The Real World Outside The Bus

Life Lessons Outside The Bus

It was our last week in the Philippines. I asked my wife if I can take my son to my hometown in Capiz so he can spend his last weekend with his cousins. He was so happy the last time we were there and I just want him to have as much wonderful memories as he can. My wife said yes but with one condition, that I should watch him closely like a hawk. I was excited. We were both excited. It will be my son’s first official long distance Bus ride.

He chose to sit close to the window. Great choice. I was wondering what was running in his head while watching the life and reality outside the bus. I remember him saying to my wife as she was watching a Filipino drama T.V. series when he saw the houses in the countryside, “Mom, is that the past?” His mom explained to him that it is a present reality in his parents country of birth. He simply said,”Oh!” and went back to playing with his Lego toys.

At the bus terminal, food merchants sell food and cold beverage from the sweet Coconut Pie to the exotic, world famous “Balut,” a delicacy once featured in “Fear Factor.” What may be disgusting to some is actually a staple food for others. “Balut” is a cooked chicken or duck egg with an embryo. My son actually ate two minus the embryo which my mom cooked herself . I was surprised that he likes it. He told everyone how yummy it was. What a great sport!

Sleep is where your eyes decides to close. On a jeepney’s seat, a chair on a busy market, or the floor of a side-walk where a flattened paper box becomes a mattress. It is not uncommon to see people sleep on news papers, even children and toddlers. This is the raw reality of living in a third world country. A painful, harsh reality that for some is just unbelievable. Scenes like these makes me appreciate the simple things I have. I hope others will feel the same way too. 

I want to show him the realities outside the usual, comfortable box that we live in. This was the perfect moment. A priceless life lesson of what’s happening in the world. A world unknown to him until that day.

Life As Raw As It Gets

Road workers brave the heat and injury. No protective gear, no sunblock, no slippers nor shoes. This is how it’s been in a lot of places for as long as I can remember.

Sometimes, there may be no water for days as some of the water pipes are accidentally cut-off during a road construction. People need to manually carry water. It’s not unusual for kids to take a shower using the water of a busted pipe. They do look like they’re having fun though as they splash water to each other.

Delivering 20-40 pound bags of rice to the market needs muscle strength. Workers carry them manually on their shoulders. It looks like a great work out. Younger men would toss 2-4 bags in one trip like their down throw pillows. Impressive!

During rush hours, it’s hard to get a good seat when riding the public jeepney. Sometimes you have to run to beat the crowd. I saw several  younger men offering their seats to the elderlies and women with little kids. It’s admirable how respect and courtesy still exist no matter how times have changed.

Bamboo folding tables are a practical way to sell food products for the transient  night wet market that sprouts on the streets when the sun goes down.

The equivalent of McDonald’s burger, Big Mak street burger and it’s on a “buy one, take one” promo.

For the health buff, fresh fruits. These are locally grown organic bananas. Fertilizers are more expensive than the fruit itself. So, pretty much, most backyard grown fruits and veggies are “organic.”

Who can resist a free vehicle change oil? A great advertising strategy. I didn’t see any cars but there were a few bicycles lining up in a corner. Perhaps it meant, “free bicycle oil.” I could be wrong.

Earning a living can be hard and any form of honest, decent living is a necessity for survival. Every late afternoon, delicious charcoal grilled food from chicken parts including liver and gizzard to catfish are sold in “kiosk.” These “kiosks” can be found in all the busy areas of every town. My favorite when I was a student were grilled pieces of chicken called “Retaso” and glazed sweet buns. I swear they were delicious!

The counterpart of a mini-grocery is the ever dependable “Sari-sari” store. Sari-sari means a mixture of just about everything and anything from sodas to shampoos to basic medications for fever and cough.

When things get tough and money is scarce, the “pawn shop” is the emergency source of cash. From watches to gold to the recent fad of Louie Vuitton bags, people would exchange them for fast cash when emergency strikes. No credit score check needed. Trust and a salable product are all you need. I remember my mom sold 2 gold coins she inherited when I was around 10 years old. Despite of its nostalgic value and how it meant to her, she gladly let it go so her kids could eat and continue with their education. A love of a mother is selfless, unconditional and limitless. She is willing to sacrifice so her children will have a better life.

