Dear Foreign Retiree, Why You Should Retire In My Town? Part I

Hard works, stress, and nonstop problems are caused by being active in the line of duty. Finally, after many long years of work, a chance to relax for the rest of your life, spending most of the cash you have earned when you are still on the service.
                Most of the people dreamed to have a vacation abroad or even spend the rest of their lives in foreign countries, but I have a question left hanging in my head.  Have you already seen the seven thousand one hundred beautiful islands of the Philippines? Have you experienced how to live in the most interesting provinces of the Philippines? Have you tried to plant a seed in the land where you spent most of your life? If not, why not stay here and spoil yourself to the most delicious food and taste the exotic dishes in different parts of the Philippines? Be captivated by the colorful festivals in different places and be amazed with the eye-catching beauty of the sceneries around the country.
                I myself had been through many places. My father is a soldier, so we as a family always stay together. I was born in Zamboanga City where you can find the colorful Vintas hand-made by the locals in Zamboanga but we just stayed there for a while as I recall I was three or four years old when we have to go to Basilan. You can see the beach not that far from home few walks and you can enjoy the calm breeze of the sea. I was five when my father was assigned in Jolo, Sulu my mother’s hometown. We stayed at the military barracks; we don’t need to go to the market to have a meal because all our favorite vegetables were planted at every backyard. Chickens went running around and the fruits were everywhere. You can feed cows and goats, and have some milk from it. Most of the forests in Jolo are still preserved until today. I find the life there as the most simple life that I have. I was eight years old when we went back to Zamboanga. I recall on the way to our school I could see pineapple plantations where you can see bunch of pineapples harvested every day, taste the mangosteen and marang which can only be found in Mindanao. One can enjoy the stinky smell and delicious taste of the best dried fish ever.  You can walk along the shores and enjoy the waves in the sea. We just stayed there for half a year when my father was needed to report in Manila. We rode on an aircraft made for soldiers and their dependents.  It was quite an experience. We have to stop over at Cebu City where you can find the famous Magellan’s Cross. I have heard that the one displayed there was the original cross that Ferdinand Magellan first brought to the Philippines. It was already sunset when we reached Manila, but we have to travel again for almost five hours to stay at my grandmother’s house in Pangasinan where the Hundred Islands is found. Pangasinan is known for the big fat milkfish, catfish, homemade fish sauce and sweet ripe mangoes. My grandfather and I used to go to the rice fields every morning and pick mangoes. We used to go to the backyard and got bamboo sticks to use for the fixing of the fence and bamboo shoots for our lunch together with kamote tops and grilled milkfish. We always have breakfast cooked by our relatives in Pangasinan and they usually gave food to us before breakfast. Then after six months our family went back to Manila with our father. We stayed here for almost 13 years now and I can say that I have been through many wonderful places here at the Metro. I have been in Laguna when we went for an educational trip in college. We went to UP Los Banos. We visited the Botanical Garden and the beautiful resort at noon. I have experienced staying at Mount Makiling for three days and two nights hiking together with my friends. It was once in a lifetime adventure. We were trained to live life on our own, made our own fire, cooked our own food, built our own tent for our shelter, and learned how to swim. It was not that simple. I was in loved with the delicious buko pie in Laguna. After that we had a family trip in Tagaytay City. We saw the smallest volcano in the world – the Taal Volcano. Afterwards, we had a horseback riding and sightseeing at the park. We have tried harvesting pineapples in the farm. It was a bit tiring but we enjoyed it a lot. On our Philippine History class, we visited Bulacan and we saw the oldest church in the Philippines, the Barasoain Church and went to the Biak na Bato where the KKK led by Andres Bonifacio took cover to ambush the Spanish soldiers. Most of their writings can be traced in the walls of the caves. 

Written by Ms. Mae-rizza Sotelo, 2nd Year BSHRM student


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