Travel is the biggest paradox. We get that sense of “Ay, kaya ko pala; I can be alone, I can be independent.” You connect more with the world, get to know more about the world. Whenever you go out of your country or out of your comfort zone, you learn more about yourself. When you come back, you become bigger.
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One of my most unforgettable travel experiences, simply because it’s new to me, is diving. Before, I was afraid to go under water, kasi takot ako sa enclosed spaces. But, since it was part of the content deck of Lakwatsero, I told myself, “Sige, let’s try something new.” I went to Malapascua; I went to Apo Island. I got to see things underwater, I got to see sharks, I got to see huge corals, it was a vast new world just waiting to be discovered by everyone. I kid you not, the Philippines is one of the best spots for diving. Foreigners travel here to enjoy our underwater views. As Filipinos, I think sayang if we don’t do that, if we don’t go scuba diving in our own country.
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Yung isang hindi ko makakalimutan is the Chiang Mai, Thailand trip. I was riding the elephants, cleaning the elephants, swam with them as well sa river. I was just so into moment that I forgot that elephants are animals as well. And that they pooped. A lot. I was there, picked up a rock thinking “Oh, ganda nito!” Yun pala tae pala yun! One elephant, surprisingly, nanggigil daw sa akin, kinagat ako. Afterwards, may purple akong pasa. So, that was one of the most unforgettable moments: yung kinagat ako ng elephant.
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Travel, for me, is also cathartic. You get to see a new environment, you get to experience new cultures, you get to experience new things, and you get to bring those experiences back home. Another unforgettable travel experience, and one of my saddest moments as well, happened when I was in Hokkaido. Something happened to me, relationship wise. I had to go there for a documentary; it was the longest time I’ve been out of the Philippines to do something. Two weeks, 10 hotels! Could you imagine the amount of travel involved? Pack and then unpack ka ulit! We started around 6 AM, finish at around 10 PM. The thing about Japanese culture, every time we finished one thing, we needed to celebrate. They’d bring out drinks, food, so technically, we finished around 11:30 PM to 1 AM, only to wake up at 5 AM, then ganun na naman! Same routine—nakakapagod.
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Minsan, when you’re going through a breakup, if you’re too immersed in your work, parang automatic nalang sya. Ginagawa mo lang sya as a robot. Pero yung sa Hokkaido, yun yung times na I was doing things because I was there, because it was something that I had to do. Sinasabi nila sakin na while I was out in the cold, it was around mga -10 or -20 degrees Celsius, mga ganun. Sa sobrang lamig, I couldn't feel anything and feelings wise, wala rin akong maramdaman. Ganun ako ka-numb. It was one of the most unforgettable moments not because of not feeling something but because after that trip, I felt everything already.
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Photos taken from my personal Instagram account | Interview by Mels Timan
Banner image by Lui Jimenez