Saturday, September 18, 2010

Why Travel? My Let's Go Sago contest entry

Why Travel?

I always considered myself a home guy. I never had any real interest in traveling. If I would look back five years ago, this is how I describe my leisure trip...

Yes, that was how I enjoyed life. Eat, play video games (or watch movies and anime) and sleep late. If by chance you would ask me "Where was the farthest place I traveled?", I might answer, "I went to the magical, mystical world of Azeroth..." (for those who don't know this place, it's a fictional country from the popular video game Warcraft).

That was years before... until I met my lovable TRAVEL BUDDY! :)

* Meet my lovable travel buddy! Always wanting to explore new places and try out exotic dishes.

My TRAVEL BUDDY a.k.a. girlfriend often wants me to go out with her. At first, I was reluctant to go travel with her because of the following reasons...

a) I didn't want to spend a lot of money
b) I didn't want to get my feet tired
c) I already saw that before on TV! Why bother?

But because of her sheer enthusiasm, powers of persuasion and the times we quarreled because I did not want to go :( she eventually convinced me to change my views.

Because I wasn't used to the idea of Philippine travel, we first started out visiting nearby popular landmarks within the city. Our favorite was Rizal Park (Luneta Park). We picked this destination because it was relatively near our homes and she knows I am a cheapskate when it comes to paying for transportation.

* Revisiting history. Jose Rizal's monument is one the famous landmarks that define Philippine history. This public park can accommodate local and foreign tourists alike.

After our leisurely stroll, When late afternoon came, we would sometimes go to the bay area and wait for the sun to set. I have heard many people say sunsets in Manila Bay are breathtaking. The first time I went there with her, I did not expect much, but I brought along a point-and-shoot camera so that I could see for myself and capture the moment.

* Appreciating the beauty of nature. The sunset at Manila Bay is one of the most breathtaking scenes our country has to offer. Seeing this golden sunset made me realize that going out to travel can show you that the world is filled with fascinating scenes best experienced first-hand.

When it comes to food, when we go out, she would suggest eating those cheap turo-turo foods sold by street vendors like fish balls and kwek-kwek. Later on, when we started traveling to farther places, we started eating out in local restaurants. She introduced me to this food called sisig. I know this food is common even in local carenderias but without my TRAVEL BUDDY, I wouldn't dare try it. Seeing me eat something I am not used to often made her laugh! She would constantly remind me we should enjoy this because "This is our food trip!" Overtime, I got the hang of eating street food and sisig.

* Trying out new dishes. Here in this photo was the first time she introduced to me sisig. Sadly, I was a late bloomer and was not exposed to these kinds of Pinoy food.

The more my TRAVEL BUDDY exposed me to travel, the more I wanted to see what is in store for us. A lot of colorful events here in the Philippines is a definite crowd favorite such as the Flores de Mayo festival held every month of May. Year-round, municipalities in the Philippines hold their festivities in the grandest possible manner attracting tourists by the thousands. Hopefully, one day, me and my TRAVEL BUDDY will be able to witness together grand festivals in the Visayas like the Sinulog. The last time I experienced this was may back when I was still a small kid... I sure missed it. :(

* Being a part of a grand festival. A lot of colorful events here in the Philippines is a definite crowd favorite for local and foreign tourists. It is definitely fun to be part of the celebration.

As my enthusiasm for travel grew, so to was my eagerness to learn photography. Seeing the beauty of the Philippines is one thing, but interpreting and sharing its beauty with other people is more fulfilling. Even if I travel to the rural areas, I still get to see the beauty and wonder of the Philippines.

Some of my travel photos I have taken ever since I traveled with my TRAVEL BUDDY...

school of fish fighting for the last morsel of food in a Nuvali pond. It is interesting seeing fish cramped up this way. This was taken as me and my TRAVEL BUDDY headed home from Tagaytay.

I took this photo when I chanced upon two boys collecting well water in a small sitio in Antipolo City. This photo became one of the top 40 finalists in the GTZ Water is Life photo contest 2009. (Entry 31)

I took a photo of Hinulugang Taktak, Antipolo City taken after strong rains hit this area.

eagle's eye view of Lake Taal

photo stitched shot of a Tagaytay landscape...

My TRAVEL BUDDY has shown me that the beauty of Philippine Travels is not just found in the places and the scenery. It can also be found in the people, events, the food and the warmth and hospitality given to us by the locals. I have learned a lot since I opened myself up for travel... and I have yet to see a lot more, and get to meet interesting people too.

So, if I ask myself right now "Why travel?"

After being enlightened by my TRAVEL BUDDY, I now have a lot of reasons...
a) to rediscover history
b) to appreciate the beauty of nature
c) to try out new dishes!
d) to meet new people
e) to celebrate and have fun!
f) to further enhance my photography skills
g) to share with others the beauty I have seen

Combining all these reasons, I travel because I have seen for myself first-hand that there is more to life out there than just staying inside my room.

Thank you and love you so much my TRAVEL BUDDY...

This is my contest entry for the Let's Go Sago blog contest. Join this contest and get a chance to win travel goodies! Deadline of this contest is on September 18, 2010. For more information on this contest, visit the Let's Go Sago! anniversary contest page or at the Let's Go Sago Facebook fan page.

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