Day Nine: Happy Travels

In choosing which comments from the previous task I was going to use for this post, I didn’t have to think much. Yes, the field of beauty and fashion means a lot to me and is important, for me, on several levels. But the post that hit the bullseye for me was the one by Nihar Pradhan from Makeup & Breakup, where he talks about writing, traveling, and photography.

As I’ve mentioned in my comment on his post, writing has always been by my side. This is probably because writing is quite an accessible activity and doesn’t involve as much resources as photography and/ or traveling. But even so, I still wonder about photography and traveling in my daydreams, hoping someday I could experience that positive feeling of a new city/ town/ history/ culture and capture all of these ever so personally from the camera’s lens.

I may have been fortunate to have had a brush of such an experience (the traveling-writing-photography combination) a few years ago…

During my pageant days, in addition to some other prizes, the other winners and I were also awarded an all-expense paid trip to Baguio City and Manila. It was quite an exciting three-to-four days for me and I got to discover new sights and meet new people. I think it was one of the best perks of attending that contest.

Anyhow, I’ve decided to repost from my old blog just to rekindle those happy memories and share it here on Ellie for the Road:

Miss Kagay-an 2011 has not only been an incredible experience, but also a fun opportunity to explore the places of the northern part of our country, the Philippines. For short, we had a tour of Manila and Baguio last week! ;-P

Okay, so we know it’s not the best time to start a tour of Baguio and Manila because of the merciless weather, not to mention the ominous flooding of certain parts of the National Capital Region. But, as they say, the show must go on. Actually, the people working behind the Miss Kagay-an 2011 Manila Tour opted to pursue because of the upcoming Miss Kagay-an turn-over this August 26. Despite the weather, we all chose to persist with the tour schedule so we could come up with an output before the turn-over and, at the same time, prove just how positive Filipinos can be. 😉

Anyhow, as expected, when we arrived at Manila the morning of August 8, 2012, it was raining. Nevertheless, we unpacked at our hotel and went straight to Ocean Park. What was kind of funny was that, for an amusement place, Ocean Park was very silent and peaceful. I almost thought there was a prayer rally or a silent protest going on. I’m kidding.

First stop was the Jellies exhibit. It was so cool to see all the jellies squirming and spreading themselves all over their aquariums like a boss. We had fun posing in front of the said jellies although, in my opinion, the jellies might have overshadowed our beauties. Literally. Because the place was dark and all.

Next, we were ready to watch the sea lions. May I just mention how pasaway these sea lions were? They smiled like beauty queens and performed like movie stars. They can even do drama when you’re not giving them enough attention. Somehow, my beauty queen companion, Christel, felt sorry for the sea lions because she was thinking about the probability that the sea lions were forced and unhappy with the environment they were in. When Christel texted her significant other about this, he told her the sea lions were actually happy there because they were being regularly fed and taken care of, and they didn’t have to worry about being hunted in the ocean by even bigger creatures. So I guess I shouldn’t feel sorry for them neither. But then I never really found out if they were happy or not…

Moving on, we went “fish watching.” There were ALL kinds of fishes in the Oceanarium. Big, small, very big, thin, thick, elongated. Name it. Curiously, I felt like the fishes were beckoning for us to watch them and adore their peaceful lifestyle. The sharks though were one of my favorites because the sharks allowed us to explore such sharp imaginations such as: “What if they grow big and destroy the aquarium and eat whatever the see?” This is actually quite a morbid thought. But you get what I mean.

Even though we were tired after the trip to Ocean Park, we had enough energy to go to Mall of Asia to eat our lunch and, especially, to marvel at the variety of clothes and shoes. Of course, girls never get tired when they’re shopping, but I was exhausted because I didn’t even have enough pocket money to shop. Maybe “frustrated” would be the right term.

The next day, we pursued the Baguio Escapade. I call it “escapade” since somehow it was an escape from the busy and flooded streets of Manila. But to our dismay, we got stranded at the NLEX highway because the van overheated and we had to spend almost half of the day trying to come up with interesting things to pass away the time. The rain subsided and the weather was hot. But the gas station where we stopped had air-conditioned comfort rooms. So Tetel and I made “tambay” there to keep our cool. Heheh.

When we reached Baguio, it was night time. So we slept. That’s all for this day. Hahah.

On the third day of our Manila-Baguio trip, the term “escapade” became invalid. There was no point in saying it was an escapade because it was also raining in Baguio. Hahah. But then, we were in Baguio. So we made use of our day by going to the numerous tourist spots and taking some nice pictures that we could bring back home. Our driver, chaperone and photographer was the unforgettable Koya Mepoi. He isn’t very fond of cameras but we managed to steal a photo from him. He practically doesn’t have an expression on his face, so you wouldn’t know if he’s joking when he actually is. He smiles, sometimes.

Fast forward to Saturday, August 11, we were on our way to Manila for the first half of the day. We prepped ourselves up because we were to grace the Philippine Travel Mart event at SMX Convention Center. It was quite a colorful event because of how each region or place decorated their booths to emphasize the region/ city’s greatest assets. Even though the heels hurt, the smile remained because each person we met was accommodating, entertaining, appreciative and camera-loving. So there was picture taking in almost every booth.

The last day at Manila was not the least, so to speak. We found time to explore Intramuros and Luneta Park before our 2pm flight back to Cagayan de Oro City.

Intramuros had an impressive Spanish-inspired church named after San Agustin. When we got there, a girl was singing this church song so melodically, I felt lifted. Intramuros was great. I just wish we had more time so the memory of it could really sink in. Anyhow, we eventually got to Luneta Park where we were disappointed because my colleagues and I were planning to distract these guards who, as a rule, do not move the whole time they are on duty (looking after Rizal’s monument) only to find out that they were protected by chained boundaries that limited visitors up to a certain perimeter. We took pictures anyway.

Finally, we got ourselves ready for the airport. I still feel quite nostalgic at the thought of our tour. It was a very short yet fun time. I do hope I could come back again. But, for now, we have so much still to be thankful for because Kagay-an Festival is coming up and the possibilities of the year’s festivities are to watch out for. 🙂

(Featured photo from João Silas)

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