[Personal] ► Rekindling a Childhood Dream to Travel

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"I will inspire my future children. I will let them know that passion should not be sacrificed."

This post is more of a reflection from childhood. As a child who studied in a public school with free books from the government having contents printed in black and white, I used to be discontented to see that the beauty of the places on my textbook was a face of loneliness - no colors.

[VIGAN] Children from my hometown


One of my fave subjects is HEKASI. My teacher has always been telling us about the hagdan-hagdang palayan (rice terraces). Although I have always dreamed of seeing such place, it remained as wish. As a child, I felt like I was deprived to see such place highlighted in our lesson that day.

RICE TERRACES AND MY CHILDHOOD

I am a child who grew up in a beautiful country with simple dreams and aspirations. I wanted to read a book in full color to appreciate the beauty of my land. Pictures of beautiful places are my interests.

[VIGAN] My neighbor gave this book to me. It ignited my fire to wander (1998).


Sadly, my childhood has witnessed that the economy is not really in good shape. Because if it was well, my parents should have bought me an Encyclopedia Britannica I have always requested them to buy. My thirst for knowledge was severe. But I breathed the air of reality instead. My parents, if they were rich, should have brought me to those rice terraces upon request.

But as a child, I have already known that the latter request is not emanating from innocence. I was exposed to the reality of life. You know, the burning desire to travel was there but I was aware that visiting such lovely place is close to impossibility those times.

OF GROWING UP

My love of seeing rice terraces was rekindled last 2012 when I saw rice terraces for the first time in the province of ABRA

ABRA

FAST FACTS: Abra is a landlocked province in the Cordilleras composed of more than a dozen tribes and dialects.

Photo: Banao Tribe of Daguioman
. Although it was not exactly the rice terraces mentioned on that textbook, I realized that the magic of my early love life is coming back. All I know then was, rice terraces are only found in IFUGAO - that is because my HEKASI books are not telling there are many rice terraces in the CORDILLERAS

CORDILLERAS

FAST FACTS: A mountainous region in the Philippines' Luzon island composed of 6 provinces with distinct people and dialects namely Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province.

Photo: Mountain Ranges in Banaue, Ifugao
.

[VIGAN] My manyayagit neighbor picked this book from a trash but I still read it.


You know, my childhood love affair revolved around newspaper and magazine clippings of beautiful places. I remember, the largest clipping I ever cut from a broadsheet was a photo of Catanduanes. The author of the article tagged the destination as the 'Land of the Howling Wind.' I kept those clippings and I made myself contended just seeing those images without personally seeing the place.

I remember I also had my first Philippine map. It was actually a calendar from my father's office. I waited for that year to be finished so that I can get that map. My effort wasn't in vain. I got that map. From there, I memorized all the provinces in the Philippines. That was when I am about to turn 10 years old.

I knew I was a child who has less in life, but my dreams were bigger. I passed the stage of childhood. I studied hard as a government scholar to a State University in our province. I finished college. I landed to a humble job that has allowed me to help children who have less in life too. I have the heart to help them not because it is my job, but because I know how it feels to be like them.

[MANABO] Tribal Children of the Rice Terraces. I traveled here to bring hope.


I am now a nurse. From the fruits of my hard work, I started to augment my travel fund. From there, my life has changed. From a simple dream to see the rice terraces, it evolved. It changed me.

I had the chance to travel to a remote place. The first set of rice terraces I saw was a surprise. I wasn't aware that such wonder is existing in that remote town called Tubo.

[TUBO] Tubo Rice Terraces, the first I have ever seen


That feeling when you think what you are seeing is fiction was insane. It was like seeing Superman in person. You know that. As a child, seeing rice terraces was more of a fantasy than reality (due to the circumstances I mentioned above). Now that I have the chance to see these places, I am now capturing them in full color. It is the simple way I can do to show to the children now and of tomorrow the beauty of the Land of their birth, especially those who have the desire to travel but are not capable to do so.

As a grown-up kid, that reminded me of my childhood dreams. From that day, I knew I am going back to my first love and I don't want to let that magic go away again. The suppressed desire is resurrected from the permafrost. I will travel. I will aim high. I will hit the mark. I will inspire my future children. I will let them know that passion should not be sacrificed.

That first time I saw those rice terraces almost placed tears to my cheeks. It reminded me of my "less" childhood life. I really thank God I experienced having less because I probably won't know how to recognize having "more" if have not experienced having less. Yes, I have more now. More experiences. More friends. More beautiful memories. More opportunities to travel and help children to be healthy and happy.

[BANAUE] I was a child who dreamed to see rice terraces; this child is dreaming with it.

Banao Tribe: Daguioman, Abra

[DAGUIOMAN] Young generation of the Banao Tribe: a tribe owning rice terraces

Banao Tribe: Malibcong, Abra

[MALIBCONG] Little angles of the Banao Tribe of Gacab Village

Banao Tribe: Malibcong, Abra

[MALIBCONG] A kid of the Banao Tribe of Dulao Village

Banao Tribe: Licuan-Baay, Abra

[LICUAN-BAAY] Giving slippers-of-hope to the mountain kids of Bulbulala Village

Maeng Tribe: Tubo, Abra

[TUBO] Maeng Tribe Children of Tubo, Abra: a gift-giving mission

Batad Rice Terraces: Banaue, Ifugao

[BANAUE] From a black & white textbook image to a colorful reality

Maeng Tribe: Tubo, Abra

[TUBO] Maeng Kids of Tubo: Children of the Rice Terraces


It is not about material wealth. I consider fulfilling a childhood dream priceless. All these things happened because of turning a childhood dream into reality, through hard work - that is to travel and see the rice terraces, it went beyond...

From a childhood dream to see rice terraces, it turned out to be a mission. It's about the children living therein. Seeing the children of the mountain tribes living near the rice terraces has become a passion. When I see them happy, that's something words can not explain. And whenever I see them reach their dreams, hopefully in the future, that would be priceless! It's more than the worth of gold. It fulfills me. I found the place where my heart belongs...

...and it is life-changing to find the purpose of your existence: travel, help and also change other people's lives, for the better! /end

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comment 4 #TownFolks Commented :

Janrey on March 28, 2014 at 1:01 AM said...

Thank you for sharing your story! I really like it... It's inspiring to read that your childhood dream is now a reality. You make me want to visit the rice terraces more than ever...

Continue sharing your stories! God bless...

Edmar Guquib said...

Janrey | Thank you for having the time to read. God Bless you too :)

Potato on March 31, 2014 at 4:00 AM said...

Hi Ed! What a sweet post, back then HEKASI was also my favourite subject and i used to do well even if i sleep in class all the time :P I hope you travel far and wide, i believe having a kick-ass job will let you do that. I wish you success in your field (y)

Edmar Guquib said...

Potato | Thank you Lauren for the kind words! ...appreciate it. (y)

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