When everything fails and nothing else is left to trade or sell, there’s always the power of faith and prayers. I’ve seen little miracles happen during the toughest times in my family’s life. Small churches can be seen in all the towns. Religion is a huge part of the Filipino culture.

Deep wells are the main source of water for those who can’t afford a commercial water supply or in areas were the water pipes doesn’t reach.

Halfway through our destination, the bus overheated and had to stopped. The bus driver’s assistant got some water from a deep well on the side of the road. Few minutes later, we’re back on track.

The Panay Island’s main electricity supply. “Panay” is the main island divided into the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan and Antique. Each province is unique and just as beautiful.

The Passi River looks like the “chocolate” river in the movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. At its background are the rich green mountains and the sugar cane plantations creating a stunning landscape that made say, “wow!”

The bus stopped for a few minutes at the Passi Terminal. I saw two kids running by the side of the river being chased by two dogs. I made a sigh of relief when they were able to climbed a stairway that gave them a route of escape from the dogs. A lot of these dogs don’t get anti-rabies vaccine.

We now entered the province of Capiz, the province where I was born. An unused  bridge built after World War II in the town of Mambusao serves as a fascinating reminder of the beautiful structures built during the Spanish and American occupation.

It rained heavily for 2 days. A part of the road in Sigma, Capiz was covered with water making it difficult to travel. What used to be rice fields turned into a lake. People have to ride a boat to get into their homes. It’s a very sad event. Someone just lost their main source of income.

As we turn on a curb, I saw the mysterious cemetery by the Hill.

I watched the last glimpse of the Sunset as we entered the City of Roxas. So many changes had happen since I left the country 10 years ago. But despite of these changes, the intriguing and colorful drama of life and nature hasn’t change much. Mixed with the breathtaking beauty of the land, sea and the generous heart of the people are the pain and tears brought about by natural disasters and the ever prevailing poverty.

An agricultural land with houses in it. From a distance, it looks like a serene lake. The  story behind each image is far from being serene.

“Dad, are we there yet?” asked my eagerly excited son. I smiled at him and said,”Yes, we’re finally here. Your grandpa and grandma will pick us up together with your cousins.”

While waiting for my parents, I thought about the things me and my son saw outside the bus during our 3 hours of travel. It’s amazing how much you can learn and appreciate when you truly see the life and reality around you. I hoped that my son would remember this trip when he gets older. There are invaluable aspects of life that a book can’t teach and this journey was one of them.

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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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151 Responses to The Real World Outside The Bus

  1. Great post! Thanks for the eye opener :)

  2. jessnj says:

    Thank you for this post. I felt I was sitting alongside you both!

  3. JokeL says:

    beautiful post! And indeed, we can never appreciate the beauty and the lessons in our surroundings if we will never pay them attention. :)

    • Being sensitive to what’s happening around us is the first step in understanding the realities of life. We no longer become a mere spectator but more of a participant for change. Thanks for sharing …

  4. What a great way to capture a place and a nice way to say good-bye. Where are you moving to? I guess I missed that in a post. Safe journeys!

  5. Isabella Lo says:

    Thank you for sharing and reminding us the power of appreciation. Be well, whereever you go.

  6. I felt I was traveling with you and your son. Thank you for inviting me to see the world with your eyes for a while. Safe journey to you and your family!

    • Thank you. We came back home safe and sound. A bit sad and homesick, but safe. We will treasure the memories and the people who shared their generous hearts during our 28 day reunion with family and friends. Thanks for the reblogged.

