Nothing in my bedroom has been moved. It has been the same since I left almost two months ago. The familiar pink sheets covering my single-sized bed in the corner of the room.Ironed clothes left stacking on the table. Floor slightly dusty then it used to be.Now there is a new addition to the room - my suitcase of 17 kg. The luggage is full of souvenirs and foul-smell t-shirts. It is a reminder that I was some-place foreign and now I am back to my "home". I placed my sim card into my local number and hardly a miscall or incoming text. It didn't matter, my friends and I stay connected through Facebook or Whatsapp. The room felt bigger than the entire house in Quezon City - because I didn't need to share it with eight others.
The next day I decided to unpack my bag. Unlock the suitcase and I unexpectedly felt the air of Philippines being released. I paused . It feels so sentimental during that moment. Then I turned my luggage upside down and everything filled up the floor. So many little things ready to be filtered through ranging from toiletries, receipts from shopping trips to name cards of Rotary Club member. I took a nearby pink basket and just threw all the souvenir there. It may not seem much but I put so much thought in every single one of it. The basket is now filled with variety of jewellery, boxes of krinkles and polvoron along side with first day cover for my father and Cebu t-shirts for my brothers.
My hands grabbed a necklace I bought from Kultura. Its a shop that sells local made items targeted for tourist in general.Its in most shopping malls. I went to one of the SM Malls but I can't remember which one. There are so many SM Malls in the Philippines. My friend brought me to one of it. The \ necklace made of blue rocks with a matching blue bracelet was perfect for my mother. I gave her the set and she asked me, " so what did you buy for yourself?".
To be honest, I didn't buy anything from Philippines for myself. There was nothing there that I could not get here in Malaysia. It was as if globalization made sure that all Asian countries look the same but I can assure you Philippines is not the same as Malaysia. My souvenir was the experience of being there. Something that money could not buy. I had a glimpse of the Pinoy culture first class all the way. I didn't need a refrigerator magnet or branded t-shirts to remind me of it all. My camera is full of pictures. Hundreds of photographs reflecting experience that are truly special to me.
While unpacking the bag, I realized what kind of traveller I truly am inside. I don't enjoy nature as much as I thought I did. I love street markets and bustling city areas. I like eating cake with live music by the side. My heart longs to bargain for the best price. In my spare time, I wouldn't mind visiting a volcano or heading to the beach but I just love lively places with lots of people!
If you have just got back from holiday, don't take so long to unpack and get all sentimental with the "holiday". I think that people should realize a holiday is a good break and also a place to find inspiration. Go through all your thoughts and finds elements from your holiday. Use it in your present reality and just start everything fresh.
This is how much I have spent on the entire 6 weeks trip in the Philippines:
Program Fees under AIESEC - RM 400
Flight Ticket from Penang to Manila (two way) - RM 800
Visa -RM 250
House Rental - RM 600
Spending Money (food, day trips, transportation, souvenir)- RM 1,500
Total : RM 3,550