The travel that is better than checking off a bucket list destination

My parents put off their travel dreams to raise our family. Working overseas as nurses, they already had the means to go on a European tour – in fact, their friends and colleagues were already going and were inviting them. Instead, my parents used that money to put down roots in their home country, the Philippines, raise a family, and start a small business, which they spent significant decades of their lives on.

Occasionally we would have a family beach trip a few hours away, but never too far. And so when I mapped out the itinerary for our first family trip via plane – to Palawan, a bucket list destination for many and for us in the family, too – I was excited.

Traveling with them, especially as I saw my parents gamely trying snorkeling for the first time, was a happiness unlike any other. It’s one thing to finally set foot on a place you have dreamed about yourself; it is quite another to see it with loved ones, especially when you are experiencing it all together for the first time like wide-eyed children. And also when you know they deserve this trip after all the hard work and sacrifices they made all through the years. My father would get up at 3 am six days a week to buy fresh produce in the market for re-selling, and my mother would continue selling in the early afternoon until evening. This humble business was what put me and my brothers through school.

coron lagoon family

Our family – and my parents! – gamely snorkeling in Coron, Palawan

Batanes was another memorable experience, for this was where my parents met and fell in love as nurses on a six-month assignment decades ago. I had opportunities to travel to Batanes, but I waited for my parents to be ready. And how happy I was that I did! I was able to have two rich experiences of Batanes’ beauty – first, through my own eyes, and second, through my parents’ eyes as they explored places familiar and unfamiliar. It was a thrill watching their eyes light up at the old and new.

I was able to travel again to Batanes twice for work, and I thoroughly enjoyed those trips, but I am glad that my first time was with my parents.

Batanes, Racuh a Payaman, sea, hills, sky, family trip

Batanes with my family. This is where their love story began over 40 years ago.

I am also happy for my parents as they have started going off on trips on their own. First, I helped them with the planning, preparing itineraries, and booking flights and accommodations for them.  Recently, they have started joining their friends in group tours. And they seemed to having immense fun!

They are already in fact talking about traveling again in the coming years! It is clearer all the more now where I got my spirit for adventure.

parents in singapore

My parents in Singapore. Later, they would be joined by friends as they tour Vietnam and Thailand together.

Now, with new additions to the family – a cute and adorable nephew! – we cannot go far as a family just yet, but we have had nice family dinners and a beach trip nearby. Lately, I have been appreciating family time, whether in adventures near or far. Family time is still family time, after all.


Family beach trip in Calatagan, Batangas just this last summer

These travel memories came up for me as I watched this heartwarming video on a different kind of travel dream. A simple yet beautiful message. Check it out for yourself below.


You can book flights at too and #daretodream. Here’s to happy and memorable family trips!

6 thoughts on “The travel that is better than checking off a bucket list destination

  1. This is such a sweet post! The progression from intense parental love and sacrifice, to a first family trip together, and on to your parents’ newfound joy in travel themselves is completely heartwarming. May they and you all have many more years to travel together!

  2. I started reading your posts because I love traveling in the Philippines. I find them enjoyable for the information but particularly because I like your writing style. This is my favorite so far.

    • Wow. Thank you for the kind words. I occasionally write reflective pieces like this every year. You can check out more in my archives. Thanks again! 🙂

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