      • Living between two cultures I feel your sadness in leaving people you dearly love behind to take up your daily life and to keep both places connected in a meaningful way. You always live with double sight, a lingering rest of longing for that “other” place. By taking your son to see this other part of your world, a world that he too is rooted in and that will be part of who he will grow up to be is such a gift – as is allowing him to truly know the people who are his family. I felt that was my most important responsibility to my daughters: to allow them to get to know their family even though they were thousands of miles away. Thank you again for your inspiring post. Kristina

      • Thanks Kristina. You daughters are blessed to have a mother like you. Yes, trying to teach our kids and letting them see for themselves a piece of their culture and heritage is very important. When they grow up, they will realize how beautiful it is, even enriching to have both worlds. Have a blessed day my friend…

  7. fgassette says:

    I thank you for taking us on your journey home. Seeing your homeland through, your eyes, tells us more than any magazine, newspaper or travel log could ever cover. We feel your emotions, excitement and sorrows. You remind us to appreciate what we have, no matter how simple, because people in the third world countries have less. You son is very lucky to have you and your family. I am sure he will remember your trip and continue to grow up strong and compassionate under your teachings. Thank you so much for your words and pictures.


    • Thank you for the generous and heartfelt comment. Telling the story of my country’s struggle as well as the plight of it’s people is the least that I could do for the warm welcome I received during my last visit. Despite of the hardships they face everyday, they are genuinely generous and sincere. It was a moving experience for me. And I will never forget the goodness that my family had shown me. I will always be grateful.

  8. FeyGirl says:

    Fascinating, thanks so much… I was raised overseas, and this glimpse to other cultures I believe is vital to everyone…anywhere.

  9. Fascinating. Beautiful, gripping photos. Thank your for the journey.

  10. this is terrific. Great pix! I hope to someday take my kids back to where I was born.

  11. I remember (and will see in future visits) going to certain places in the Philippines. And yes, it is a beautiful country, but out of the windows of a 4 or 6 hours bus ride somewhere I remember looking out to see the unfortunate parts of the country. But I really enjoyed buying the goodies from the vendors that would sell to us in the bus — along with the smells of food cooking!

    • Thanks Frances for a very generous comment. Yes, it is a beautiful country. I just wish the poverty problem will end one day. It’s hard to see little kids having to live in such harsh environments. I do enjoy checking out the goods of the vendors. I used to buy pineapples as a present for my folks when I was in college.

      • The PI has so many resources…but its natural resources and the people. I just wish there would be some way to better invest in those two types of resources better. I think that the PI has so much potential to get out of poverty, yet there are so many facets to address the problems that plague that country. I find it so unfortunate that the “improvement” is only done at the shopping malls and the businesses that inhabit the high rises.

      • I totally agree. So much has been spent on politics, and other forms of corruption that the people who really needed the help are the least who gets it. And yes, so much had been spent on malls, condos, and other businesses, yet hardly any on programs that “genuinely” helps the poor. It’s frustrating. I wish one day, people will truly open their eyes and say, “enough is enough.” If we want change, we have to fight and stand up for it.Scary yes, but nothing will happen if people will sit in a corner and wait. Thanks for sharing.

  12. justjulia says:

    Thank you for leaving me breathless! I live at the other side of the Earth, but I really found out so many things that could describe my people and your people both. The life behind the tourist roads is the real true life of a community. Great post, just great!

    • Thank you. So right that the things beyond the pretty tourist roads are actually the real stuff that people face in the real world. To me these are the more interesting ones. Stories that moves you and enrich our way of thinking. These are the things that open our eyes to truth out there.

  13. Wonderful post! Beautiful and insightful. Thanks for sharing. I think I may read it with *my*kids!

    • Thank you John. It was my dream to show my son both the beautiful parts and the poverty stricken areas of my country of origin. I just want him to see and experience for himself what life is outside America and that he has another family out there he can build a relationship with. I’m glad that I did it. He was so happy while we were there. I guess it felt like a great adventure for him.

  14. Truly moving, and a very wise lesson to teach your son. You also give the rest of us some insight on a place we might otherwise not know enough about. Very worthwhile post and thanks for sharing it.

  15. What a lot to see in three short hours! It’s wonderful that you are showing your son what life is like in your homeland, the good and the difficult parts, too. It will help him to appreciate the sacrifices you have made when he is older, and he will be grateful for whatever blessings he has. He is lucky to have you and your wife as parents! Thanks for sharing so many interesting things about the real world outside the bus.

    • Thank you Barbara. I would like to think that I was the one lucky because through my son, I get to appreciate once again that part of my culture and past that I thought I had forgotten. In the end, we can’t really change who we are. It’s only when we acknowledge that part of us do we really feel free.. We are a blessing to each other. I’m also glad that he embraced his second home with love and joy.

