a lot that I figured it will be my favourite place in Southeast Asia. But once I was there, I simply didn’t really feel it.
I saved questioning, what’s improper with me? Everybody loves it right here however I’m having issues connecting. On one hand I can see and admire the wonder however on the opposite I appear to be lacking what everybody else is getting once they’re there.
Since everybody else appeared to adore it and I didn’t, I regarded again on that point in my life and travels, reread the weblog put up I’d written, and realized what the issue was.
I’m so glad I didn’t publish that put up again then. After I learn it, I spotted that almost all of my points got here from my strategy.
It wasn’t the Philippines, it was me.
After I realized that, I knew I needed to give it one other likelihood.
I first visited the Philippines proper after an enormous hurricane and an earthquake that devastated a number of of the islands. I assumed it was vital to go no matter this. After I arrived, I discovered that most individuals had cancelled their journeys to locations like Bohol and Coron due to the devastation.
What I discovered had been guesthouse homeowners who had been very pleased to have enterprise, and I used to be pleased to offer it, nevertheless it ended up being a lonely expertise. This was for 2 huge causes that had nothing to do with the current pure disasters:
I didn’t know learn how to inform the one that had tagged alongside for the start of my journey that I actually didn’t need to journey with him, and I used to be not in a temper or a spot to place out a pleasant and outgoing vibe. That at all times makes all of the distinction. It’s not the place that makes us fall in love with the journey when it comes all the way down to it, it’s the folks.
This time it was completely different proper from the start:
After I landed in Dumaguete, Ferna, a lady I’d met by way of Instagram, picked me up at 8am from the airport. I didn’t need to ask, she simply provided! She and her good friend drove me round to a few of the hidden spots in Dumaguete till it was time for me to examine into my lodge. I couldn’t imagine how variety and beneficiant that was of her.
I like that Ferna is a fellow solo feminine traveler smashing stereotypes in her dwelling nation by touring solo in her late 30s. My time along with her made me notice how actually beneficiant folks within the Philippines could be and set the tone for the remainder of my journey.
Subsequent on Siquijor, a neighborhood named Noel noticed me consuming alone in his household’s restaurant and requested me how the meals was. We obtained to speaking and one thing about his vibe prompted me to ask if he knew the place I might discover a shaman. It turned out I’d requested the fitting particular person and the remainder is historical past (more in this post).
Siquijor actually opened my coronary heart. It felt like everybody I got here throughout smiled warmly at me and stated whats up. Youngsters excitedly waved and shouted whats up to me on their option to faculty. Even the large and burly safety guard on the ferry terminal softened and stated, ‘Good tattoo! I’ve a geometrical one too!’ exhibiting me his sleeve as I handed by way of. I’ll most likely additionally at all times bear in mind once I got here throughout a gaggle of off-duty police they usually kindly requested if they might take photos with me, and every one needed to have is personal, plus the group pic.
Gotta love these cute interactions.
Subsequent on the flight over from Cebu to Siargao, I provided my window seat to a neighborhood lady who I might inform actually needed to movie out the window along with her GoPro. She lit up and excitedly swapped seats with me. Finally we took selfies collectively (I critically don’t know what number of selfies I’m in with locals however secure to say virtually 100 at this level) and she or he warmly welcomed me to her nation.
After that, I met up with one other native lady, Arjaylyn, once more by way of Instagram, on Siargao. Get this – she insisted on shopping for me lunch on HER birthday – I attempted to supply to pay however she wasn’t having it. She additionally saved the day by providing me her motorcycle rental which nonetheless had a day left on it, which I used to be in a position to prolong. I’d spent fairly some time earlier than we met up making an attempt to find one and discovering all of them booked.
There was additionally that household who gave me a chair and took pictures with me once I obtained a flat tire (video here), the grandma who requested me if I used to be touring alone and gave me a thumbs up and stated, “Good, good. Extra free.”
It wasn’t simply these interactions, although, it was additionally these little momentary smiles whereas I used to be passing by, the youngsters who caught out their fingers for a high-five once I drove by on my scooter, and the individuals who smiled and requested what my title was, and the place I used to be going.
That’s to not say that it was all rosy. There have been extra catcalls on Siargao than I might have favored, however that simply leaves some room for enchancment and sadly it is a worldwide epidemic.
However total the Philippines turned out to be one of many friendliest locations I’d been. I simply needed to be a pleasant particular person to see it.
I’m glad I went again and had a change of coronary heart. All the issues that bothered me earlier than evaporated this time. I can confidently say now that it is a place I’ll return to, excited to discover extra and meet extra folks.
Due to everybody who welcomed me with out realizing how I’d initially felt. You modified my perspective utterly!