Life In Contrast

Life In Contrast

As you read this post, I’m finally home. It may not be for a long time but I am blessed with 28 days to reunite with my love ones. It’s been 4 years since I saw my homeland. It is a huge contrast to what I remembered. It is also a wide ¬†contrast to the place where I chose to follow my dream. This week’s photo challenge is all about contrast. This is my version. A version of life and reality, of the past and the present, of remembering the lost memories of my youth and making new ones with my wife and son.

My son was all excited to see the Philippines particularly his parent’s hometown in the Panay Island. He heard about the fun and beauty of the place but now he will get the chance to see and experience them for himself. As he fastened his seat belt, he looked at me, smiled and said, ” Here we go dad. We are going to see grandma and grandpa in the Philippines.” Looking so delighted he then turned towards the window as the plane took off. We were both quiet for a while as we stared at the golden sunset.

We passed by Singapore’s Changi Airport. It was huge, clean and organized. They have a Koi garden as well as a rainforest themed garden surrounded by giant ferns. Both were beautiful. They have a section called the “Sanctuary” where you can rest and sleep. So tempting after 20 hours of flight.

A total contrast greeted us at the arrival area of  the NAIA. It felt chaotic. There were so many people crowding the luggage claim section. Having 8 luggage was a challenge of wit, brain, muscle strength, even humor. It was hot and humid. Despite of the physical discomforts, the airport staff were helpful and courteous. My son did a great job adjusting to the new environment. He even tried to help as our luggage fell during a rapid descent. His face lit up when he saw his grandparents. He was all ready for his great adventure.

The pilot made an announcement. We finally landed in Iloilo City. I held my breath for a second. I can’t believe that I was truly home. I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry when I saw my family, waiting for us at the local airport. At that moment, all the discomfort of the 2 days plane trip melted away. It felt good to once again hold our love ones.

Life may be of contrast when you are at the opposite ends of the Earth or when you have lived on both East and West. The extreme difference between a first world country to that of a third world, is beyond description. Beyond contrast, both extremes share the same beautiful sunset, of a love that holds no limits between families, of a hope that keeps families together and never giving up to life’s challenges. No matter what country we came from, we all share that need and longing for love and family.

I hope you enjoyed my late entry for this week. Remember to always hold close to your heart the home, the memories and the love you shared with your family.

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About Island Traveler

A devoted husband and father who tries to make a positive difference in the lives of his family and friends. A person who finds inspiration and strength on those he loves and who loved him in all aspects of his life.
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100 Responses to Life In Contrast

  1. onchieonch says:

    Welcome home! At first I thought you were from a different country, maybe the US or something. Glad to know that you are a “kababayan” :)

  2. onchieonch says:

    I mean *somewhere. lol We tend to be angry about the news that NAIA was one of the worst airports but who’s to blame? The truth hurts right? :)

    • There’s always room for change, for hope. Yes, it was hot. Yes, it was crowded and somewhat out dated as compared to other International airports but I can sense that the people who work there tries to please the visitors with the little they have. My wife gave a generous tip to the guy who helped us carry our 10 luggage all the way to our car. He didn’t ask how much but we felt it was only right to help and give more. If I can shed 10% for tips in the U.S. how much more for my countrymen in the Philippines who are in a financial difficulty. We need to share our blessings. We need to look back where we came from. I wish I can do more everyday.

  3. Seeing your family made all the ‘bad’ go away. We all do share that need for love, family. I’m so happy your son got to go home with you. He’ll always have his special memories in his mind as he grows older. I enjoyed reading and seeing your photos, on your blog. Granny Gee :)))

    • Thanks Granny Dee. My son is enjoying every minute, every adventure, every encounter with family and friends. I’m so happy that he appreciates the “contrast” way of life and comforts he was used too. He somehow understand that we can be happy just by being around love ones . That we can play with fun and joy even without the latest gadgets out there. His making his own wonderful memories everyday.

  4. aerea011 says:

    That’s so nice – to be finally home with a child who’s going to finally see his grandparents. awww..

    • My son is looking forward for this moment. He was overjoyed to meet his cousins and to play with the family’s pet dogs. Finally, he gets to discover a world of fun and joy he only sees in pictures. Thank you.

  5. I love, love, love your first photo! They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and yours it truly that. Wishing you a safe and joyous return home.

