TRAVEL YOUNG, TRAVEL NOW
By Maan “Maggie” Villar, The World According to Maggie V
A new friend from work, Camille, has shared to me a blog article that really changed my mind about postponing travel plans and my whole idea of “delayed gratification” (i.e. exchanging time for leisure studying for my masters and law school, putting in extra hours at work and sweating it out at the gym). It was a simple blog article called “Three Reasons to Travel While Your Young” written by Jeff Goins (http://goinswriter.com/travel-young/). I was moved because he was right, I had many excuses and “buts” to put off travelling and sucking at the bone marrow of life. To quote:
‘“Yeah, but…” is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.’
I did sound noble in forsaking leisure for putting time, effort and money for future plans but I decided it was time for me to loosen up – I’m too wound up to absorb things the way I did in the past anyway. What struck me the most is that Jeff Goins furthered his point by saying that most of the people who like myself “waited” to travel the world NEVER DID. And I would not want that to happen. I want to ACTUALLY LIVE LIFE and not just be on the sidelines, a mere spectator, I want to REALLY SUCK ON THE BONE MARROW OF LIFE and BE IN ALL ITS ACTION.
Since I have a good income in my new work and they are democratic enough to allow working from home and flexi-time, I figured that YES, IT IS TIME.
Contrary to what you are thinking, I would not want to travel to other countries just yet. No, not because I don’t have enough resources or I’m a coward the reason is that on my first day in college, HISTORY 101, I took away a very important lesson… My professor, Mrs. Segundo (who also happens to be the mother of one of my good friends), told the class that she feels that IT WOULD BE HYPOCRITICAL TO KNOW OTHER COUNTRIES WITHOUT FIRST KNOWING YOUR OWN. She says SHE FEELS BAD FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO GO OUT IN THE WORLD WITHOUT EVEN STEPPING ON THE SOILS OF VISAYAS AND MINDANAO.
God, she was so right.
The plan is that I would read up on Philippine history before the travelling begins and some Nick Joaquin, Conrado de Quiros and Jessica Zafra books on the side, also some coffee table editions on Philippine art just so I get an overall feel and re-acquaintance to my own land and its story. Also, I plan to travel ALONE, because I know how much I take studying the art and artifacts inside museums and how weird it is that I like sitting down at park benches eating ice cream and reading a good old book by Hemingway or poems by Tagore. (I don’t know why but Ernest Hemingway books are so good to read when travelling) I also stroll for hours in markets, parks and bazaars watching the people and observing the products and actual economic activity. Not everyone is amenable to my methods in getting to know and feel the place.
Here’s the list of the places I would be visiting for 2014. (I made sure I step on the lands of Visayas and Mindanao hopefully there would be airline discounts that would come up.) I would definitely be blogging about these trips and it would be a GREAT PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENT if I tick off every destination off of my list. Wish me luck!
JANUARY – VIGAN, ILOCOS SUR
– I always planned a trip to Vigan and even bought a map to the city a few years ago, but the trip never came into fruition for stupid excuses here and there. I feel connected to the old world, colonial vibe of Vigan, its calesas, cobblestone paths and mostly its museums.
FEBRUARY – CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, PAMPANGA
– The real agenda is to take part in the four-day Hot Air Balloon Festival which would be held from Thursday to Sunday on February 6 to 9 or February 13 to 16 next year. An excerpt from one travel website: “The hot air balloon festival features the best and most well designed hot air balloons you will not see anywhere else. As this event is participated in by different countries, they also bring in hundreds of balloon pilots.”
MARCH – SAGADA, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE
– I remember my parents taking me to Sagada when I was younger, I had a Sony compact disc player and Lord of the Rings to accompany me through that long bus ride. I also recall my legs being sore from trekking those mountains and spelunking inside the beautiful caves. I had my map and Hello Kitty film camera in hand throughout the trip. The place still allures me, its mysterious beauty beckons me to go back, walk through its mountain paths and eat homemade yogurt in the morning.
APRIL – BICOL
– Another thing I always put off was boarding the PNR train which is a mystery to most Manilenos and Manilenas because as one friend puts it “no one rides that dingy train anymore.” Another friend said that the interior of the train has already improved and that it is a 4-hour trip that he thinks I would like because according to him I’m the “buses and trains kind of girl.” Top on my list would be to visit the perfectly shaped Mayon volcano and Cagsawa national museum, of course I would taste the spicy dishes Bicol prides itself in.
