There is always this one thing that always keeps an individual grounded in every phase of their life. Kids would probably say their parents, the tweens would say Justin Bieber, teenagers have their music and by your twentysomething onwards you have quite a good range.
I am halfway through my trip here in the Philippines and this place always surprises me. Not because I’m 23 years old and have traveled alone only twice in my entire lifetime and that too in this same country but its simply because I feel the difference. Living in the United Arab Emirates for a good 15 years, I hate to admit this but the place is a lot of glitz and glamour. Anything and everything you want is served on a silver platter with gold linings. Dubai has become my home but it also teaches me to find home in everything else as well.
Arriving in Manila, I was welcomed with happy strangers telling me their life stories and struggles but I can’t help but be curious of what it is about the unknown that calls to me. I sat there for 8 hours listening about this man’s life as a store keeper in Pierre Cardin or the woman who was sent to prison in Kuwait because her employer didn’t allow her to work anywhere else. I listen and deep inside I want to hug these people for their daily courage; I don’t pity them, in fact, I admire them for carrying their cross every single day with their own personal motivations.
In the passed years, I’ve come to my motherland for a different reason every time.
2007 – my grandparents golden anniversary
2008 – my first time under a knife, surgery
2010 – my first time to travel alone, internship
2012 – to breathe
This trip, I wanted to see the country I was born in at its utmost normalcy. I didn’t even tell people I was leaving Dubai and coming here, I wanted to be away from the Big Deal and just swim like a little fish in this huge ocean of uncertainty. Oh, did I ask for it! A very close friend taught me to love my greatest fears so we won’t worry ourselves ever again. Well Philippines, you’ve done me well!
I rode the trains, the pedicabs and the tricycles. I’ve had meals with complete strangers, my first rollercoaster ride, eat streetfood, mangoes and fish (lots of it), had the best massage (ever!) and enjoyed the company of family that isn’t necessarily mine.
Life has a funny way of telling me to shut up – it scares me, it feeds me, it loses me in the rain and somehow I am still okay. I think, we sometimes exaggerate our situations and blow it out of proportions. I think it does that because we come up with these psycho conclusions and depressive states of mind that continuously eats our mind inside out.
With a few weeks left, I asked myself to silently admire the world around me and let it tell me why its best for me. My travel hungry sister once told me, we all need to learn to accept the differences and find the similarities or else the differences will sum up to this one awkward gap we’ll learn to hate.
Thank you Manila for showing me your true proportion.