They often say that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. And while this adage is often used to describe the loss of a loved one or a state of being, it could very well pertain to the loss of a place or rather the dispossession – of that sense of place. In my case, it was that place that I’ve always known, the cliched “land of my birth” and the setting for the bulk of my life’s memories. The Philippines.
When I started my work overseas some 6 years ago, I was filled with utmost excitement at the thought of living in a new environment. Given that I was then at the early stages of what is to be a long-lasting stage of wanderlust, few things were more exciting personally than the opportunity to expose myself to a different culture, place and milieu. I thought that it would be like starting a new life.
Contrary to what is unfairly associated with people who leave, I’ve always had a fondness for the Philippines. The fact that I have been living elsewhere for a while now doesn’t change this fact. As a travel blogger, I probably should not be saying this but back then, the thought of traveling for leisure – whether in or out of the country – didn’t appeal that much to me. What is perhaps ironic is that I had not actually started exploring the Philippines extensively until I started living outside the country. In 2008 when I started working in Singapore, I had only been to Metro Manila where I grew up, a few surrounding provinces and Bacolod, because I have relatives there. I had not even been to Cebu.