MAY – PAGUDPUD, ILOCOS NORTE
– I cannot let summer pass by without visiting a beach, I was initially planning to splurge on the beach because everyone knows I’m not really a “beach-bum type” which is why I want to make it worth the while and all the gym time I’d be investing on for a flatter stomach. But upon researching on my travel destinations, I fell in love immediately with Pagudpud. The CNN travel website describes it this way: “the wide and inviting beaches are usually empty, making them ideal for those who enjoy mixing solitude with sun, sand and surf.”
JUNE – TAGAYTAY CITY, CAVITE
– My parents usually took me to Tagaytay as a little girl and I never forgot those moments when my mom and I had the cable car rides and when she directed me how to pose for pictures. I’m expecting June to be a busy month since I am to start law school and probably arrange for my post-graduate graduation so Tagaytay came up since it’s nearby and would not hurt my budget. Top things to do would be to visit Taal Volcano, Sonya’s Garden, and get lost in time drawing and listening to Elgar Concertos while at the Picnic Grove.
JULY – LAGUNA
– The birthplace of Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero, I just feel like I need to know the place to also know the hero. The course on Rizal back in my undergraduate years, the three text books I read on him and topping my Rizal class was not enough. Top on my list would be Pagsanjan Falls, Caliraya Lake, the Rizal house, the old churches and if time permits probably another flashback of my childhood in Enchanted Kingdom.
AUGUST – BATANGAS
– This trip is another channeling to my childhood, I remember riding the “balanga” or floating house with my family and holding on to the kawayan as I try floating around the deeper parts of the beach. Since I’m travelling alone, I would most likely forego the beaches and visit the Calatagan Lighthouse, the old churches and eat Lomi and Bulalo which are the signature dishes of Batangas. Probably stop by houses of friends, I happen to have a number of close friends who are Batangenos and Batangenas. My bestfriend Cyrus is a Batangeno and promised to take me around, fingers crossed that my accommodations would be free.
SEPTEMBER – Iloilo
– To pay homage to my roots, I plan to visit Iloilo and my mother’s hometown. To know the most amazing person in the world, my mom, I would do it Rizal style, know the place where the person grew up in to know the person better. Hoping to score discounted airline tickets and free accommodations from relatives in the province. Top things that I would want to do in the city would be to go to Diversion Road and have a taste of the Iloilo night life (probably meet a ‘malambing’ hottie while sipping on pink cosmopolitans), visit Fort San Pedro which is said to have ‘the most beautiful sunset’ in the city, and go to the Miag-ao Fortress Church listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. September 10th would be my mom’s birthday, this is the perfect homage to her awesome-ness.
OCTOBER – Bacolod
– The Masskara Festival of Bacolod falls on the closest weekend of October 19, I surely would not want to miss that and the chance to buy boxes of pastel and no, the pastels are not for sharing but for personal consumption (and yes, I might end up a diabetic when I’m back from the trip). Our family also owns a couple of businesses in the business district so I might as well acquaint myself with the city while I’m at it. Aside from taking part in the Masskara Festival and visiting our businesses, I would love to visit the Talisay Ruins which is heralded as one of the most fascinating ruins in the world, explore Silay City which is considered the ‘seat of arts, culture and eco-tourism in Western Visayas and visit San Sebastian Cathedral and Pope John Paul II Tower.
– I watched a local movie with this title, I have a vague memory of it but I think that movie was X-rated and Gelie De Belen starred in it. That movie sparked wishes of going to the place and grand imaginings of how it would be like, waterfalls, beaches and island mystery. Many have been in awe of the “virginal” beauty of Camiguin and it is called ‘The Island Born of Fire’ because of the active and dormant volcanoes that surround the island. October would probably the end of the school term for law school and I’m expecting to get vacation time from work so I might as well hit the beach, smoke a joint or two every night and sleep under the stars and the sound of sea waves.
DECEMBER – Batanes
– I placed Batanes last on the list because having researched on my 12 destinations, Batanes would entail extra budgeting and preparation. Batanes would cap off year 2014 because it is indeed a dream destination. I would love to visit the Ivatan stone houses, visit World War II memorials, visit the museums that I’ve heard they have in Batanes and walk through the virgin hills and the lighthouses. (What is it with me and places with lighthouses? Maybe it is a sign that I will find “myself” in this year of travel) I actually posted four pictures of Batanes, it is just so beautiful.