    • That picture sums us the joy and excitement of our home visit. Everyday is a happy encounter with life among my love ones. I couldn’t ask for more. Blessings comes in many ways. These are my life’s beautiful blessings. Thank you.

  6. Gilly Gee says:

    How wonderful enjoy your time back home with the family together! and take lots of photos!

    • Thank you Gilly Dee. Yes, I’m trying to take as much pictures as I can. If only my eyes can store the joys and realities of life. I can only do my best. Take care.

  7. cocomino says:

    Beautiful shots. Yes, we can share our thought and love wherever we live. :smile:

    • Love can be anywhere, with anyone, at any place. Rich or poor, for as long as we genuinely love and care, happiness follows. The beauty that we feel shows in how we live and react with others. thanks…

  8. What a joyful reunion! I love the picture of your son looking out the airplane’s window… A picture is worth a thousand words!

  9. Angeline M says:

    I have been holding my breath waiting to see your first post from home. How wonderful that your son is able to be with you and to learn first hand about where the family is from. Have so much fun! Enjoy every minute!!

    • Thanks Angeline. I am enjoying, savoring, storing in my memory each moment, each reunion, each joyful occasion. I was at the church yesterday, when I heard the old song just before the communion, I felt like crying but I had to hold back the tears. I missed so much in 4 years, I just hope 28 days makes up for it. Perhaps it can. What matters is how we spend those 28 days with our love ones.

  10. The first image fits well with your story: contrasts of East to West. It’s a beautiful photograph and story, Sally

  11. While reading this post, I felt your excitement that you’re finally home. I felt that way the first time I had a month’s vacation. The days leading to my departure, I don’t think I really slept at all. I know how you feel. I’m really happy for you.

    • The night before we left, I chose to work a 12 hour night shift. I thought, I may not be able to sleep anyway from all the excitement. That plus Benadryl for my allergies didn’t really make me fall asleep the first several hours of the trip. It does feel good to be home. This has been a long overdue homecoming. The city has changed a lot but my family and their love for each other remains like it was before I left home. It feels good to be around people you grow up with. Thanks.

  12. likeitiz says:

    Was this your son’s first long plane ride? I remember when it was my daughter’s first time. Well, at least, the first time she was really aware of these things. Plane rides at less than 2 years of age don’t really count. I don’t think they really have a good grasp of things yet. But when she was three she was so excited. She kept counting the days when the day would come. Was your son excited to be up in the sky?

    I noticed you still call Iloilo your “home.” I guess it’s where your heart is, huh? I hope you will have a wonderful visit with friends and relatives. Have fun. Be safe!

    • It’s so hard to let go of a place that you have so much memories about. My wife is from Iloilo and I’m from Roxas City, both places I considered my home. Texas is like my third home. A few years from now, I can’t really say where destiny will lead me and my family. I still wish that before I really get old, I’m going back to the Philippines. So, yes, I still feel that it’s my home. As they say, home is where your heart is. My wife thinks the same. As for my son, he loves every moment of his stay. He never knew he has so much cousins. He’s having a great time. It was his first long plane ride that he could remember, so it’s special to him just like how it was memorable and fun for your daughter. As a parent, it’s pure joy to see them looking all happy and excited. Thank you for sharing. Best wishes….

      • likeitiz says:

        good to hear from you, in spite of your travels. Do have fun!

      • Thank you. I’m having the best time and the best meals. I just had clam soup with “patola,” grilled squid, shrimp, prawn, mix fruit of papaya, melon and cantaloupe and home made Sans Rival from my sisters bakeshop. My sister is currently making a local grown brewed coffee. What a sweet life. I wish it’s like that all the time. It’s free to dream right? Take care.

      • likeitiz says:

        Please savor every mouthful for us!

  13. Arindam says:

    I can realize how you would have felt, when you reached your home town. And I can visualize the happiness in your parents eyes, after seeing you and your family there. Even just like you my brother also live in that part of the world. And I know how it feels, when he comes to our home town once in a year. I just wish you have a wonderful wonderful time there. Gather as much happy memories as you can from this trip bro. After all memories are the things, which we can keep with us and which can make our life’s journey beautiful. Best wishes bro. :)

    • Bro, I appreciate the generous, heartfelt sharing. In a way, we share a similar hope and dreams, of finding joy and inspiration in the love of our families. We value the past where we came from or that of our parents. I will gather as much beautiful and happy memories as I can. Memories I will always carry with me. thank you my friend.

