Vacation in The Philippines By Nancy Floro
Everyone needs to go for vacation once in a while! Surely, it is important for physical and mental health. Vacation makes us happier, healthier, calmer, satisfied, more productive and more energized!
For us retirees, vacation is essential to fight against boredom and loneliness, to have social interaction, to be free for some days from caring of grandchildren, aging parents or sick family members . Traveling to go for vacation also provides a respite from boring routine daily home activities and to make us feel alive and enhance our sense of accomplishments.
Opting to have vacation to visit my hometown affected by natural calamity was a priority to me. So, I decided to spend my vacation in the hometown of my beloved father ( RIP), in Samar to see our Rest house that was devastated by the super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last Nov.8, 2013. Samar province is located in Eastern Visayas. Rainfall is common and they have it in varying degrees throughout the year.
After arriving at the Romualdez Airport in San Jose, Tacloban City, I rode a jeepney bound to the Sea Port, where the Pump Boats were lined up awaiting for passengers. Upon reaching my destination, I left the Port and hurriedly went to the direction of our Rest House which is just few steps away from the Port. While walking, I observed that I could no longer see a trace of the red painted wall which I know and remember very well, and as I walked nearer, I could not help myself from shedding tears of disbelief, anguish, and sorrow upon seeing the awful scene of our former rest house in complete destruction. What a devastating sight! My heart was deeply hurt and my mind could not comprehend the extent of such ravaging effects of that typhoon Yolanda to our property. Our rest house where we spent happy vacation times, so nice and comfortable is gone, destroyed by wrath of nature! Everything is gone, not even a single plant is visible.
Neighbors welcomed me warmly with affection. Endless talks followed , they recounted their experiences during that horrible day-losing family members from the devastating flood, the complete destruction of their houses, how they survived, where they stayed , and how food was available for them! Such heart breaking stories! Finally, I saw my bother Sonny and nephew Ever coming to meet me. I was so happy to see and hug them. So thankful to God to see them in good spirit and good health.
Another comforting incident that I remember when I was there, was visiting my auntie Lila. I made a promise to her the last time I saw her that I will go back there to see and visit her again. She’s 93 years old, frail, and no longer in good health. She can’t recognize anybody anymore. While staying there, I have seen most of my relatives and neighbors, reminiscing our younger years with them! A delight to be with them, sharing jokes and fun times.
More days of staying there gave me the opportunity to smell and feel again the invigorating freshness of the sea breeze, hear once again the sea waves kissing the reefs, and have time to listen to the different sounds at night by different creatures on the ground.
During the daytime, looking around, the lovely sight of the lush green mountains, and the beautiful blue sea, made me fell in love with our province all over again, actually forgetting in the meantime the noisy and busy city where I came from.
Staying there for 8 days was sufficient, feeling the real essence of life, free from the hectic schedule of my various tasks to be taken radically, and feeling free for a short period of time. I was enjoying my freedom which generated much satisfaction and happiness within me undeniably!
Acceptance of this devastating natural disaster and striving to rise up and re-build whatever has been damaged are traits that we Filipinos are keen to practice and employ…With God’s loving kindness and grace!
Traveling and taking vacation once in a while is indeed a great way of uplifting our spirits, reminding us what a wonderful world we are living in that gives meaning to our lives. Seeing beautiful places, having fresh air to breathe, smelling the fragrance of flowers, feeling the coldness of the wind, and the dew at dawn amaze us, making us realize how beautiful our life is, despite the challenges, and trials that we have encountered in life. I am thankful to our Father God in heaven for His continued blessings and favor to me to carry on with this wonderful life and letting the river flow smoothly to its destiny…
By Nancy Floro, Olderhood Philippines Writers Circle