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"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." ~St. Augustine
I love traveling.
No matter how different our cultures and our upbringings are, we learn that we are also very much the same.
"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends".-MAYA ANGELOU, "Passports to Understanding"
Yes, people around the world have a lot of similarities, whether we admit it or not. It's also great to learn about different cultures, art, and whatever else...to have unity in diversity.
It is also a great joy to meet true friends from different countries and all over each one's motherland. We might meet some disagreeable people along the way, but more often than not, lasting friendships usually begin during traveling.
Yes, there are those who become close friends only during the entire trip, but there are those that stay close to your heart forever.
When a stranger writes about a certain place, you can imagine what that stranger experienced. That writer may transport you to another place in time, and as a tag-line of a certain sweet product said, "your imagination is your limit" and all writers dream of that.
Yet, the moments you share with your travel companions are precious and you will cherish them forever as long as you live or as long as you can remember.
So more than virtually traveling to a certain place, I believe, these pages of different members of Virtual Tourist could also help you plan your next trip.
If you are checking my pages, please do check the dates. I do try to update them from time to time, but sometimes I overlook things. I still have to muster enough energy before I could write about the places I have been to when I was much, much younger.
"Life is a journey"
Inward traveling is not so different. You go to your desired destination by hypnotherapy, retreats, and so many other ways.
I am still unfinished with my journey, or else I would've crossed over to the next life... ;p
It's been seven years since I joined Virtual Tourist and I'm loving it. I know that we cannot please everybody and not everyone pleases us, but I have met people from all over via this wonderful site that are like family to me.
If only I could attend every meet, but unfortunately, I can't.
I even had to miss the big VT meet in Boracay because it was my baby cousin's wedding. I am glad that, with some very minor hitches, it was a success. Judging by the pictures, videos, and testimonies, everyone had fun so I'm a bit envious, but my cousin's monumental event was very important to me and my family.
"Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances."-Benjamin Franklin
Written on September 22, 2009, 7:55PM
(excerpt only...to read the whole thing, click "this")
Whew. We just arrived and I'm very happy. The whole trip was pleasant and we enjoyed every minute.
The sad thing was, upon reaching home, mom and I kept vomiting. Evelyn, RJ, and dada were feeling nauseous. It was a small price to pay for "happiness".
Due to inclement weather our Monday trip (September 14) was postponed to September 16, which was an answered prayer for Karl.
Karl's birthday was last Tuesday (September 15) and he resented the fact that we were leaving the day before. We were just invited and the itinerary was set. The people involved have freed the whole week just for us. Karl and his family could have joined us, but Arleen had loads of things to do. Without her, my nephew wasn't allowed to travel with us, so Karl had to be left behind.
During the weekend rain was pouring hard then he kept on saying, "Di kayo matutuloy!" (Your plans won't push through!)
The rain stopped, but our family friends thought it best to delay the trip for a couple of days.
We went to Makati to pray and shop for last minute things and got Karl his cake.
We were able to celebrate his birthday with him. He spent the morning with his family and we had a simple lunch together.
We left before sunrise on PG's birthday (September 16).
During the times I wasn't sleeping inside the van I saw a lot of deforestation. (I was too dizzy to take pictures)
Although I know about Illegal logging and what it did to Ormoc, Manong Pete (Cepeda) explained that the trees all around the Cordillera Autonomous Region and Ilocos were sold to business people from Japan who were not allowed to do this in their country.
Japan preserves their trees because they know that nature will get angry if they would cut everything down without reforestation. Those silly locals, for a "few" billion Pesos, sell their trees to them even if they know the consequences. Well, they could have replanted, but they were so "excited" to get rich that they forgot about the rest of their brethren.
Manong Pete also said that we were blessed to have postponed the trip a couple of days because we might have "experienced" the landslides due to those bad stewards of nature.
They were blessed with vast lands, but what did they do?
The others even stole trees and became filthy rich because of other people's property.
No human being really owns anything here. We're only caretakers, but we should be good caretakers...
There are many unfathomable things in this earth, including this photograph I took in Bauang, La Union, last November 2011. The sensor of my camera was defective and it only works indoors, but I still brought it with me during our boat ride to the Thunderbird Resort and The Hundred Islands.
When the sun started to set, I was enthralled. The boat was moving fast and some of the salty water were splashing on my face, but I still took a lot of pictures, I think more than a dozen, to try and capture the beautiful colors that captivated me.
I was so disheartened when we reached my Uncle's rest house that evening when I couldn't find a single good shot. Some of the shots were blank and the others looked faded.
When I was about to give up, I saw this photograph.
I hope you weren't thinking that you will receive miracles if you looked at this. :)
I love seascapes, sunsets, and sunrises.
They give me comfort and remind me that the greatest artist created all these beautiful things I see.
They also nudge me to be concerned about the environment. If we won't care for our surroundings, they will cease to exist before we do, and that's not a good vision for the future.
Looking at clouds on a clear day inspires me to be creative. I imagine a lot of stories because of the shapes I see and sometimes, I could even compose music because of them. In my mind I have painted pictures when I look at them because it is like I have been transported to another world.