  16. Childhood is the best time to see these things, to get cultural experiences into the brain, to provide perspective. There is a world that your son is seeing that many children are completely unaware of and so do not have a balanced perspective on what is important in life and what is not. I recently finished reading a book on North Korea, by a journalist who interviewed people who had escaped to South Korea or other countries. It was an eye-opener. More people need to have their eyes opened.

    Beautiful post.

    • Thanks Eloise. Not only was my son’s eyes opened to what is real, it also opened that part of me that for awhile remained dormant. The things I saw made me more appreciative of what I have and at the same time, reminded me of what I’m truly passionate about. I hope to go home one day and help out in whatever way I can.

  17. Angeline M says:

    A beautiful post. And I think your son is at an age where he will remember.
    This reminds me so much of Mexico.

    • It would be cool if he remembers all of these. My dad brought me to places that I could still remember even to this day. They may not be in its entirety but I know that it was something that meant a lot to me and made me really happy as a kid. Thank you Angeline.

  18. Coming East says:

    Salamat for this post with so many amazing pictures. I loved the comment your son made when he saw the houses in the countryside. When we were a very young couple, my husband’s uncle from Ukraine came to visit and we took him to Sturbridge Village, a recreated early nineteenth century village in Massachusetts. The uncle did not understand why we thought it was so interesting. To him it looked just like the farm he and my husband’s father had grown up on.

    • “Salamat” too. That is one rich story. A lot of times, what may be unusual for others is something that another person basically breathes everyday. The beauty of having the chance of live in two different countries is that you get to appreciate the good things in both and have room to change the bad. Thank you for sharing a wonderful comment.

  19. I feel like I just took a journey, while never leaving my office. Thank you. I needed this reminder today about how lucky I am and how amazing people are who are far away from me and whom I’ll never meet. Your pictures are fantastic–and it sounds like you have a wonderful mother too–how I can imagine her selling those gold coins in order to feed her family. A mother’s love is incredible. What a lucky son you have.

    • Thank you Suzanne. I’ve seen my mother’s sacrifice throughout the years. Even during our most trying moments, we her children never felt the burden because she and my dad tried their best to make our life comfortable. They showed me how to be selfless, to be generous, to give without expecting anything in return. They gave my heart the ability to feel…

  20. Interesting post and great pictures! Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.

  21. Wonderful life lesson, for your son and the rest of us too. Thanks for sharing your journey home.

  22. Amazing insight to another life…thank you!

    • Thank you. There is always something beautiful and fascinating in another person’s life, experience, culture and country. It gives us an opportunity to be a part of their world, even for just a moment.

  23. The Guat says:

    I love the picture of your son on the bus and how he asks your wife “is this the past?” Kids can say the most amazing, symbolic stuff and not even know it.

  24. Sonel says:

    What a beautiful post once again island traveler! The photo’s you took tells the real story of what is going on in the real world and how grateful we can all be for what we have. Thanks for sharing my friend. :)

    • Thank you Sonel. The trip opened my eyes and heart to what is real out there as well. It’s easy to forget when you are living in a materially blessed country that there is a world out there that is less fortunate and they do need our help. It’s a life lesson for both me and my son.

  25. Northern Narratives says:

    Thank you for sharing your part of the world with us :)

  26. Iñigo says:

    Touching story :) Thaks for sharing :D

  27. shoes says:

    What a great journey to be able to share with your son. Beautiful pictures and a wonderful tale.

  28. restlessjo says:

    So wrong that some of us have so much and others so little. It’s a beautiful world if you can afford to enjoy it. I’m not rich but by these standards I’m a millionaire and it’s a very guilty feeling.

    • I’m with you my friend. That’s kind of what I felt when I went around the countryside. It was an eye opener for me and at the same time it gave me a sense of purpose. Thanks for sharing.

  29. This is a wonderful post about a place people should see and experience. I am honored to view your photographs and read your careful thoughts. Nice work

  30. jeanne says:

    Thank you for the bus trip…glad you and your son had a chance to visit one more time before heading home.

    • Thanks Jeanne. I was glad that he got to be my little buddy too. It was one of our memorable father and son event. It’s something I’ll treasure always.

