Monday, February 9, 2009

Everyone should visit the country where they come from. They go back to find the culture that flows through their very genes. Maybe in search for who they are or something lost inside them. I am Filipino, Spanish and Chinese, so for me, it was the Philippines. Both of my parents immigrated to the USA when they were young adults. I haven't travelled much. I've visited Mexico, I went to Cuba with my dance class and when I was really young, me and the family went to visit my auntie in Noosa and we stayed in the Nautilus Noosa Resort. But that's about as exciting as it gets. Before we left, we made sure we had everything we needed. My father sat us down and made us go through a list to ensure nothing of importance was left behind. Our most important thing, he said, is our health. Without health, we have nothing. So the first thing on the list was our medication - my mum's diabetes pills, my dad's propecia tablets, my acne treatment and my brother's asperger's syndrome medication.

At first I was excited, I was finally going to see my homeland. I wanted to see what everything was like and my family. Only right before we were scheduled to go, I became sick as hell, but I was ready for anything. Anything indeed.

My dad, brother, and I waited three hours for the flight, 16 hours on a stinky airplane, and then an hour to get through security inspection. Then we were here. Wow. Not. I didn’t feel different. I felt like I was still in America.

But then I saw these crazy decorated cars and jeepneys (a kind of car/taxi/bus there) and I was well informed: “ksssshh…Melanie, we have reached the Philippines…kssshh.” Whoa! Hello. This was something different. And I discovered even more when I went on an eight-hour drive from Manila to Laoag in a homemade car. The road was terrible and bumpy and I had a butt ache from hell. But the view was more than I expected. There were tropical trees and ancient structures. We traveled through poor cities, rich cities, and there were houses, huts and shacks. It was a shock in how the people live there. It was like an oriental Mexico, Filipino style.