Monday, January 23, 2012

Be an Ambassador of Your Own Country

Music: A Fine Frenzy and Florence + the Machine (Shuffled)


Okay, this was not taken during this trip, but I love this picture of my friend and I. Us doing the KungFu shiznet in Chinese Temple in Baguio

Some of you may view me as workaholic, trust me I really am not, I just want to get things done so I could move on to another tasks for me to be able to have free time in my hands every weekend – okay I might just be tad bit workaholic if you insist. Anyway, what I am driving at is this – I happen to have the chance to go on a “business trip” this weekend – Baguio. As usual, I choose the weekend because I really do not want to tire myself heading back and working the next day. I just had to do some errands to finalize everything in our newly renovated Staff House – which falls under my responsibilities the minute this work was transferred to me last May 2011.

Like always true to the core, my 3am pledge of heading up north was moved to a later schedule because I fell asleep. There I was, checking the trips for Baguio in Pasay City and I got the 2:30pm trip, which was a little late than usual. You see, it used to be a 6-hour trip, but due to some circumstances, throw 2 hours more in that trip. Thank you, traffic you never fail to stress me out.

I had 2 hours to kill at the bus station and decided to chill at the air-conditioned lounge. I sat beside two foreigners - a couple, at first I thought they were Dutch, only to be corrected that they were Swiss who had been on tour for a while now. I did not mind them at first because I get snotty sometimes. Lets face it, not everyone likes to talk to strangers and I usually mind my own business in public places. But damn, two hours is a long wait. I started asking the cashier at the lounge if there were a lot of people going up because of the fully booked trips, we talked about the long weekend and people are grabbing the chance to ran away from the chaotic life in the Metro. The couple over heard what I was saying and they somewhat reacted as if it is now clear to them why the trip they got was late.

We started talking about Baguio and I asked how long they would be staying there.  They had one glitch up on the way, they couldn’t get in touch with any hotel in Baguio to get a room for the night – they didn’t know they had to dial 074 first. Alas, I told them the area code but then again, their travel book listed these fancy hotels that costs about Php 3,000 a night, which they thought, was a rip off and most were fully booked for the weekend too.

I didn’t want them to arrive in Baguio without a place to stay or get lost at 11pm. I told them I know a place but it is not that fancy or anything but can pass for okay – which is right beside our Staff House. I offered to book it for them first and they pay it later – they were relieved that they have a place to stay for the night.

They told me they visited Dumaguete, Siquijor, Bohol and Boracay. I told them I have been to those places, except Bohol and Boracay and told them about places in Dumaguete that they should have visited as well as in Siquijor, also told them about Palawan, Vigan, Pagudpud, Bicol, Davao, and other places they should visit. They said, there are too many places to see in the Philippines and that they do not have enough time – but would definitely come back for sure.

To cut the story short, because it is a long ride and there were conversations haha. I am a traveler, I make it to a point that each year I go somewhere different before or on my birthday (like what I have already said in previous posts). As a traveler I appreciate locals that go an extra mile to make your stay in their province or country a memorable one. I happen to have an experience back in Malaysia where we had to take the bus to Singapore but on the wee hours of the morning, we did not know anything nor understand a single word, a lady graciously helped us from the bus station to the border and got us a taxi to take us safely to our friend’s condo. I wanted to reciprocate that simple gesture to our local or international tourists, thus the extended help for the Swiss couple.

You see, we are ambassadors of our own country, province or city. We represent the whole being of this country through our gestures to local and international travelers without anything in return. It is not so much of being hospitable because I have a different connotation on that one, rather providing a different experience to them through small stuff. I may have sweated a small stuff during this Baguio trip, but for them it means so much because they were safe, that can make them come back to the Philippines and tell their friends about our country – word of mouth is always they best marketing strategy out there.

Okay, I am writing this at 5AM and I haven’t slept from the minute I arrived from Baguio this morning so I might be a little incoherent. But nonetheless, be an ambassador of this country in your own little way. You will never know how far that ripple would go.

On a giddy note: I received a Swiss knife from the couple. It does come in handy. Haha Thank you Maria and Daniel. 




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