  31. barb19 says:

    What a wonderful education for your son on that bus journey to see a world so different from his own. It would have been a nostalgic journey for you too, I would imagine, going back home.

    • It was nostalgic for me. So much happiness I can’t really fully describe into words. It felt good being home. I felt that even for a short time, that void was but a history. It was beautiful. Thanks Barb. Wishing you a wonderful day.

  32. munchow says:

    Nothing like experiences life as raw as it can get. And nothing like doing it from a local bus. This must have been not only exciting for you son, but a lesson learned that he will hold onto for the rest of his life. It’s so easy for our kids in the material world of the West to think life is the same all over the world – and never learn to appreciate their good fortune. I think it’s great that you took your son on this trip. For him. And you.

    • Thanks Munchow. I did want him to learn first hand that there are kids out there who are less fortunate in the material sense. That some of them can barely eat 3 times a day, or have one toy that they can play with. It’s easy to live in excess in a rich country. It’s easy to just buy anything we want just because we can afford it. I hope to teach him that we need to think of others and not just our instant gratification. To have a heart that cares and willing to give generously. That happiness is not measured by how much you have but how much love you have and love that you can give.

      • munchow says:

        There is nothing better we as parents can teach our kids than a bit of humbleness and and appreciation of life – besides unconditional love of course. It seems to me that your trip back to the Island has been a humbling experience for you, too. I read somewhere else that you have want to go back and do something for your old community. What a beautiful sentiment.

      • Thanks Munchow. It’s always been one of my dreams to go back and help out. Perhaps it’s not yet time. Some people may even think its crazy that after going to America, land of milk and honey, I will go back to a country where 70% of population are in poverty. But something inside me kept saying,” There’s more to life than trying to enrich ourselves with material things.That I have a higher purpose, a better, meaningful purpose.” I believe that little voice is correct.

  33. angrygaijin says:

    It does look like the Willy Wonka factory!

    Poverty is a tough problem to solve, eh? :(

    • It is. I wish there’s a simply formula but there’s none. But everything starts with one voice, then two, before we know it, the world shares our dream. Thank you…

  34. Ron says:

    We will be back tomorrow but for now friend we have an Award for you which we just Posted and it’s getting late but will see you soon… great it’s working again

    The Kreativ Blogger Award does have rules but no pressure, it’s still your choice to accept it or not we just want to encourage you but like all Awards it does not say how soon you have to action them so just relax and when you want to Post it do so. Please follow the link below, thank you for your sharing, encouragment and support on the Blog not just ours but others too.

    Blog Post –


    • Thank you Ron. I’m blessed to receive a beautiful and inspiring award. The world does need a lot of creative thinking. Wishing you and Anne the best of everything.

  35. thanks for bringing us along in this bus ride….

  36. imexcited says:

    Great post! I felt like I was on the bus too. Thanks for sharing…

  37. frizztext says:

    I’m impressed by the third photo:
    Sleep is where your eyes decides to close…

    • It does. I was at the Sunday market with my mom and I saw a little girl sleeping on a folded brown paper box on top of the concrete street floor. She was close to her mom who was selling vegetables. It was painful to see, but this is how it is in this side of the world. Thanks for sharing.

  38. sandraconner says:

    Great article. And such an important lesson for your son while he’s at the age when it will register deeply with him. Your pictures through the bus window are fantastic!

    • Thank you. My iPhone camera did it’s best. The view and events outside the window were just overflowing with moving images. Some I even missed cause I end up being stunned as to how people live and survive everyday surrounded with such living conditions.

  39. Beautiful post! Your bus journey not only opened your son’s eyes to a different life experience but ours too. And there are such wonderful life lessons to take away. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Thank you. It was an inspiring life lesson for me too as much as it was for my son. I’m glad that people appreciated my experience. Events like this are meant to be shared. It can change someones’s life for the better is we share them.

  40. likeitiz says:

    What an adventure this must have been for your son. And what a valuable life lesson this trip must be! I can imagine him looking out the window wide-eyed and excited. Such is the gift of childhood—the innocence that allows them to wonder and be so accepting.

