Vacation Titled, “Eat. Pray. Love.” Part II (Thanksgiving)

Greetings from Boracay and farewell to Boracay. I couldn’t ask for a better way to start what my mom calls a “retreat” vacation. I’m grateful for my cousin Sidney who also took time off as well from seeing patients. I joked on social media that he was actually hired by my mom to babysit me post-said-incident from my last post. We both needed the break. He left a day earlier than me. It was nice to catch up after a couple of years, receiving sound advice from a medical doctor regarding physical and mental well-being and of course, talking about our families. Before Sidney left, he wanted to be sure that I was going to be okay being alone for a day and a half. Fortunately, traveling and navigating is something I’m good at and my Tagalog (after careful review) is decent. I resumed my routine that I usually do on the weekends, which consist of early morning exercise, coffee run, and errands before the rush hour. I’d say I handled myself well for a solo traveler. I’ll truly know if I made it when I get back to Manila.

Prior to getting to Boracay, I was so sure that my plane to get there left at Terminal 3. In true Samantha-fashion, I didn’t read the fine print where it said international Air Asia flights leave out of Terminal 3 and DOMESTIC Air Asia flights leave out of Terminal 4. It was 1:00pm and my plane wouldn’t board for another hour and there was no internal connection between terminals so I frantically ran to get a cab. Panic set immediately because I knew it could take up to a half hour to get between terminals because traffic in Manila is horrible. If the DMV and LA traffic had a baby, it’s Manila traffic. By the grace of God, I made it to Terminal 4 by 1:40pm thinking my flight is going to leave at 2:00pm. Again, frantically running through (thankfully a small) Terminal 4 and finding out I still had time to make it. I swore it was a test from God.

After two tricycle rides and one boat ride, I finally got to Boracay and it was literal paradise, everything people say it is, until I watched the weather report for the rest of the week and saw that there is an incoming typhoon (named after my dad) that may pass through Boracay. GREAT. I keep forgetting how distant some of the Philippine Islands are and Boracay was hardly effected, just heavy rain for a couple of hours and life went on. Last month, I was sure I was going to Palawan. I already had the hotels and airport mapped out until I had to balance the budget on which island wasn’t going to break the bank. I looked in to Boracay and found it much more affordable and a steal at best considering the island wouldn’t officially open until October 26th after undergoing six months of environmental rehabilitation. In the weather report I kept seeing that the eye of the storm was going to land in Palawan. To think I was almost sold to being there as soon as I arrived in the Philippines. I dodged a serious bullet.

As cliche as this sounds, being back in the Philippines after twelve years is truly a “thanksgiving” in a way that I can appreciate the life my parents gave me and my brothers, what they taught us and how they raised us. I’m very grateful for them raising us in America and still teaching us the values of being Filipino. I gained some perspective about the time my mom took me and my brother to live in the Philippines for a couple of years when we were kids and I learned it may have been an economical decision when my dad didn’t move with us. My parents made this decision so that my brothers and I could have a good life where we were given the best education and life experiences, especially for the brief amount of time spent living in the Philippines. It was very difficult, but it paid off in the long run for me and my brothers. We have all of the opportunities in front of us.

I’ve been naming this trip a lot of things considering said incident from last post, but it was meant to be that I needed to be alone. Alone, not in the way that I’m purposely secluding myself, but to be able to think clearly, put my anxiety at ease, and ask myself what I want for once. Just as I dodged a typhoon earlier this week, I’m thankful for all the signs God is showing me, whether it’s a miracle or my worst nightmare, all signs pointed to self-focus, which I lacked for a while. I’m thankful for my family, friends, my puppy, my fur niece’s, professional opportunities thus far, and all life is offering me. I managed to make it back to Caticlan Airport, non-frantic, in one piece using my busted (just kidding) Tagalog. Next stop, Manila.

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