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WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A TRAVELLER FROM THE PHILIPPINES

November 6, 2016

The two most common questions I encounter when I travel are; “You’re from the Philippines? Why is your English so good?” and “You’re from the Philippines? Must be hard to get visas to other countries, eh?” Trust me, it’s a struggle.

I started travelling overseas without my family when I was 16. It’s hard to get past the immigration because they had a feeling I’d do illegal works, which was super funny because I’m not. I’m just a teensy tiny lass who wants to see more of the world.

At 18, I backpacked across Southeast Asia alone. That trip made me discover a whole lot of things about myself, about what it’s like to be independent, and what it’s like to live a life full of adventures and friendships from all around the world.

A photo of me and (R-L) Maik, Hong, Jack and Elise from our trip to Vietnam last June 2015.

I actually got off the wrong foot with travelling. I thought the immigration officer in Manila wouldn’t let me through because I actually had a one way ticket to Bangkok, Thailand last 2015. I mean, nobody could really tell me what it was like to go out alone because let’s be honest, not much people from the Philippines travel–let alone backpack in a different country alone. I’m not saying there’s none, all I’m saying is there’s not much…not people that I know personally, at least. I had no one to turn to for my travel questions except blogs that I’ve fancied and articles that I’ve read. So a one way ticket to another country isn’t the best option, I know that now. Also, I didn’t pre-book a hostel so I ended up homeless on the streets of Bangkok at 2AM. Which was a pretty scary thing for an 18 year old girl all alone. Though now that I think of it, I feel pretty bad ass about it.

“Why is your English so good?” is one of the most common questions I get asked often. I honestly don’t know how to answer this question. Should I go, “Uhm, maybe because our education system is in English?” or “Because most my family is in New York?” I don’t know. It’s a tough one, but I do get past it. It’s just funny and annoying at the same time how people think that because I’m from the Philippines, I wouldn’t know how to speak in English fluently. But I do get them, not much people know that Filipinos travel. So I want to make a mark and an impact in the travel blogging world and prove to them that Filipinos can do it too!

A photo of myself posing with the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore last February 2018.

“Filipinos must have a really hard time getting visas?” It’s true, but I’d like to think of it as a challenge. To be honest, my Canadian Visa Application got denied last summer. I just wanted to visit my boyfriend in Quebec, but since Filipinos have a very unstable reputation of illegally staying in other countries, other nice Filipinos who just want to travel, also suffer. I think that’s one of the struggles I’ve had since I own a Filipino Passport. I was so keen on going hiking in Canada and visiting Quebec City and Montreal but in the end, I got disappointed because of the bad reputation of my other countrymen.

It has its ups and downs, it’s true. But this passport has been to a lot of places and have shared a lot of memories with me, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I’m actually thinking of travelling to Australia + New Zealand next year. Backpacking, of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Also, I’m re-applying for a Canadian Visa, since my boyfriend is there and I’d love to visit him and his family.

A photo of me and Micah from our trip to Cambridge, Massachusetts last July 2016.

Having a Philippine Passport has its struggles, yes. The visa applications are crazy! Proving the consuls and the embassy officials of each country is such a nerve wrecking experience because you have to prove to them that you’ll come back to the Philippines. I mean, I don’t have much money since I’m only 20, but I do have a stable job, and my parents sometimes sponsor me, so I hope that they see that I just want to travel. Ha! But seriously though, being a Filipina in the travel world is quite scary. It makes me anxious sometimes. But of course, I’m taking it as a challenge and I’m not backing out.

A photo from my trip to Olongapo City last May 2016.

My passport has the same colour as my skin, and I think that’s beautiful. I’ll carry them both loud and proud, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

Luke 22:41-42 KJV

  • Reply
    Ivan Jose
    November 7, 2016 at 00:56

    Wow, one does learn so much in traveling. It’s really great to know how foreigners view Filipinos.

    • Reply
      Danica Tanjutco
      November 8, 2016 at 03:28

      That’s true! Actually, foreigner are quite fond of us and they like us as travel companions (well, at least in my case) since we’re innate generous and maasikaso. 😉

      • Reply
        Ivan Jose
        November 8, 2016 at 04:24

        So Pinoy hospitality goes beyond the four corners of our homes. At times, we may think that their (the foreigners) comments are racist. I believe it’s just come from their lack of knowledge of our culture. But they mean nothing and are just genuinely surprised when they realize things about Pinoys.

  • Reply
    Vanessa Baldueza
    January 20, 2017 at 18:22

    I hope I can travel like you Ate someday. I’m already 16, hindi ko pa kayang bumiyahe mag-isa papuntang malayong bayan haha

  • Reply
    Gias Pora
    February 19, 2017 at 14:56

    Good luck / enjoy your future trips!

  • Reply
    cchoyblog
    March 5, 2017 at 12:39

    This post is really good to motivate others o pack their things and start exploring the world. He he. Good luck on your travels! Thanks for sharing~

    • Reply
      Danica Tanjutco
      March 5, 2017 at 14:03

      Thank you so much, Choy! I’m glad you find this blog post inspiring. Don’t give up on your dreams and go see the world, it’s yours! Drop by anytime!

      • Reply
        cchoyblog
        March 7, 2017 at 23:11

        Sure!! I will see more of the world! you too, heeh ~thank you ~~

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