Monday, April 05, 2010
Thank You Philippines...
Imagine traveling thousands of miles to another part of the world to find what you've not only been missing but what you've been looking for every time you return to the birthplace of your parents. Such has been the case with me. My parents were born in Texas. I love that state with a passion as well as neighboring, Louisiana. I can never get enough. For many years I would travel there at the same time of the year, seeking, searching and hoping I could find and reunite with old feeling and experiences from the days gone by. Meaning, the incredible summers I would spend in Mt. Pleasant Texas as a child with my grand parents, Virgil and Senora Rivers. And all those moments and times with my parents(Virgil Jr. and Gloria Rivers) visiting the farm in Texas. I've learned by experiencing the last year of my mom's life recently that preparation is everything and so much of my life prepared me for the incredible trip/journey that I took to the Philippines thanks to my special love(Lorna/Mitos) who showed me her birthplace and so much more.
I was warned of the heat that I'd experience in the Philippines. I smiled. Everyday I kept asking, "so umm, when does it get hot out here?" *smile* Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia prepared me for any kind of heat. When I got off the plane in Manila, I felt like I was in Atlanta. The only difference was the fellas trying to pull my luggage away from me just so they could get us in the position of having to tip them. It was just the beginning of what would become one of the best trips of my life. I was also warned of the mosquitos. I didn't really notice them until almost the end of the trip when I saw a couple bites. The only minor annoyance was the funny looking lizard that kept making a funny sound late at night. His sound is the exact same thing as if some one were beating on glass with the edge of a coin. tick tick tick tick... When I first heard the sound, I said to love "is someone knocking on your window?" She laughed and told me it was the tick tick lizard... The only major annoyance was the guys selling sunglasses on the beach in Boracay. One after the other makes you feel like "dang!!!!! didn't you see me two seconds ago say no to the other guy!!" They drove me crazy along with the DVD sellers in the Green Hills mall.
Anyway, the Philippines felt like home right away. We hit the highway, headed for Pangasinan. I felt like a kid watching the best cartoons except my TV screen was the car windows. I didn't take pictures right away. I just sat there watching this part of the world. Traffic was crazy in Manila and it took a while to get out of the city but I loved just being there. I was fascinated by the poverty followed by the more well to do areas. It was different from what you see in the states on one level but at the same time as we got outside the big city and I saw more scattered areas of poverty, it reminded me of the Mississippi delta region.
My first really fun moment was getting stuck in the middle of traffic somewhere in the Pangasinan province. I'm not quite sure where we were exactly but traffic was at a stand still and that's when I grabbed my camera and started shooting. I looked all around and noticed how colorful everything was. The jeepney's, the trike's, the bike's, etc etc.. Everybody revving up their engines and blowing horns at each other but no one appeared angry. In Cali, I'm sure a traffic situation like that would result in a bunch of fist fights and road rage. There, they just blew horns and inched their way forward until somehow the gridlock of traffic unlocked itself. Soon after that we made our way to a place called Calasiao where love said I'd be able to eat the best "puto" you'll find anywhere. When we pulled into the area, young women reached their hands forward and began to desperately wave for us to come to them. I guess you can say competition is stiff right there and every peso counts. I also experienced my first moment where young children came over to beg for coins. It's somewhat heartbreaking to see the little faces pressed up against the windshield of your car, begging for you to roll down the window and give them something...I pointed to love so they waited for her. *smile*
And then finally we reached San Fabian, the place where love flourishes and the incredible Efren and Violi work hard to keep the beautiful beach house estate looking just that... beautiful.. And I was blessed to be able to stay there and be spoiled constantly... i'm not used to that sort of thing; being spoiled and having others do so much for me...
Anyway, there's so many moments I can go over and eventually I will as they come to me. That was just part of the first day's arrival in the Philippines and believe me, from day one to the end of the trip, it was filled with moment after moment.. We were super busy, back and forth from Manila to Pangasinan to Tagaytay to Boracay... I'll write more as it all comes back to me but I just wanted to share something really quickly before going to sleep and preparing for my back to reality moment. I'm back home in Cali and already missing the Philippines. But more importantly, I'm so thankful for love, her fabulous friends, batchmates aka classmates, and her truly amazing family... I am truly blessed and I hope my mom is watching from above, maybe smiling or shaking her head and saying "wow Anthony... " Thanks again to the Philippines!! Mabuhay!