Sunday, March 16, 2014

The First Vacation to the Philippines #OFW23



I took my store duty which released my little energy to think about the Philippines. Truly, my first vacation's fast approaching which made my mind went wild. I called Vivian over the landline phone, “Vivian, good morning, how are you?”

“Marc, it’s you, I’m fine. I heard you’re going on vacation?”

“Yes, my friend. Could you come tomorrow night at Ryan’s place in Al Maktoum Street?"

“Yes Marc, I know that place but I call you when I’m there already.”

“Okay Vivian, see you there.”

“Marco, I have something for my children and money too. Could you please give this at Libertad, Pasay?”

“Sure my friend, bring it and I will give that to them.”

“Okay Marco, thank you.”

“Thanks Vivian, bye!

The thing that I liked most about any party was that, I had the possibility of knowing other people; their personalities, status in life and interests. The farewell party were prepared by Ryan Mallari and Glenda Teruel which they branded them as party organizers. My expectation for the party and excitement for my vacation molded my perception to increase with nothing to be considered to them. In fact, I had the positive feeling for them as friends.

“Friends, let’s celebrate this night for our friend Marco. Let’s have a toast for his forthcoming first vacation to our native land, the Philippines. Cheers everyone!!” Ryan announced.

We cheered with joyous feeling to each other which made me the attention of the party. But, my heart kept on watching for Vivian who didn’t arrive yet.

“My friends, since our friendship was sealed by our loyalty to each other, this farewell party was held to help us all, not only Marco, but also to our friends who wants a vacation in the future. The financial assistance extended by us could help him in any way while staying in the Philippines. I ask your support for him. Let’s pass the collection box please... Thank you.”

Everybody's eager to give their share and support. A happy celebration just for my vacation which made them enjoy totally with devotion.

Vivian Montoya didn’t arrive at the farewell party which made me think negatively. I went home alone with a reverie in my heart, but excited enough for the result of the party and my forthcoming vacation. At the stairway, Ronnie Ramirez told me that Vivian was there in their room waiting for me. He accompanied me to his room.

“Hello Vivian, what’s up?” I said to her in a casual voice.

“Marco, I’m so sorry for not attending the party.”

“Vivian, you know the rules here in our flat; female is not allowed....can we talk at the nearest restaurant here? It’s 11:30 in the evening; we have more time to spend. Want to eat shawarma...and fresh fruit smoothies?”

“Sure, okay.”

I told Ronnie to observe the surrounding and watch while we went outside the building. We’re on the main road when the police car stopped in front of me. Ronnie and Vivian were walking ahead of me.

“Kabayan good evening!” the police greeted me.

“Good evening Sir!” I answered.

“May I check your iqama please....”

I gave my iqama but I’m worried about Vivian at that time, she's a TNT without any legal papers at all. I gave a signal to Ronnie to continue walking while I was talking to the police inside the car. He understood at once and went on walking normally.

“Sir, how are you tonight?”

“I’m fine kabayan, where are you going at this hour?”

“I’d like to eat shawarma in the restaurant, over there....,” pointing in the reverse direction.

“I see, come inside I’ll bring you there.”

“Okay Sir, thank you.”

The police brought me to the Shawarma Restaurant without any complaint and left. I saw Ronnie and Vivian hiding at the small junction of the road behind the parked cars. I stood in front of the restaurant to give them signal that it was okay to proceed.

We sat at the table and ordered five shawarmas and three fresh fruit smoothies.

“How are you Vivian?” I asked her squarely.

“I’m fine Marco. By the way, the package for my children is in the room, I gave to Ronnie, the address and the money too, inside the envelope. Please Marco...I thank you for this...Tell my parents that I'm okay here in Dubai.”

“Don’t worry my friend I’ll do that for you.”

“Good luck to your first vacation in the Philippines....” Vivian said looking into my eyes and a warm handshake.

“I will my friend, thanks for everything...”

