As soon as I am back from a journey I write down my feelings, since time applies on them in a funny way. Sites I visited almost unmoved after a few days hold a firm place in my mind or, on the contrary, where I really got excited slowly leaves my memories. And I don’t believe that rash impressions are more or less trustworthy than later thoughts, I just think they are different, more spontaneous, less reliable.
That said, here is what I have to say in a waiting hall in Beijing’s airport: travelling in the Philippines was great, really great. I definitely recommend them as travel destination.
I never got this many questions about my travel from friends and acquaintances. Which proves how many people have the Philippines in mind, but how little of them have actually been there. As for my fellow country-people, I met very few Italians during those twenty days spent travelling.
As I said, I loved my journey, but there are a couple places which didn’t thrill me. One is Manila, but no surprise here since all the readings I did before leaving made me think I wouldn’t appreciate much this town. I was less prepared for my disappointment about the Underground River in Sabang, on Palawan. Considered by many the eighth wonder of the world, in my opinion it should offer something more, or excite more, but it didn’t with me. Maybe because out of its eight-kilometre length only one and a half is open to visitors.
But let’s move to what I liked, which obviously had a larger weight at the end of my travel. I loved the north of Luzon with its wonderful rice terraces, especially those in Batad. I loved El Nido for all the marvels it offers – the Bacuit archipelago above everything else – and I loved the Philippinos, their kindness and helpfulness.
I also have vivid in mind the impressive contrast between Manila’s poorest areas, crowded by beggars, and the street in Sagada, hit by the richest part of the population for their winter holidays.
Moreover, I learned to come to terms with the weather, which is particularly hysteric here in the Philippines. I learned that you can’t have detailed travel plans since, with limited time, you might leave from a place without even enjoying it.
The weather conditions are the decisive factor that made me understand how also flight schedules can be object to modifications. In my case the cancellation of an internal flight caused the loss of the followings that should have taken me home, and led me to spend two more days here and an unexpected cost for my wallet. I admit it wasn’t all that tragic, but when I received the news I got really upset, especially since the Philippines are frequently in trouble because of typhoons and hurricanes, with consequences far worse than the loss of a flight.