Before I stepped off of the plane and entered the world of the Philippines, I was scared. Everyone asked me why I chose this country, and after reading recent articles and government warnings, I was starting to ask myself the same question. Every week I was getting updated travel warnings from the U.S. Department of State reminding me just how dangerous the country I planned to vacation was. Tsunamis, terrorists, attacks targeting foreigners, etc. My friends and family wouldn’t let me forget that I was a 19 year old female traveling to a third-world country alone, and “there are bad people out there” and “you never know what can happen” where constants in my conversations before I left.
Well, my vacation in the Philippines is over, and I’m still alive. In fact, I’m more alive than ever before! Traveling through Manila, Caticlan, Boracay, Ilo Ilo City, and Northern Palawan, not once did I ever feel that I was in a dangerous place. Never in my life have I ever met such outgoing and genuinely happy people! The people of the Philippines have something that most people in the world are missing, and that is joy. Not the kind of joy one gets from a new flat screen TV or latest Iphone, but real joy. The kind that comes from the love of one another, and the interest in each other . Sure, the Philippines has some pretty places, but the people who live there truly make the place beautiful.