One of the best places I’ve visited and one that holds a special place in my heart was my trip to the Philippines.
I have family that live in Cavite City, Southwest from the capital Manila.
I travelled there with my younger and elder sister, her partner and mine at the time, along with my mama. It had been about 10 years since my mum had seen her family and it was the first time my sisters and I had met my Aunty, Uncle and cousins. It was quite the emotional greeting.
We spent the first week in Cavite, travelling out to amazing scenic areas with the most beautiful waterfalls which you were able to boat through. We also rode up on extremely malnourished donkeys to the crater of a volcano. We visited the local markets where they all stopped and stared us as we walked through with some yelling and pointing “Americano, Americano!” It was rare for them to see people like ‘us’. We also checked out the huge department stores. So many amazing things and so cheap! My mum took us to the store where she use to work and showed us the exact spot where she met dad. It was amazing to immerse yourself in their culture too and might I add – the food is to die for!
We spent our second week in beautiful Boracay. It was amazing! Crystal clear waters and friendly locals. Despite getting caught up in a few days of Typhoon weather, we did manage to find time where we could snorkel, scuba dive and ride quad bikes up to the top of the mountain. Checking out the night life was a treat too. There were 2 for 1 cocktails at happy hour and a karaoke bar to sing our hearts out! Might I add, it was that moment where I realised my cousin is the next Beyonce!
This trip opened my eyes to how fortunate we are to live in Australia. It made me appreciate the clean air and endless opportunities that surround us. Apart from the beautiful sights in the Philippines, there was unfortunately, extreme poverty. Getting swamped with women and children grabbing at your clothes or knocking on the car windows begging for money. Seeing flooded homes made from scrap metal and rubbish, they wouldn’t even have stood a chance against the Typhoon season.
They’re amazing people who give, give and give and expect nothing in return. To watch children in the street playing games with a stick or a bottle cap, laughing and having the best time makes you realise you don’t need material things to make you happy.
I’m so fortunate to have experienced this adventure. It has definitely opened my mind and made me so much more appreciative of the life I have been given. I cannot wait to go back.