My flight from Dulles Int'l Airport to Manila via Incheon, Korea was long and exhausting beyond description. While on the plane, I had mixed feelings. There's an immeasurable difference in the way of life in the US and in the Philippines. I wondered what it would be like. Would I feel like stranger in my home? Would things still be the same? Would I want to come back to the US? With all of these thoughts rumbling around in my head, I began to think that maybe going home at this time wasn’t such a good idea. I am adapted to American life already….better not to mess up the cycle. But I also missed home, my families and friends...
I got here in Gen. Santos last Sept. 16 after a 23-hour flight, and 36 hours without sleep. I spent my first 5 days sleeping during the day and staying awake at night. It was on my second week here that I started meeting and going out with friends to parties and other gatherings like concert, birthdays, anniversaries, fiesta, etc. It's just about a week ago that my body clock got adjusted to the new time.
So going back to the whole experience… in less than a month I was exposed to different faces of my country. Just as soon as I got here in Gensan, the devastating trpoical storm Ondoy hit Manila and other provinces in Luzon that took many lives and left hundreds of family homeless and hungry. In my hometown specifically, I noticed so many changes in less than 2 years that I was away. What used to be a dusty big track of vacant land where that used to be parking places for many churhgoers (including me ) is now a very nice park, the Plaza Heneral Santos. A new huge mall just opened last October 5. There are 3 big malls in Gensan just a block or two away from each other that traffic in that part of the city became so bad especially during rush hours, it is so frustrating that driving is becoming an ordeal. also I noticed that city population have increased dramatically. Cost of everything have also gone high so fast and yet salaries and wages didn't increase that much. Price of gas is surprisingly almost the same as in the US which left some questions in my mind that I'd rather not talk about here.
Since I got home, I played golf as much as I can because I know when I go back to the US, it would be winter and I won't be able to play until second week of April next year. I had been to white beaches in Gumasa, Glan Sarangani a couple of times. It's really beautiful there with it's white sand and gorgeous sunset. If you are looking for peace and quiet while enjoying the beach, the sun and white sand, this is the place to be...All these ALMOST COST NOTHING!!!
Just to conclude, the experience so far has been challenging, exciting, and self realizing experience, with all the needed ingredients to call it “vacation”, where for me many things are new and different, making me feel like a foreigner or stranger in my own hometown and all these changes just taking place in less than two years.