    It must have been quite a homecoming for you too, to see familiar scenes once more. I’m curious though: did you also feel strangely alien? That’s how I felt when I first went back to Manila having been gone for a few years. It was a contrast of coming home to familiar surroundings, feeling warmth and all, while at the same time feeling very foreign.

    • I did felt like an alien on several occassions. Everything in my town changed except for my wonderful and supportive family. I was trying my best to find something that was familiar to me, something that holds a beautiful memory like my house, the beach, and even the public market. I did find some familiar events, places and people but pretty much, I was making new and present memories with my wife and son. Manila is a totally different world as compared to my small city in the Visayas. There I really felt like an alien for most of the time. I felt out of place. But I did relate to the small island visits and laid back provincial life, there I felt that I was home and genuinely happy. It was a mix feelings overall. I would love to go back next year though.Thanks for sharing a wonderful comment.

  41. I often miss my days on the bus. There were parts that I didn’t enjoy very much, like some of the seedier people who sometimes shared it with me, but I saw so much more than when driving by in a hurry. Reading this post and looking at the pictures gave me a chance to remember my own days on the bus–in Eugene, L.A., South Korea and Japan–and to smile at all the adventures I’ve had a chance to enjoy. It’s a gift to be able to enjoy yours, too. Blessings to you and yours.

    • Thanks Deborah. Yes, the bus trips we made in the past, and all the adventures that goes with it will bring a smile to our days when we remember them. Riding the bus last March made me remember all the fun trips I had when I was younger. Its very enriching.

  42. Great post! “Así es la vida” the saying goes in Spanish. Good for you for taking your son on this journey. He will figure things out on his own with you and your wife by his side. I never drove in Mexico and always depended on public transportation. I learned a lot just watching and then, I also, read a lot on the bus or subway. When our daughter needed to take summer school courses at U of H, I took a day off from work to show her how “to take the bus.” She learned a lot, more than the 3 credits she earned. Thank you for this post.

    • Thanks Georgette. We do as parents teach our kids everyday, from the practical and safe way to ride a bus to valuing their heritage to having the right values in life. One day, they would look back with joy and gratitude knowing we were there for them in every step of their lives. Our parents did it for us, now it’s our turn. Ain’t that beautiful? Stay blessed my friend.

  43. Patti Kuche says:

    What a fabulous journey and thank you so much for taking us on the ride through all those wonderful scenes, so rich with variety and humanity! Best wishes to you for wherever your dream takes you . . .

    • Thank Patti. Yes, I’ll gladly follow where my dreams would take me. Somehow , every year it seems to change but I pray that the wind will blow in the direction I was meant to go…the way it was supposed to be from the brginning. Have a lovely day my friend.

  44. WriteForACause.Org says:

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    • It would be a joy and an honor to visit your blog. Thank you for the generous comment. They always bring sunshine to my day! God bless you and your love ones…

  45. Freedomborn says:

    Hi Island Traveler, interesting to see your homeland from another perspective the travel brochures do not tell all the story. Although God does not cause hardship or suffering as you can see below He will always stand by us and bring good out of it as we focus on Him because we Love Him. I’m so thankful what ever was stopping us from commenting on your Blog and freezing my browser has been fixed, I did advise both WordPress and my Internet supplier about our problem.

    Lamentations 3: 33 For He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

    Isaiah 43:1-3 – Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.”

    Thank you for sharing – Christian Love Anne

    • Thank you Anne. I can’t thank you enough for the loving words, words that comes only from a heart filled with faith. These words came out so strikingly true, to me and to those who’s lives had been surrounded by dark clouds every now and then, ” Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.”
      And yes, the problem is fixed. I also changed my setting and removed the infinity scroll and limit the open posts to 3. I’m glad it’s over. God bless you and Ron always…

  46. Ron says:

    Thank you island traveller for an interesting journey through your Country, I`m sure your son will now have inbuilt memories of the special times he shares with his dad, he will cherish these all his life , You are a good dad ,keep it up .!


    • Thanks Ron. I try my best. I have two father figures too look up two.My dad and my father-in-law. They both showed me what a true father and husband should be like. If I can atleast be half of what they are, I’ll be happy. And there’s our father up there who loves us no matter what. Now that is even harder to follow but I’m hopeful…

  47. Elyse says:

    I am sure that this journey will teach your son appreciation and compassion. Thank you for sharing this journey.

