I was only four months old when my mom first brought me to Baguio. We lived there with my father’s family for a while, then we’d just visit from time to time as I was growing up. Actually, we were there again just this weekend.
Now when I think of it, I realize that my mom really was my first travel buddy because we used to be joined at the hip. Growing up, my cousins would poke fun at me because I couldn’t go anywhere without her or her permission. She wouldn't let me go on out-of-town trips with friends; not even sleepover at other people’s homes until I was already working. So the people who know me were probably surprised when I started traveling without her. But of course there's still the usual text messages of “Asan ka na? Anong oras ka uuwi?/Anong oras flight mo?" :p
Anyway, in this post I’ll be recounting two of our major and probably most memorable trips ever.
August 2009: I asked her if she would like to spend Christmas in Singapore and her face lit up. Without hesitation, she said 'yes'. I believe she deserved that 'break' after taking care of my father who battled Parkinson's for four years. It was no easy feat.
In between the months prior to our departure, we were busy fixing my DOST clearance, and applying for her passport and renewing mine. She wants to be sure that we have all the necessary documents to avoid immigration problems.
Fast forward to December 23, 2009, we left home at 10:00 for our 14:45 flight. See? The apple really doesn't fall far from the tree. :p As soon as the check-in counters opened, we lined up and after breezing through immigration, we finally heaved a sigh of relief. We had our first passport stamps! Upon boarding the plane, I was a bit worried that she might feel some discomfort as it was her first time to fly, but everything went smoothly and we landed in Changi Airport after more than 3 hours.
March 2011: We went on another trip; this time to Hong Kong and Macau. It was our first time to experience winter (or at least what's left of it) so it was a very memorable trip. If you've been to Hong Kong, you'd know how taxing it is to walk around theme parks all day but she never complained nor slowed us down. She even had the same childlike amusement that I had. We really had a great time.
Hong Kong Disneyland
In both occasions, we just stayed in hostels so there was no breakfast included. And just like at home, sometimes she'll wake up early and go to the nearest convenience store or fast food to
forage buy breakfast. Saan ka pa! Lumalabas mag-isa kahit nasa abroad dahil on mommy duty pa rin. :D
Nan Lian Gardens
But then in April 2011, just a little over a month after we got back from Hong Kong, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The doctor advised her to have a mastectomy so she had her operation in May 2011, and had six chemotherapy sessions (June - October). She knew I bought tickets the year before and was planning to do an Indochina trip by the end of 2011 so even though it was just a little over a month after her last chemotherapy session, and even if it meant that she'd be left alone for 9 days, she let me push through with the trip. She'd become supportive of my travels so I feel grateful for that. In fact, I recently made a booking (with her prodding!) so hopefully everything will be okay (health-wise) so we can fly again before the year ends.
When I was a kid I used to tell her that when I become rich, all I want to do is travel the world. Well, I'm still far from being rich (in fact, we just live in a one-bedroom apartment) but I'm slowly realizing that dream. I know a lot of people are baffled how we can afford such 'luxury', but you see, my mom and I, we don't really care much about material possessions or financial wealth. As long as we have roof on our heads, eat three times a day, and able to pay the bills, we're okay. She believes we rather invest on experiences.
She said some fortuneteller told her ages ago that she'll be able to travel abroad because of her future child/ren. I'm glad I'm somehow able to make that into a reality, so whenever I hear people tell her "Ang swerte mo naman, pinag-bbyahe ka ng anak mo." ("You're lucky. You’re able to travel because of your daughter."), I can't help but feel proud. If people only know about all the hardships she’s been through for me and our family, you’d say that she deserves more than that.
Before we learned to read maps, our moms taught us the alphabet. Before we ran marathons or trekked mountains, she held our hands and taught us how to walk. Before we learned the art of packing, she was the one who prepared our backpacks and lunch box for school or for that once a year field trip we always look forward to.
I guess it's safe to say that who and what we are now, we owe it greatly to our moms. So when you have the chance and the means, treat her to that well-deserved vacation. ;)
This is my contribution to this month's blog carnival:
Traveling With Your Mom (A Mother's Day Special)
Blog compilations will be hosted by
Alvin Sabay of The World Behind My Wall
Complete compilation of previous Pinoy Travel Bloggers' Blog Carnival here.