When was the last time you said “Thank You” to someone?
I guess this written post is an overdue tribute in saying Thank You to a special someone in my life.
I have always expressed my Thank You’s and gratitude to my beloved Mama in private. And as far back as I can remember, I say it through love letters or small Post It notes then I would sneak it inside her bag, under her plate or even her blouse pocket. Once she finds out, she would always respond and give her feedback by writing me back or throwing me a big, tight Mom hug!
I guess I am more of a Thank You daughter than a saying I Love You person. Well, from time to time I do. But the impact of saying “salamat” is vast and wide and to be specific, I am extending an eternal Thank You to my everdearest Mama when it comes to travel. Because of her, I am able to go, see and enjoy places domestically and internationally. It is true that everytime you travel, appreciating the culture of a new place and territory and it’s people makes it even more exciting!
Mom is the most energetic travel bug and outdoorsy person I have known. Travel is her way of communing and being one with nature. And everytime she goes out of town it’s when she releases tension and stress from work and sometimes from stubborn daughters like me and my sister. Ouch!
A dedicated and passionate teacher even before I was born, Mom has gone to many out of town provinces thanks to the travel subsidy of their school which they call “Lakbay Aral”. So every summer, she and her co-teachers pick a really good destination and get there. My sister Michelle at times was able to tag along and join her in many wonderful trips to Palawan, Cagayan de Oro, Leyte, Bukidnon, Cebu, Bacolod and even Thailand which was her first ever international trip. And what a memorable trip to Bangkok they had from staying at a great hotel, haggled shopping, riding the “tuk tuk”, food trip galore and being impressed with a 747 boeing plane.
And speaking of airplanes, I came across this “Thank You” video campaign from Air Asia Philippines during my research online for a blog I was doing. The ad was a brief reminder especially this Yuletide season that we must indeed spread gratitude. That we should be grateful to whoever and whatever. Very touching isn’t it? I believe that appreciation be not limited to Christmas, but should be expressed for all time.
So thank you to my travel mate Mom, I was able to enjoy our unforgettable mother-daughter bonding when we went to Beijing, China! Too bad my sister was unable to come along because of work. Climbing the historic Great Wall of China was extra memorable with her and so were our street food tripping, thrift shopping and cold evening walks outside of our hotel. The best international travels we had with my sister were our trips to Hongkong and Singapore where we teased Mom to be the girlfriend of The Merlion because she literally did not want to leave the famous iconic symbol for some weird and strange reason after seeing it upclose. Well, that’s my Mama! ♥
She would always remind me to travel when budget allows and to travel while we were still young with family to better appreciate the many wonderful and awesome spots out there waiting to be seen. Speaking of budget during our family travels, she would collect our monthly share of a thousand pesos for like a year or six months depending where our itchy feet would take us. Our ever favorite destinations are Baguio and Boracay and for the latter, we would patiently ride the RoRo bus getting there which takes like 16 hours to do so. But once we have arrived, we kick back and relax and enjoy the best sunsets along the beach in between Stations 1 and 2. Su-weeeeet!!!
But Mama’s ultimate dream travel destination is the Holy Land and visit all the places Our Saviour went to. She dreams of even taking a relaxing cruise with my Dad. Everytime she see Bethlehem on TV or in cable, I would always here her say, “One day I am going to get there by the grace of God.” She never ceased praying.
In the past couple of years, Mama travelled less due to health reasons. She got herself into various medications. Good thing she took a lot of travel videos and would play them from time to time and it made her feel really good. There were so many accumulated clips my sister and I transferred them on CDs coming off the video cam. There are still a lot of short videos left in our cellfones waiting to be relocated.
October of last year I received an exclusive invite to travel down Coron, Palawan aboard a vessel that specializes in going to Tubbataha Reef. I have never been to Palawan before so I excitedly told Mama I am going there with a limited number of media people and the rest would be experienced divers. Mom had been there before but she was opposed to the idea of me joining. Maybe it was the mother instinct in her that she felt something was not good. But after convincing her not once but a few more times, she gave the green light. On the day of my departure for Batangas, I hugged her really tight and informed I shall share all my great Palawan experiences after five days.
Mom reminds me to always pray especially when travelling. Along the way en route to Batangas Pier she sent me several text reminders and to pray the rosary for safety and guidance to our destination. She’s really a loving and caring mother. And when our group finally arrived in Palawan after two days I was ecstatic and thankful for experiencing this side of paradise. Coron is such a beautiful piece of nature! Makes you want to stay there longer. I took lots of pictures and videos for me to show Mom afterwards.
But for some reason, fate did not allow me to share all my selfies, videos and wonderful and unforgettable adventures of Palawan to her. Mama went to heaven on the day our group arrived back to Batangas en route to Manila. I was crushed…so devastated and emotional to the point of breaking down in big sobs when my sister broke the sad news on the phone. I was in denial she was gone. Moreso, I was away but on my way back to her when she left. I was really looking forward to hugging her and sharing all the stories comparing notes of beautiful Palawan. If only she waited for me much longer…
That was more than a year now. It still hurts everytime I would recall that very bittersweet moment. The pain of losing someone you love dearly will never go away. Her personal travel videos are more meaningful and seeing her so happy in them makes more sense now. As family we miss her so much! I still cry a bucket everytime I watch the vids.
My Mom…My Travel Angel has gone to the Holy Land. And tomorrow or later, she’s at Vatican City or on top of the Eiffel Tower or sipping a juice or two by the shoreline of her favorite beach spot in Boracay…
Thank You Mama…for everything… and for the lovely gift of travel which I will continue to do because by visiting and exploring more places, you are very much alive! Love youuuuuu!!! ♥♥