I used to think that being a tourist and a traveler were the same thing. They both go on the adventures, so why not? But I learned the difference during my trip to Sombrero Island.
This was my first experience as a “traveler”—and I had so much apprehension about it. It’s hard to rely on the goodness of humanity you grow skeptical of, living in the city. But what an experience it was living in Sombrero Island– Seeing the whole process of catching seafood, gutting it, and having it cooked by the Kap’s wife. Bringing your own balde of water for bath and flushing purposes. Becoming accustomed to that random salagubang resting on arms and legs and everything. Seeing a beautiful array of stars, the type I’d only seen in photos—It wasn’t comfortable, but it was worth it.
When I told them I was visiting, Kapitan Eman of Sombrero Island had built this house just for us! So we could have a home in Sombrero Island. There is absolutely no match for Filipino heart and hospitality in the whole world—which makes me proud to be Filipino.
But beyond the sights I’ve seen and the experiences I’ve had, nothing will compare to the people I’ve met, and they will forever be in my heart. Living in an island really put my city living into perspective. It was relaxing not having to face the responsibilities of reality, but at the same time, I realized this peaceful humdrum isn’t for me. But it gave me the idea that one day, when I’d achieve all my dreams, I would like to come back here to Sombrero Island, and just live out life in peace.
Love is the companion we all take with us; Love is the local that helps us on our way; Love is what we hope to find in our travels; and Love is what we bring home with us—Love for where we’ve been, for people we’ve met, and for who we’ve become.
This is what connects us all—the thirst for seas that we cannot drink and the art we make with what we take from it; seeing Love as the sky and sea kiss, slowly becoming one and the sun fades, reborn as little stars.
Sombrero Island changed the way I saw adventure. It is no longer this journey to unknown. It is a journey to find one’s self in places that are foreign, but will inevitably become familiar.
Because you know you can feel the Filipino spirit, kindness and love, find a family and home, wherever in the 7,107 islands you may go.