I’ve stepped back from blogging some months ago. However, my passion in traveling has remained solid. Last January 14, 2009 though, I failed to notice that Traveler on Foot has celebrated its first year.
A year of local travel, art, history and heritage has given us so many things to learn about our beautiful country. But the best reward from this leisure pursuit is the occasions when we meet people with incredible hospitality.
It is not an exaggeration to say that when Filipinos invite their visitors into their homes they would “kill a chicken for a good meal,” offer the best room in their home, and even make visitors stay longer than they intended.
I will always remember Jay Herrera of Kinabuhayan Café in Dolores, Quezon. Jay prepared us a sumptuous full meal which to our surprise he jokingly charged us one peso but what he really meant was it’s on the house. He even offered us a free tour to Kubli Springs but out of “hiya” we shied away from the offer.
Boots Alcantara made an important event memorable with a cake served during our intimate evening at Casa San Pablo.
At Bahay Nakpil-Bautista, Tess Obusan always greets us with her warm smile and cheerful aura.
Bohol was a VIP experience. No wonder we veered away from the travel package we sign-up for since we found out during the last day of our tour that our tour guide happens to be a town mayor.
Serendipitous D-I-Y Travels and Great Stories
Serendipity has always been on my side since I started doing Do-It-Yourself travels.
In the several cities, old towns, churches, islands, mountains, forests with waterfalls, including places within the metro I visited like Intramuros, Binondo, Quiapo, Marikina, Malabon, Makati there have been great stories that I’ve learned. These great stories were shared to us by a local or by a tour guide.
I will always remember our guided tours at the San Miguel District with Ivan Dy, at Corregidor Island with Mr. Ed, at Paete with tourism officer Bien Cagandahan, at the Gala-Rodriguez Mansion in Sariaya with Diane Chua and Tina Decal, the Nielsen Tower in Makati with Cecil Ingusan and Nemiranda Arthouse with Mommy Julieta.
But what gives excitement to this adventure are the unexpected meetings I had with local experts like Monchet Lucas who I met in Malabon at Pescadores Restaurant, Nilo Valdecantos owner of Kape Kesada in Paete, Mang Pilo a tricycle driver who toured me to the many embroidery workshops in Lumban, Laguna, Mang Maning, Mr. Hardy and Mrs. Baby Legaspi of San Pedro in Laguna who allowed me to observe in their sampaguita farm and sampaguita garland making workshop, and Mr. and Mrs. Gregorio Pajarillo of Panguil in Laguna for sharing the history and showing me the original image of the Sto. Niño de la O.
In all our travels, I realized that travelers could go anywhere in the Philippines without ever losing their way and in fact learning more about what they already knew or totally learning something new.
Books and blogs on history and domestic travel have inspired me to go to places and discover about interesting destinations and places of history and culture.
Thanks to Filipino historians Nick Joaquin, Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil, Ambeth Ocampo, Doreen Fernandez, Felice Prudente-Sta. Maria and fiesta expert Dr. Alejandro Roces, travel writers Anita Feleo and David Sheniak, advocates on local architecture Fr. Rene Javella S.J., Fr. Pedro Galende, O.S.A, Fernando Zialcita, and fellow bloggers Prinsesa Lakwatsera, Señor Enrique, Sidney Snoeck, Gemma Cruz-Araneta, Tutubi, Arnold, Pusa, Atty. Oman, Ivan Henares, Gideon Lasco, Ferdz Decena, Estan Cabigas, Gita Asuncion, Howie Severino and those who had shared their knowledge, stories and comments on this blog, my pride and love on everything described to be Filipino has been awakened.