  14. thirdhandart says:

    Enjoy your time with family and friends! No matter what the contrasts in lifestyle are, love and family will ease the journey. Stay safe… and enjoy the beautiful moments! :-)

    • Thank you. I am blessed with blogger friends that walked with me through my happy and sad journeys. You words gives me encouragement and something to smile about . Stay blessed my friend.

  15. Fergiemoto says:

    Great photos and how wonderful to see your family and homeland again! Have a fantastic time!

    • I’m having the best time of my life. Every longing I had for the past few years melted away in just a few days of reuniting with love ones I have not seen for so long. Thank you.

  16. jhirzel88 says:

    This reminds me of when I was in Germany for six years. I only got a chance to visit my grandparents’ once a year, and it was during the summertime. The experience of being able to see them in such a long time is so memorable. Once I saw them standing at the airport for us, I was so excited.

    • Reunion with long lost love ones always brings out joyful memories. Thanks for sharing a beautiful memory with your grandparents. I wish we can visit our families every year if we can. Life is too short not to create wonderful moments year after year.

  17. cuhome says:

    Thank you for your beautiful photos, and for the reminder to always hold close loved ones and memories with them. What a wonderful memory you’ve created for your son.

    • Thank you. Coming home to visit our families is one great decisions I made. The memories and the daily events are priceless treasures. There is no words to describe how happy we all are.

  18. Madhu says:

    The first pic is truly beautiful! Perfect for the challenge! Have fun with your family and create wonderful memories!

    • The first picture says it all. It expressed what our hearts felt the moment we boarded the plane. Families makes you feel that you can soar and fly…everyday! Thank you for sharing.

  19. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge – Contrast « The Urge To Wander

  20. Northern Narratives says:

    The first photos fills me with many emotions of travels through life. Enjoy every moment :)

    • The happy and inspiring travels we make through life is a travel worth celebrating and reliving each day. And the best way to celebrate them is by sharing it among family and friends. Thank you and have a lovely day.

  21. fgassette says:

    There is no place like home. So glad you and your family are united once again. As you have stated we all live under the same beautiful (your photo) sun weather we live in the east or the west so I share your happiness and tears of joy on your return home.


  22. fgassette says:

    Oh, one more thing. We don’t have to see your son’s face to see the excitment, wonder and antiscapation of his new adventure and seeing his grandparents. This photo is priceless. Thanks for sharing these special momentsi


    • My son personally chose to sit by the window. He wants to make sure he sees the plane taking off and with each landing. He was amazed by the landscape underneath but the best part is when he saw the rest of the family. The joy and excitement on his face was so transparent. I’m so happy for him. Thank you for sharing and have a blessed day.

  23. Sonel says:

    Oh, you must all enjoy. Looking forward to see all the photo’s you are going to share with us. :)

  24. That first photo is amazing! Your love for your son is so pure and sweet, and it always shines through in your posts. I hope the two of you have a wonderful adventure.

    • Everyday is an exciting and happy adventure for us while in our homeland. Today, we just went to the beach and it felt honestly great. Thank you and have a blessed day.

  25. The Guat says:

    You always take such great photos. I love the first one ;)

  26. eof737 says:

    Excellent photos and I do wish you a safe and blessed trip at home. As a fellow immigrant, I know the feeling of returning home after time away in another land; the joy, the stories, the tears, the memories… Godspeed. :-)

    • So right my friend. There were a lot of joy, laughter, wonderful stories, even a few tears of love and longing. My wife and I hope to retire soon after this vacation. To enjoy the remaining years of our lives among families. It’s a big move and decision but if God wills it and destiny favors it, we will celebrate it with happiness in our hearts. Thank you and God bless…

  27. Frank Bishop says:

    Welcome back home, glad you made your trip to and from safely. I’m sure it was a great time seeing your family. I expect more visuals coming. Great pictures as always.

    • Bro, I’m having the best time of my life. We just went to the beach where my father took me and my sisters when we were still in high school. It feels wonderful to share a beautiful past in the present. I can see how happy my parents are that almost all their grown up kids are sharing a unforgettable time with them. Life is good! Thank you for sharing.