Minus the myths and their correlation with religious beliefs, clouds and blue skies have a certain way of stimulating my tired senses.
It's great if you and whoever you are with see the same "things", but there are times, like beauty, the figures one sees are "in the eye of the beholder".
Every dish has a story and we could probably trace some of them from the beginning of time. If we take the Creation Story literally, Adam and Eve ate fruits from almost every tree, except from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil(The Holy Bible and the Quran have similar stories about this). I bet, since they were made into image and "likeness" of God, they were somehow creative that they would have invented some kind of salad. ;p
It's fun to learn about recipes that were passed on from generation to generation. Some with added twists without destroying the original form, but some are followed to the letter.
When I visit other countries, I try their local favorites and take note why they used certain ingredients or why their version substituted another ingredient with this or that.
Our neighbors from the Orient prepared food not only to be enjoyed, but also to heal. They would study the different plants(herbs, vegetables) and how they would cure a certain person. Accidentally, they also discovered about poison and the forerunner of prohibited drugs in their quest of creating the most flavorful dish.
Read about the Food Timeline FAQs here
It is nice to learn when a certain type of meal's preparation goes from way back, but some, because of one reason or the other, had to add chemicals for long life.
We had a small chain of different type of food establishments a few years ago, but since none of us were really from families of restaurateurs, the business was shelved. Before it became operational, I studied how our main product was invented and I learned it was because the people from that place had to go in hiding and it was the easiest thing to cook during winter. They had a feast every spring (February 2, Candlemas) and it was served and offered to the Virgin Mary.
When I love a certain dish, if I can, I want to learn about its story. Like how it became a family favorite and why almost everyone from that certain town have a version of it.
It's exciting to learn about cultures that way.
Here in the Philippines I get excited when I go to a certain province for the first time. I want to try out about the their delicacies. If it is bad for me, I would like to try it even once or forever just imagine why people love it even if I'm not as adventurous as Anthony Bourdain,Andrew Zimmern or Jeff Corwin.
The people in the National Capital Region(Metro Manila) were(maybe still are) accused of having no culture because they claim that there is nothing uniquely Manilenian. Of course, there are theme restaurants and those that serve authentic food from certain provinces, but somehow, the Manilenians only know how to do fusion food.
Do I agree with that?
Instead of answering let me just say that most of the people here, if not all, have come from other places. We are people from different cultures that learned to live with each or simply co-exist. The fusion phenomena is like a medley of different songs or a mash-up that become a hit. Different cultures are blended into one.
Instead of debating if people from certain places are better than people from another place, we combine the flavors to create a more exciting flavor.
Spanish and Chinese cuisines were existing in Manila for centuries. If you don't know the reason why, go and read our history written by historians from our country, and not from those who are banking on false information. The Arabians and some Africans were here even before they came and some people from India too. So different personalities, different dishes, different cultures together are another culture in itself.
Last 21 May 2012, my youngest brother sailed over to great blue yonder. He was my travel companion and whenever there was nobody else to listen to me, he would give me a pat on the back. He does not want to hugged, but he would allow me to put my head on his shoulder and he would comfort me.
What I just said doesn't sound so extraordinary, but he was a non-verbal autistic savant.
Here are some of my "adventures" with him:
The time when he "hid" from me at the SM Mall of Asia
Sibling interaction at his school
Saying goodbye to him
I love my family, flaws and all(Bearing an Imperfect Family).
We would love to help people, but right now, we have limited resources.
Helping people gives us a lighter feeling inside. The only thing bad about helping people is when people "expect" you to help them like it's your obligation to do so.
It's better to give than to receive, that's true, but a heartfelt aid no matter how small is better than a forced one, no matter how big.
There's a better way to say that in our vernacular, but right now, that's the closest way to describe it.
These are some of my souvenirs from my travels. My stats say that I have only written about 5 countries and 19 cities. I need to muster enough energy and I have to have a LOT of time to update my pages.
My first friend in the planet already gave me a scanner, but scanning takes lots and lots of time too. I could go to a neighborhood photoshop to digitize the negatives or they could do the scanning for me, but that would make me spend a LOT.
For now, I will focus on writing about current events and my "own backyard".
When I was much, much younger I would dare to bike long distances. You would find me here, there and almost everywhere. I think I was a very brave young girl. I also made my bike jump humps and all that jazz.
I would also climb trees, et cetera, et cetera.
One thing I didn't love to do was to go trekking, but I did this more than thrice already, had fun a couple of times, but was so nauseous going down a rocky path that I almost regurgitated. Instead, I just cried. LOL.
There was a short time(this was when I stopped climbing trees) when I suffered acrophobia, but I've gone past that already. I still am a bit claustrophobic, but I guess I have conquered that already too.
I love roller coasters, but my heart is not for deep sea diving. I would just content myself by looking at the pictures of my friends.
Oh, I have traveled alone already, dared to meet a few strangers. Thankfully, the strangers I've met are great, but in this day and age, I would never, ever meet any "stranger" alone again. That's why I'm thankful to VT because I could meet people for the first time with my VT brothers and sisters.
Because of this, I think I will be a VTer until my final breath. ;-)
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