  48. Connie T says:

    All your photos are really nice.

  49. Great story and pictures about your journey. It really makes you appreciate everything with such gratitude. ~Sophia

    • Thanks Sophia. The journey did gave me a lot of time to reflect. It also have me the opportunity to see the things and people I should be grateful for. It was an inspiring trip for me.

  50. ristinw says:

    That was really a great trip. It is nice letting your son to see the real world outside the comfort zone. You are a great dad. I’m sure he will remember the trip when he grows older and would appreciated so much.

    • I try my best. It was a rare chance for me to show him the other side of life. A life though filled with challenges, is also a life that is exciting, fun with lot of possibilities for happiness. I think he saw and felt all that on our 28 day soujourn in the Philippines. Thanks Ristin…

  51. thirdeyemom says:

    This is such an amazing post!!! I think it is your best one. Wow. To travel to your home and all through the eyes of your child must have been an exquisite moment. Absolutely beautiful and beyond Freshly Pressed material. You should write a book. Your story, pictures and writing are so incredibly beautiful that it would be a pity not to share.

    • Thank you for sharing a comment that made my day totally awesome! One of the great things I like about blogging is that we get to share a part of ourselves that others truly appreciate and at the same time learn something important from the other talented bloggers. Thank once again. Perhaps one day, I get to bind all my post and give it to my son as a gift on his 18th Birthday. Wouldn’t that be cool. Have a blessed day my friend…

  52. Madhu says:

    Isn’t life strange? In our youth we are impatient to break free and getaway and too late we yearn for all that we left behind! Thank you for a wonderful tour of your countryside!

    • So true. It’s never too late to catch up though. Nowadays, every moment counts for me. everyday is a chance for making new happy memories. Thanks Madhu.

  53. Sunshine says:

    I love your idea about binding up all of your writings here and present it to your son as a gift. . . memorable and precious gift for sure. One of the best ways to learn true appreciation and empathy for others less fortunate than ourselves is by experiencing it first hand. Thank you again for a wonderful and life learning share . . .

    • Thank you Sunshine. That’s right . The best learning is seeing and experiencing them for ourselves. We get to feel for a moment what’s it like to be in there situation. I hope to bring my son often to the Philippines so he get to appreciate the wonderful parts of his cultural roots.

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  55. rommel says:

    I wanted to take pictures of the city and the bucolic living during my recent travel to Philippines. Something what you did. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera charger and couldn’t find a replacement, so I only took pictures of the vacation spots I went to.

    Your words are powerful as always. I love the pictures far even. You really captured the essence of what’s been going in the Philippines. Having your kid witness it upfront was a good idea. It gives him that perspective for appreciating, feeling blessed to the little or big things he gets.

    • Thanks Rommel. My iPhone camera became my travel buddy. It’s handy, light and gets to capture images in rapid succession. I was overwhelmed of what I saw. From the daily realities to the colorful drama of an average Filipino life. I have some pics of the various tourist spots but what moved me the most was the daily struggle that can be seen everywhere I turned. It was a humbling journey…

  56. eof737 says:

    Your photos bring back memories of similar travels…

    • Thanks for the comment. The travels we make gives us new perspective of what’s real out there. We get to appreciate things that we took for granted in the past. In a way, my visit was a reality check and gave me new sets of priorities.

  57. pattisj says:

    It’s hard to imagine in our world where some have so much, that there are many surviving with so little. Thank you for sharing.

    • Your welcome. And you’re so right. Just the other day, CNN featured a part of Manila where people recycled a garbage chicken, clean them and sell them for a cheaper price. People who are poor and can’t afford buy them despite of knowing where they came from. It’s simply a matter of survival. It’s heart breaking and hopefully a day will come that life will better for them. Thanks for sharing…

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  59. thirdhandart says:

    When something inside you says, “There’s more to life than obtaining material possessions. There must be a higher purpose, a better, more meaningful purpose.” It’s a good idea to listen Island Traveler. Much luck in realizing your future dream: to return to the Philippines and help out. :-)

  60. aRVee says:

    My friend this post of yours is featured in Rommel’s blog. FYI. (I have yet to read this one)

  61. aRVee says:

    Such an interesting post my friend. Glad you were able to go home to spend time with your family and friends. You must had a blast.

