I’ve been traveling for almost three years. I watched the sun rise and set in over 30 islands and beaches in my country. Each province I’ve visited gave me a window into unique cultures, traditions, and stories from different walks of life. Traveling showed me the beauty of every town from Luzon to Mindanao.
These experiences made me realize that although we may be separated by the vastness of the ocean and challenging landscapes, Filipinos share common attributes – hospitality, kind-heartedness, and optimism. We may speak different dialects but we share compassion and a dedication to move forward in life. No matter what. This is the gift of being Filipino. You may be born and raised in America or Europe but being Filipino fuels your desire for adventure and discovery. You may be working or living in different parts of the world but the one thing I would tell any Filipino is to discover the Philippines. Pay tribute to your roots. Because it’s beautiful out here.
When I was younger, I used to want to be American or European because we were given the impression that they’re the most privileged, luckiest people in the world. But I’m glad that quickly dissipated. I’m glad that I’m me. Our country was blessed with astonishing nature, a colorful culture, captivating views, abundant resources, vast coastlines, and the enchanting tropical vibe that anyone would envy. I live on a piece of heaven on earth and after traveling extensively throughout my country, the Philippines, I believe that Filipino are the angels.
I’m a pure-blooded Filipino. I’m 50% Batangueña and 50% Cebuana. I get my sun-loving, adventurous nature from my Cebuana roots and my bravery and inner strength from Batangas. I’m a blend of two of the most stunning provinces and I’m proud of my origins. I embody the best of both cities – it’s like having lechon and drinking kapeng barako all at once! It is somewhat a weird combo but it’s unique and wonderful.
Discovering my country has given me a sense of pride. The more I explore, the more I realize that being Filipino is greater than anything else – I’m built from kindness, beauty, and courage and I get to see thousands of sunrises and sunsets from different corners of my own backyard.
Edss Tolentino works as a Visual Merchandiser for a retailer. She is an aspiring travel writer, adventure junkie and seeker of the unknown. Her goal is to explore all 7,641 islands of the Philippines and share its beauty with the world.
Filipino food for the day:
Lechon: roasted suckling pig; Filipino party staple and the
Kapeng Barako: coffee grown in Batangas, known for its strong taste, flavor, distinctly powerful aroma, prepared by French press or drip brewing. Best sweetened with muscovado sugar or condensed milk!