  28. Blink says:

    welcome back home
    enjoy with your loved ones to the fullest ..
    and would love to know how your son react when he meet people from his father’s hometown :)
    the way you described your entire journey to your homeland i can just wait to go to Singapore for a vacation.
    stay blessed and enjoy

    • My son was shy at first. He never met some of his cousins on my side but on the second night, he already had his first sleepover with them. I can see the glow of joy on his face. I’m so glad we decided to go home this year. Thank you for the wonderful comment. wishing you all life’s blessings…

      • Blink says:

        thats the way every child reacts..
        at first they hesitate and then they mix up so readily as if they know each others since years..
        and my pleasure..

      • And it’s one beautiful interaction among children. These moments will help us appreciate the simple joys in life and what it means to be a child. Thank you.

  29. Sunshine says:

    Thank you for bringing us along as you journeyed back home. Such a precious moment in time and your son will have all the memories etched in his soul to carry with him through his life. Abundant love to you all . . .

  30. jakesprinter says:

    Beautiful post my friend ,thumbs up :)

  31. munchow says:

    Welcome home, my friend. Sounds awesome. Particularly when there is such a contrast between new and old home, it must be exciting to be back again. I love the first picture of your boy looking out through the window of the plane. We can see the anticipation and excitement in his stretched body. Thanks for taking us along.

    • My son was all excited. I could see the happiness on his face while we were on the plane. Arriving at the Manila airport was a challenge. It was hot, crowded and the traffic, just as crazy when I left for the U.S. 9 years ago but my son was so appreciative and was very helpful, even with our luggage. At one point I caught him squatting staring at the enormous crowd of people and cars. Other than saying once “It’s warm,” he kept his cool during the entire trip. Everyday he wakes up early, all ready for his daily adventures and surprises. Love his enthusiasm. Thanks for a beautiful, vibrant comment.

  32. Kate Kresse says:

    how lovely that you all got to go see your parents and your homeland. have a wonderful day~

    • I waited 4 years for the big homecoming. I wish I could do it every year. Being in the Philippines made me realize that you can be genuinely happy without the trappings of materialism. All you is a happy and loving family. The rest are bonus features of a unforgettable vacation. Thank you and God bless.

  33. dearrosie says:

    There’s no need for words when we see that beautiful photo of your son looking out the window of the airplane.

    I also know what it’s like to go “home”. Last time I went back to my birth country I hadn’t been there for 20 years. It was still “home” :-)

    • As I waited for my next flight from Manila to my province, I saw a lot of Filipinos that works abroad and their families. I can’t imagine the sacrifices that some of them go through to give their families a better life and future. I was sitting to this lady who will finally see her daughters because she had to leave them so she can work in the middle east. I share your homesickness and so are the countless “Pinoys” who will always long for the home they left behind. Thanks for the comment.

  34. Gail says:

    This is so beautiful. I so enjoyed reading it as I do all your posts. I hope and pray you will make many special new memories with your family. Enjoy your time home.

    • I’m already having a great time being around family and going to my old favorite spots. And the food…just delicious. We don’t count calories in this side of the town. So yes, I’m gaining wait…willingly! God bless you my friend. Thank you for sharing.

  35. Your post brought a tear to my eye. I am so happy for you and your family that you can all be together again for what will surely be a memorable time together. Beautiful photos and beautiful words as always. Much love and happiness to your entire family. I am so happy for you all! ~Vanessa

    • Thank you Vanessa. You spoke from the heart and I appreciate that a lot. It’s like hearing from a good old friend. Thank you. There are no words to describe the the feeling to be around your parents and other family whom I haven’t see for a few years. It is true when they said, “happiness can’t be measured with material things but it can felt when you’re surrounded by people who love and cherish you. Take care.

  36. judithhb says:

    Welcome home again friend. Home is where we grew up, where our family is and where most of our memories reign, no matter where we choose to live our lives, home will always be home!

    • So right Judith. Home will always be home. So much has change for the 4 years I was gone. I could hardly recognize some streets but the warmth and love of family never change. Home is where ever they are. It feels great to see my house too. Makes me feel like a was a kid all over again. Thank you.

  37. Heartfelt words of your journey to your childhood home. Sharing your life and family with
    your son created in him a bond, forever, to who his father was and is. His experiences will be in his heart because they were in yours first and you filled his soul with every ounce of it. A fervent bond was made.
    Always inspiring and touching posts …

  38. Ron says:

    Lovely shots of the boy in the plane ,an experience you both have shared together as another stitch in your fabric of life. The end of journey and meeting loved ones,is the iceing on your cake.These memories shared can never be taken away and will be retold many times over by your son. Thank you for sharing this with us.


