Life Lessons My Travel Destinations Taught Me

Remember, you learn a lesson or two in every place you visit.
Delayed flights, lost luggage, traffic, congested airports, and crooks slipping a live bullet into your bag. These are just some of the things that make traveling stressful and frustrating. But while we all have our share of awful travel experiences, I still believe that the good things about it easily outnumber the bad ones. The scenic views, friendly locals, delicious cuisine, great attractions, new discoveries, and the memories you bring home are just some of them. I could go on and on, but I’d probably do that in another blog entry.

But what I would like to talk about is another good thing about traveling. Perhaps the best of them all — the lessons learned. Or more specifically, the lessons I learned from the places I visited here in the Philippines. Indeed, some of the things you learn in life come at unexpected times, and even at unexpected places.


Palawan-Things-Learned

Palawan taught me to invest in experiences
I went to Puerto Princesa in 2012 as a first attempt to satisfy the growing desire in me to travel. Palawan was my top pick then because the Underground River was just declared as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. The longest navigable underground river in the country, which is 8.2 kilometers long, is surrounded by formations of stalactites and stalagmites. The mysterious beauty of the egg-shaped, crystal-like rocks captivated me because of how they were naturally formed. But that was just the beginning of my Puerto Princesa experience.

I also greatly enjoyed the stunning islands with white sand beaches in Honda Bay. The reverberating sound that the stalactites produce in Ugong Rock during spelunking and zip lining was truly one-of-a-kind. The joy I felt during this trip taught me that money spent on experiences is never wasted. Sure, you go to a place and then you leave, but the happiness stays.


Bohol-Things

Bohol taught me that we should not let fear limit us
I flew to Cebu just last month with my mom and my best friend. I have always wanted to visit the "Queen City of the South." And since we only have three days for the trip, we carefully planned our itinerary.

We had the option of including a side trip to Bohol (which is just a ferry ride from Cebu) but I didn’t want to. Why? Because I was afraid of traveling by sea. I cannot swim and I know I will not survive in case the ferry sinks. But despite my fear and paranoia, we went anyway because both my mom and my best friend wanted to see Bohol.

The one-hour ferry ride was nothing but peaceful. And Bohol was such a beauty. The dome-shaped, grass-covered Chocolate Hills were a stunning scenery. The serene Loboc River was a refreshing sight for a city dweller like me who has had enough of the polluted rivers of Manila. And the man-made forest of mahogany trees with uniform heights gave a daunting yet relaxing feeling.

I really enjoyed going to Bohol. And I felt so fulfilled knowing that I conquered one of my fears. Now I know that fear only hinders us from grabbing priceless opportunities and enjoying memorable life experiences. Never again will I let fear win.


bora_2

Boracay made me realize that sometimes, we need to take it slow... and just breathe.
I was still working in a media agency when I visited Boracay. When you are in the media, everything is fast, and the tasks are always urgent. Days before my trip, I knew I would be working even while on vacation. But seeing the white powdery sand being washed away by crystal clear, turquoise water made me do otherwise.

I decided to just relax and enjoy the beach. I refrained from taking calls and answering emails. I lay down on the sand, drank fresh fruit shakes, and swam in the water. I watched the blue sky slowly turn to orange at dusk. And I breathed in the fresh, ocean air. It was then that I realized that we need to take a break sometimes, so we can reboot and realign our perspectives, and then come back even more ready to face the daily struggles in life.


Daet-Things

"Take risks, fall, and rise up,” said Daet, Camarines Norte.
My trip to Daet earlier this year was purely business. I had to go there because the brand I’m currently handling was a sponsor for Bicol Surf Jam, a surfing competition exclusive for Bicolanos. I stayed in Bagasbas Beach where the competition was held.

Bagasbas Beach is one of the top surfing destinations in the Philippines. It boasts a long stretch of fine, gray sand with huge waves sought after by surfer dudes and chicks. I don’t know how to surf and I kept reminding myself that I was there to work. But the waves were so inviting. I felt as if Bagasbas didn’t want me to leave without surfing its mighty waves. So I gave in. I hired a surf instructor. I tried standing on the surfboard while making friends with the swells and barrels. But I fell on the water countless times. Nonetheless, I got back on my surfboard and tried again.

I guess we need to do the same in life — take risks, and we should never stop trying, even if we fail, and even if we fall.
  • Go to list of Bohol resorts and hotels
    Bohol
  • Go to list of Boracay resorts and hotels
    Boracay
  • Go to list of Camarines Norte resorts and hotels
    Camarines Norte
  • Go to list of Cebu resorts and hotels
    Cebu
  • Go to list of Palawan resorts and hotels
    Palawan