The Seven Travelers to the Philippines
The Traveler's Story
"The traveller sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see." --G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936). This prince of paradox, as Wiki said, was born in London. His paradoxical style is apparently shown in this quotation; a 'true statement' in some ways--both sees the world, but 'seemingly opposite' in their thought processing that somehow leads to a contradicting end result. It would be interesting to find out who you would meet in your travels.
How about you--the city or the country type? Which one are you--the traveler or the tourist? What is your story? Why would you include the Philippines in your travels? Whoever you are, the Philippines has an answer for all your destination needs--from the crowded tourist attractions to the not-so-adventurous ones, or to the remote and desolate places only the most adventurous batch could reckon.
Where in the Philippines is your destination? No matter what your story is, you will take the best with you.
...but not for the claustrophobic!
This adventure-loving wanderer is a bit of a rebel and not afraid of unknown territories. The outdoor pursuits could only pose certain challenges that excites the soul. Count the many islands of the Philippines that will provide endless choices, at least a good thousand out of the 7,107 where some may not be visible during high tide. This adventurer might want to google Honda Bay in Palawan--still considered as the "last frontier". This pristine place of eco-tourism pride can be accessed from Puerto Princesa, the capital city. This city is a "hall of famer" for being the cleanest and the greenest city. There may be Bat Island, Snake Island, Turtle Island and who knows what other animal islands are documented, these animals may not welcome even the finest adventurer. However, some remote not-so-over-populated areas may provide tranquil beaches showing off white sandy shores, gleaming rivers with cascading waterfalls, majestic mountains teeming with rainforest, vacant fields with grazing cows and water buffalo, and many unique places, mostly, only the locals could find.
As this traveler search the world for its breathtaking scenery, the Philippines will be there waiting on a glorious day to unfold the numerous possibilities of finding the imposing beauty of nature. Discover the hidden islands only a boat-ride away from the crowded cities, the underwater world only a dive away from the busy shoreline, or the hilltop wonders only a hike away from the sprawling valleys. Whether armed with the telescopic lenses of the cameraor the magical touch of the brush on a canvas, the artist's eye will capture the imagination with his keen perception of the natural creation of the Greatest Painter. As he aesthetically filters the world, we will see the Creation as only imagined by the artist.
With a backpack and a shoestring budget, this wanderlust will see every bit of the beauty that abounds in every corner of the world that fascinates him. His admiration of beauty even in simple things along the way on his journey will make him a perpetual traveler as he will not be detered by the discomfort of traveling on a budget. He will gratefully find solace from apartelles to hostels or even the lodgings of the locals. What matters are the exotic experiences derived from all human exchanges.
The backpack basics will suffice to fill the needs of this sensible traveler.
The World-class Traveler
Unlike the backpacker, this savvy traveler treats himself with only the best - from 5-star hotels to gourmet food. He pampers himself with luxury, and the day is not complete without a massage in the seclusion and comfort of his own room...followed by a relaxing dip in a private hot tub.
However, if this indoor activities prove to be boring, an outdoor excursion of stylish adventure in a giant caldera of hot spring resorts in the midst of nature could be a perfect destination. There are always great selections of places to visit whether some specific destinations or spontaneous preferences only money can buy.
The Visayan islands--numerous and tiny as they are--will offer tremendous amount of choices from the convenient tourist spots like Boracay Island in Aklan to the calm and serene beaches of the not-so-crowded Bantayan Island of Cebu. Then we also have the combination of big-city amenities and simple-life tranquilities that Davao could offer in its Samal Island beaches. These array of beaches are just boat-rides away from the busy cities...something unheard of in Luzon.
The Floating Casino of the Present; the Walled City of the Past--Fort Santiago
For the more serious and focused traveler who loves pieces of history, the Philippines has remnants of time once ravaged by colonial rules. Luzon alone has a lot to offer--from the central part closest to Manila [there is Intramuros or Corregidor with all the ruins as evidences of what had gone wrong in the hands of the Spaniards and the Japanese] to the northern tip [where Vigan in the Ilocos provinces will showcase old churches and houses]. Memories of long-gone time are still freshly etched in the minds of Filipinos, and now...the beauty of these places is forever envisioned in their hearts.
Manila may be known for its pollution and corruption, but every traveler could still find something of interest. A simple stroll along the historic Luneta Park will bring one curious traveler to the monument of Jose Rizal, a prominent hero of the Philippine revolutionary era. Further down the road is Baywalk [along Roxas Blvd.], where laid-back eateries display the common people's culinary expertise in an attempt to compete with the restaurants along side of well-known hotels. When night falls, the darkness will usher street walkers, impromptu street performances, and even live bands.
There are other forms of entertainments along Roxas Blvd., including the scheduled events at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. This is the start of our Luzon tour; the rest will be guided by history as every historian wants it to be.
From the printed pages of magazines to the electronic pages of websites, the opportunies for writing travel-related articles abounds. As this traveler's creative mind hunts for aesthetic appeal, his senses are atuned to the physical comfort of other travelers. His job is to find beauty, enjoy it, and make it come alive in its raw abstractness. His words should bring the message in its concrete simplicity--vivid enough for the weary mind to comprehend as it rushes to catch up with the flight of time.
The writer combs the beaches for shells and corals, and for a moment, he is lost in their beauty...but then he has to get back to the reality of time when he envisions the complete package that comes with the place. There's a time for munching...and crunching of numbers. Travelers need to eat and sleep no matter how gorgeous the scenery is.
His adventure will include restaurants and hotels including alternatives from hostels to apartelles, to condos and apartments. Indeed, he travels and his travels are his stories; he tells his stories and it is his job to tell it well.
The Lost Soul
As the world turns, one would-be traveler is busy catching up with Father Time, and Mother Nature is somewhat relegated to the back-burner. Often stressed, he lays his head on his pillow and closes his eyes after many deep sighs...gratitude that the day is over...regrets?
Morning comes, then waking up to the humdrum routine...laziness sets in...breathing-in deeply to start a new day. This is life, but where is the soul of this weary traveler? He must find it...in a tropical Island Paradise of the Philippines!
Relaxation mode is on...away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. The island of Samal has the tranquility that's not too far from the convenience of Davao city. Maybe...Bantayan Island's proximity to Cebu City could offer a similar comfort. Ah...the looming vision of the swaying hammock beneath the coconut trees...a relief to the soul lost-no-more!