    • Thanks Ron. My son is having a great time discovering the fun and wonderful things of having a big family. In the U.S., the only family he knows is me and my wife but in my country of origin, he has so many family to share his adventures with. It’s a joy to share this moment with all of you. Wishing you and your family all the sweet blessings in life. Thanks.

  39. Kammie says:

    Love the first photo especially :)

  40. ristinw says:

    Welcome home! Home is the start of everything! It is the first place where we learn the most important lesson in the world “love”! :D

    • Thanks Ristinw. Home indeed is where we first learn what is love. No matter where fate lead us or what country we chose to travel and relocate, there’s always that very first home we will never forget.

  41. Remember to always hold close to your heart the home, the memories and the love you shared with your family.
    Reading your posts always makes this easier for me. Your love and gratitude is captured so beautifully in your words, and the feeling evoked them lasts well beyond the point I’m next able to hug my guys and tell them how much I love them.

    Welcome home!

    • The love you share with your son and the memories you make everyday with him is something you will treasure always. One day our kids will be all grown up but our memories of love and happy times with them will make us smile, even uplift our spirits when we feel lonely. I see that now with my parents, how happy they are to see all their kids and grand kids. One day, as part of life’s cycle, we will be in a similar situation when age catches up with us. God bless you my friend.

  42. jeanne says:

    Love is the common thread of humanity…without it what would be the purpose? Enjoy your family…don’t let the little things get in the way of making happy memories.

  43. Sony Fugaban says:

    WELCOME HOME, BRO! I’m glad I have known some personal info about you bro through this post. Anyway, I can’t help but feel happy and sad. A few days from now, I’d probably be leaving the country for sometime and this really emphasizes the contrast I am yet to feel by that time … I am happy for after quite some time, you’re back to your family. I am sad because I was reminded of what I am about to feel. You know what I’m talking about.

    But, this is not about me. It’s about you and your family who are reunited again. That’s such a happy story. My apologies for inserting my drama.

    ENJOY, Bro! Regards to the family and may you have the best of your vacation.


    You just gave me an idea of how chaotic it would be to be in an airport — here!

    • I feel both sad and happy for you. Sad cause you need to leave your homeland for a better future. Happy because perhaps it is a part of your dream and now it’s coming true. Always carry your family with you, their love , their memories i your heart and mind. Never forget to pray. Never forget that real friends are there to help you. All these will give you strength when loneliness kicks in. God bless you and your family. Be safe my friend.

  44. auntyuta says:

    Wishing you and your family the best of times. Take care. Enjoy this wonderful holiday.
    All the photos are fantastic! Thanks for taking time to blog.

  45. This is such a beautiful post. Have a fantastic time with your family – I’m sure this is a trip that will hold beautiful memories for your son for years to come :)

    • Everyday, a new adventure with a beautiful story unfolds. I feel so blessed that I’m having to enjoy and experience all these. My son will always remember this Summer of 2012…Thank you for sharing.

  46. Today is my Dad’s death anniversary .Was it just a coincidence that I stumbled upon your blog ?
    Your son is very lucky because he will treasure all the memories you have shared together. For sure, he will pass this on to his own children, the same way as I did to mine. The stories and moments that you had will be forever etched in his memory, enough to last him a lifetime.


    • I’m sorry to hear about your dad. He will always be happy and at peace knowing he was generously loved and that his legacy continues through you and his family. Thank you for the wonderful comment. I do hope he remembers all these too. Memories like this help us go through life with joy and hope. Have a blessed day.

      • He had been gone for a long time but there was never a day that I’ve missed him. Reading your blog made me missed him more.

        Thanks for the wonderful pictures and the inspiration you share with other people.

  47. pix & kardz says:

    what a touching post for the topic of ‘contrast’. travelling – coming and going. saying good-bye at one end of a journey means hello at the other.
    thanks for sharing. not sure if you are still in the Philippines are back at your new home again. Either way, trust you are having a great day!

  48. Elyse says:

    Wonderful, IT. I hope you have a wonderful homecoming and stay. Beautiful pictures — the contrasts are wonderful!

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