to solve (a problem, mystery etc) Is there no-one who can unravel this mystery?
During my internship at Rappler, I had my first taste of travel-writing, but it was Choose Philippines which pushed this fancy interest of mine into passion.
Choose Philippines is an advocacy of the ABS-CBN Regional Network Group’s Online Business which aims to promote our ever-so wonderful country and our wonderful people in general (this is not sarcasm, I promise) It’s a travel-magazine website which features the regional festivals, local cuisines, tourist destinations and Filipino mannerisms. In just a few months, its Facebook page has reached a staggering 300,000 likes followed by hundreds of subscribers.
From the start, I really like the Choose Philippines page. When I have nothing to do in facebook, I scroll down to their page and enjoy the trivias or the bits of information they posted. Apart from all, I enjoyed the comments of Filipinos, both here and abroad, under the picture or status updates. It lightens my heart to see these people say how proud they are of being Filipinos, and I hope they are not like me whose optimism is always clouded by cynicism, whose grim outlook for the future of the country is as dark and gray as the storm clouds obscuring the sunny ray of hope coming out from other people.
I would be happy to say to you that CP slowly vanquishes the national Grinch in me and I learned to look at things way more differently from my originally pessimistic views. Honestly, it’s hard to promote a country with 30% of its population living below the poverty line. It’s hard to boast of Manila’s grand skyline of buildings when you know there are patches of squatter area crowding under the bridge or in a polluted estero. Slowly, I realize maybe I’m being too hard to my own country. And I’m being too hard to myself because no matter, I will always be a part of this country, as it is to me.
Second, I like travelling, which makes my stay in Choose Philippines more delightful. I enjoy venturing in a new place, and having my own adventure even if I’m all by myself. I like to trek on mountains, hills and forests during my stay on various provinces. I take note of the details that managed to enthrall me, like the pink-glow sunset in the bed of indigo sea, the reverence of beholding a huge mountain and being humbled by it, the strange and erratic shapes of clouds in the robin egg sky, the feel of the breeze in the mountaintop as you stare down at the world below. It’s a wonderful feeling that such an astounding sight exists here in the Philippines, and it fills you with child-like wonder and child-like hope, that perhaps, many people will be able to see this view and enjoy the unique and diverse beauty only Philippines can offer.
And last but not the least, I like the whole team of Choose Philippines, especially my mentor, Sir Rhoel and Ms. Chari Villa. These people are very passionate for their cause, and they show it through their actions. They are dedicated to this mission of opening our eyes into the true wonders of our country we fail to appreciate because of our own personal problems.
Me and my mentor, Sir Rhoel Fernandez from Choose Philippines.
I earlier wrote about how social media affects the consciousness of the people when it comes to certain issue, and Choose Philippines is one of its positive sides wherein we can all unite and bring the beauty of our country for the world to see. Here in Choose, I learned to travel not just on my own fulfillment, but to share my experience and encourage countless others to experience the same happiness, the same thrill, the same excitement, and the same contentment I feel, the kind where you experience being truly proud of your race and your country.
Unraveling the mystery and the oddity that is the Philippines is a difficult task, but we can all start to understand our own kind through exploring, traveling and experiencing. And it starts with a positive attitude and bright optimism in the way we see the world. Slowly, we are not sure when and how, but surely, we can make the Philippines we have always wanted, the Philippines we aspire and choose it to be.