    So many life’s realities you passed by on your way home and I can’t help but laugh when your son said ““Mom, is that the past?”, wondering what tv drama you were watching then… haha,…

    Thanks for sharing. Great trip my friend! :)

    • Well, we’re watching “Walang Hanggan ” recently. Man, always kept us hanging. My son never fails to surprise me with his innocent remarks. He keeps me on my feet. Thanks Bro. God bless you and your family.

  62. Wow, what an adventure for your son. I’m sure he will remember it — and tell his own children one day.

  63. I too love to watch out the window when travelling. We had the pleasure to go to the Philippeans last year and this year Vietnam. In the past also Cuba and Dominican Republic… all these places have a very different way of life and standard of living, but one thing I always noticed was how happy they were and willing to help. :)

    • Thanks for a generous share. Looks like you are blessed to travel such amazing places. You are right when you said how happy the people were. Even during times of calamities, they can still smile and reach out. Just full of warmth and generosity.

      • Yes I have been lucky to travel… I am the only one in my family who just wants to get ‘out there’ and explore. Far away places always facinated me even as a young child. I don’t always dream of the big house, fancy car or newest gadget… but where to go and when to travel!

      • I like the way you think and how you embrace travelling. Seeing places, meeting people, basking in the beauty of another culture, these things are priceless and they enrich us in so many ways. Here’s to exploring the World! Thank you for sharing.

      • Thanks :)
        I am sure I only scratch the surface, but A for effort?
        You as well descibe the beauty in things where many may see the negatives

      • We both get “A” for trying our best. As they say, “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” We see beyond the exterior of things. Thanks….

  64. Lynne Ayers says:

    Wow. Just … wow.

  65. Fergiemoto says:

    Inspiring! Thank you for sharing this part of the world.

  66. orples says:

    I find this to be an Interesting and educational post for those of us that have never been to the Philippines. I hear it is beautiful there. Although, I suspect that these spoiled American kids would die of thirst before they would carry water, though. However, they might be willing to play under a burst pipe. It is amazing how different environments and customs create such a variety of lifestyles, and it is always interesting to peep into other people’s worlds, so thanks for the lovely share. Obviously, you took quite a bit of time to correlate your posting. You did a great job, too!

    • Thank you. I live in the Philippines for 31 years until I moved to the U.S. I miss it everyday. Life may be hard there but nobody talks about stress and almost everyone smiles despite of the difficulties that they go through. They also have very strong family bond that keeps them going. I’m glad my son had the chance to see and experience the Filipino culture and all the best things that it can offer to the world.

      • orples says:

        Taking your son home to experience your roots will probably reveal itself to be a memory and a lesson for him that he will carry throughout his life. I hope he will learn to appreciate, as you have done, that sometimes it is the simple things in life that are the most rewarding. American’s take way too much for granted on a daily basis. I worry about the American children today, as too many of them have that ‘give me’ attitude, not realizing that for many children, work is a part of life, and sometimes a matter of survival, beginning in their youth. I know what it is like to be homesick within our own borders, so I can only imagine how you must miss your family having them so far away. The glimpse that you’ve given us into life in the Philippines is greatly appreciated. So again, I thank you for taking the time to correlate such an in depth post.

      • I appreciate each and every generous, very enightening comment. I see the same observation you have about kids in America and honestly, it scares me. My son loves Lego toys but now I try as much to let him realize that we can’t always get what we want in a whim just because we can afford it. A lot of kids in the Philippines and similar countries doesn’t even have a single lego toy. I hope to bring him back every year if I can. I saw a lot of positive changes of exposing him to the real world out there. And he did have a lot of fun meeting his cousins and discovering the beautiful part of the Philippines. Thank you.

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  70. shammee says:

    its amazing how you described your journey with the moments captured , while reading your post i could feel a film going on where you were narrating it & i was visualizing , its good to be a part of something even virtually , :)

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