Travel, no matter the reason, has always been a life changer for me. It has affected me even way before I was born. My father was a soldier from Cebu assigned to the south most region of the country. My mother hailed from Dapitan who was given a scholarship for a state university in a land she has never heard of. They had to travel, leave their hometowns and see what Tawi-tawi has to offer to their young lives. It was because they traveled that they met, fell in love, got married and had me and my brother.
I grew up knowing that travelling is a necessity in our life. We travelled because of work, deaths and family. My parents’ jobs required for us to live in Zamboanga. There, I was exposed to a mixture of culture, ethnicities and religion. Because I was raised in such melting pot, I never developed a prejudice in color, tribe ang faith. Deaths in the family called for us to pay our respects in Dapitan and Dumaguete. Family was always a good excuse to travel. May it be a wedding, reunions or fiestas, the clan requires our presence thus we travel. I don’t know which one feels better, to see your distant relatives or to have a short getaway from the usual life back in the hometown.
During my senior year in college, our class had a week-long tour to Luzon. We went to Subic where I was hugged by an aeta, I got to see the Taal Volcano, saw Rizal’s place in Cavite, passed by Batangas, Laguna and Pampanga. I got to explore the noisy Manila and its huge malls. It was when my romance with coffee started. Aside from the sight-seeing bit, we were also shown into some really massive Information Technology companies. Before the tour was over, I already told myself that I will be working for one of those companies and since we didn’t have those back in my hometown, I knew I had to leave after graduation.
Graduation came. I, an eager fresh graduate wanting to take on the corporate world was lured into the beauty of the English-speaking and coffee-drinking life in a call center. I was sent to Davao for training and had to live on my own for few months. It was really tough for me. I had to do things on my own for the first time. Starting from waking myself up for work, preparing my meal, doing the dishes to doing my laundry, I had to do everything! It was hard and I went back home. I failed at being independent, or so I thought.
Just few weeks after I got home, I was already making plans and eyeing Cebu as my next destination. Lucky for me, I was invited by my cousin for Sinulog. I took the chance and somehow made it here in Cebu. This place for me, has a little of everything. It gives me the laid back feeling of a tropical Island and at the same time, it presents itself as a metropolitan. Capable of nursing different industries, infrastructures and all the modernization bit. The beaches are gorgeous and pristine. The people, warm and friendly yet they can be headstrong and frank. Cebu became my second home and although I still visit my folks a few times a year, I now refer to Cebu when I say “Uuwi na ako” (I’m going home) after each travel.
I fell in love with Cebu and I fell in love in it. I have been as far north as Baguio and as far south as Tawi-tawi, only to find my heart here in Cebu. Now, I am married to a person who shares my lust for travelling. We keep a bucket list of places we would want to go to here and abroad. Although we have our favorite places, few times each year, we would go to places we haven’t been to.
As of writing, we both won a round trip ticket from Cebu Pacific Air for Hong Kong. We took it as a sign that the universe is conspiring for us to go and really see the world! This will be the first trip abroad for us. We are both looking to that new experience and eager to see the new us after the travel.
I was once reprimanded by an elderly for not making up my mind on which place to settle. She reminded me that “Rolling stones gather no moss”, but I dare said “If I was a stone, I wouldn’t worry about any moss. I’d roll and be a well rounded stone.” I believe that whenever you travel, a piece of your old self stays with that place and a piece of that place becomes a part of you. Travelling will shape you, change you and make you a new person whether you will it or not.