Vivian left us in the restaurant that I began to keep my silence in front of Ronnie. I finished eating my shawarma and consumed fruit smoothies wherein Ronnie still finishing his, which I looked and observed him. The character of his father really resembled some of his traits, but my feeling for him was not fully coherent like Edward.




It was in the...

Year 1987 of October 28, when I departed the Dubai International Airport going to Manila, Philippines; my first vacation.

The weather was quite hazy when we departed from my accommodation in Satwa District. We’re six of us in a taxi cab which made the back seat like a canned sardines. The situation did not matter to my friends, as long as they had me with my first departure. Everyone wished me good luck, got inside the airport and seated in the waiting area. I kept on wondering what will be the outcome of my vacation, the condition of my family especially the children and the love for my wife. Really amazing to think that after two long years of sacrifices and vices, here I am, waiting for the most memorable moment of my life. The love of my family still the best thing I ever wanted in my whole life; but within the challenges that I encountered, I didn’t have much weapons or eluded it. It’s only my weaknesses that showed and comprehended things within the facets of my personality.

At long last, I stepped inside the plane cabin with much thought still lingered in my heart. I seated and looked at each passenger as if, they were happy and contented. Their faces contrived to their strengths in facing their own destiny with vigor; that unlike me, still learning how to make things the basic way.

Sleep cannot gave me the power to erase temporarily of what I was thinking about the past and the future. Even the in-flight music, movies and food, couldn’t remedy from thinking the same. I resumed my non-sense drifting of my thoughts which changed like a roulette of images. Never had I experienced this kind of feeling; a mixed feeling of excitement, fear, sad, unknown, glad or anything what I had in my mind.


After long nine hours, I glimpsed my beloved country with depth emotions coming from a dreamer like me. The plane touched the runway like my feelings kissed my native land. I cannot fathom my agitated mind and heart, flowing like running water in the river, and the emotions that I cannot explained even in a single word.


Around seven in the morning, I smelled the air as fresh as the seaside breeze and met the crowd with much delight. Their faces were like thousands of flowers moving in one direction across the mountain. I moved my way to the airport exit, hoping that somebody will welcome me, but this travel was a surprise one for my family. Ayah Isabel didn’t have knowledge about this vacation.

TO BE CONTINUED###



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16 comments:

  1. It feels so good that after years of working abroad finally you'll be able to go back to your country. I'm sure you missed you family so much and yes the ambiance will make you feel good too.

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  2. Now , this coming home can either result to something happy or sad, crossing my fingers for the protagonist.

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  3. I know that feeling of also waiting for the most memorable moment of my life - coming back home after two years of also being separated for being an OFW. So when you wrote the details about seeing other faces inside the plane cabin, I could very much relate.

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  4. I may not have close relatives far from home but I somehow get the feeling because my boyfriend feels lonely whenever her sister or mother would leave.

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  5. It really feels good to be back home, isn't it? hope you enjoy your stay and make a memorable one :)

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  6. So good for you to come home safe. After all the hard work, you can relax a little bit and enjoy while you are here. Spend most of the time with family and give them quality time coz i know how much they miss you.

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  7. Now, I can't wait to see what happens next!

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  8. This reminds me of the famous expression from The Wizard of Oz, "there is no place like home."

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  9. it's always feel great to get back at your home.Hope you'll enjoy the feeling.

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  10. Me, too I can't wait. I like your OFW series. It somehow puts a face on what the OFW feels.

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  11. Ayah would surely be surprised at this visit.

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  12. Marco wold surely be excited with the idea of being home.

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  13. Wow, I would be so happy to get home!

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  14. My first vacation to the Philippines was not a vacation actually. I went home to say my last goodbye to my mom and didn't even enjoy travelling as I was pregnant too. I had to be careful travelling because it was a high risk pregnancy.

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  15. I can't wait to see how Ayah Isabel would react with excitement.

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  16. My hubby who works in Dubai will be having his vacation this July.

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