MABUHAY! From The Philippines: My Trip Back To The Motherland

I just returned from a trip to the Philippines a few days ago, and I already miss it. I miss the beauty my eyes had the privilege to see, the scent of fresh fruit straight from the backyard (along with my Father’s homemade cooking), and the warm, congenial smiles of neighbors and friends.  What I don’t miss? The hot, humid air and the fact that I was sweating immediately after a cold shower or in an air-conditioned room. Nonetheless, my trip to The Motherland was filled with beauty and history. Below are a few moments and places I captured to share with you.


GenSan1  Airplane

After a 13-hour flight on Philippine Airlines to Manila from Los Angeles, and a connecting flight immediately after, we arrived at our final destination, General Santos City. Yes, I already know that Manny Pacquiao originates from GenSan. The weirdo posing with an umbrella is NOT Manny Pacquiao…it’s my brother 🙂


Food3  Scenery

The first thing I noticed as we drove from GenSan to my parents’ house was the beautiful greenery and the year-round lushness of all the trees, grass and plants and how blue the sky was. #villagelife #noWiFi



From GenSan, we finally arrived to the city my parents live in, Koronadal. Don’t be deceived by the road partition and the paint that separates the lanes…drivers there do not care for them and are often cutting you off and parking their tricycles in the middle of the road to make an illegal u-turn. In all honesty, there is no such thing as “legal” or “illegal” traffic here: it’s completely lawless. It looks like this (see below). Tricycles and cars all going in different directions, congregating in one area because no one would let the other go through. It was absolute madness.


#lawlessdriving #absoluteanarchy #CaliforniaTrafficAintGotNothinOnThis



You can’t tell, but it’s POURING rain behind me. I arrived during rainy season where it rained buckets for an hour straight, every day. It explains the lushness of the area, and the severe humidity.


Rain doesn’t stop people from traveling, no matter how hard the downpour is. This was a common sighting. All I could think about was how dangerous this looks for two little boys (I’m assuming) sitting on a back of a motorcycle without helmets or a seat belt, covered in what looks like a bedsheet that didn’t protect them from the rain very well.



When I opened my parents’ refrigerator, the first thing I noticed was its emptiness: where are all the fruits and veggies? My Dad told me that they didn’t need to store fruits and veggies in the fridge because they had them in droves in their backyard! My parents live on a vast property that houses eggplants, papayas (so sorry I didn’t take a photo of one), coconut trees, okra, eggplants, and a plethora of vegetables that we ate on a daily basis. If we felt dehydrated, their help would cut down a coconut, machete the top open, hand us straws and we would drink the water and its meat straight from the coconut. There was nothing so refreshing than doing that in the middle of 100-degree weather and 97% humidity.


Coconut Tree

This was my attempt to chop down a coconut with a machete. Why so serious? I have a machete in my hand. I don’t mess around when that happens.



What’s a Filipino birthday party without Lechon? It wouldn’t be one. Here is my brother posing with an unlucky one.


Bahay Kubo Bahay Kubo2

This is called a “Bahay Kubo” (or a Nipa Hut). It’s a type of stilt house which is indigenous to the people of the area. My parents use it in the corner of their front yard for shade, or for an area to sit around with a small group of family and friends to share stories or a meal. My Mom plays solitaire in there when she has free time.


orphanage  orphanage2

My family and I had the privilege of visiting the Orphanage that we support monthly. Due to legal issues, I am not allowed to show the faces of the orphans, and photos of the grounds are limited to what you can see here. In addition, details of their ages and names also cannot be mentioned. What I can say is that they blessed us with dances and songs and my family and I returned the favor by singing them a few songs as well. Their stories and lives touched us all deeply. I pray that in the future, I am able to share more about the orphanage with you so that you have an opportunity to give in a way that you are led.


During a 10-hour layover in Manila before heading back to Los Angeles on our last day, we gallivanted around town, roamed the streets, and visited the Intramuros Wall, a spacious fort in Philippine history where the Filipinos had their last stand with the Spaniards before finally obtaining their Independence.

Manila2 Manila Manila3 Manila4  Manila9  Manila10  Manila11

I look forward to the day I can visit again!



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