When I travel, I crave to experience the life of a local.
To go where the locals go, to eat their foods, go to their favorite spots and experience the culture of a country.
I don’t desire the streamlined resorts, or the “Americanized” version of things.
ALL AND ALL, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR-THE UNIVERSE IS ALWAYS LISTENING.
Part one ☝️
21 hours of flying and 26 hours of total traveling later, I landed in my mother and grandmothers homeland, The Philippines. 🇵🇭
It was my first time traveling solo and it was terrifying. I even called my fiancé in a state of panic at one point but none the less, my grandparents met me at the airport excited for what the next month had to offer.
Then I did what any sane human would do on the first day of arriving, I took a 30 minute boat ride and then climbed Taal Volcano in Tagaytay.
My grandparents made it about half way up and then I finished the journey with my cousins Larry and Christopher. The choice was to either take A horse or hike and we chose the latter.
At the top of the volcano brought the most beautiful view of the crater lake and surrounding islands. It was in that moment that I fell in love with my Grandma’s island.
The first week brought with it FEAR as I’ve never experienced it before. I was so outside of my comfort zone even in the presence of family.
Due to a family fued, my grandparents opted to stay with our cousin Larry and his family in Pangasinan. Larry is my grandmas adopted son but in comparison to nearby family, Larry lives a very simple life.
The house is primitive to any I’ve ever seen in the United States. The walls & floors are made of concrete, the roof all aluminum, no air conditioning and no hot water. The kitchen is on the porch outside with a simple burner.
Now my grandpa warned me that I was in for a shock, but shock wasn’t the right word to describe how I was feeling.
Now I have traveled to Bali and seen poverty around every corner, but it’s completely different to live amoung the poor and experience their every day life.
This was also personal, this was my family. I quickly understood why my grandma constantly sent her family packages and used one of my travel bags with gifts for the family.
Poverty takes on an entirely different beast in the third world. I say with confidence that the poorest man in the US is rich in comparison to the average person in the Philippines but the simplicity brings happiness.
Put it this way, children fight spiders to the death for fun in the Philippines. Capturing spiders and fighting them is their version of playing with toys.
My best friend Nicole, a Peace Corp volunteer in Zambia had this to say about the third world, “even when you’re inside being productive, you feel so lazy in comparison to the people around you.”
Life is different here. There is no going to the office working your 9-5 and returning to your comfortable home. It’s more like this, wake up at 5 tend to the farm and animals, clean, cook, bike to the market and work around the house until 7pm. Wake up every morning and do it all over again.
My mother in law would never call anything disgusting again if she saw the state of the markets in the Philippines.
I wont lie, I wanted to vomit.
The smell alone was enough for me to want to get back on a plane back to Florida.
But I didn’t come here to be faint of heart. After all, I’m the type of women who doesn’t hang with the faint of heart.
So I took a deep breathe and embraced the sights, the smells and and open sewage.
Meat is out openly all day, flys are admist, every vendor is trying to sell the same thing it’s a wonder how anyone makes money here in the third world. This is no different from Bali, Indonesia, there is no FDA to protect you and everyone and there mother offers the same DAMN things.
Whats most repulsive is the whole food approach to everything, not one part of the animals go to waste at this market. Pig snouts, innards of a cow and tongue, and the skins of animals hang freely. It’s enough to make you think twice about eating another animal.
To be continued….