The prospect of going to another country for the third time might seem less exciting. Of course, the first jitters of travelling to a new country is no longer there. My first visit to the country was as a tourist in June of 2008. It was the second country we visited via the credit cooperative of DLSU. The second time was as an emissary of the school and companion to then DLSZ President Br. Dennis Magbanua and then Cultural Arts Director, Ms. Lani Maderazo. Having been to a place twice would seem like you've seen it all and that it has nothing new to offer anymore. However this was not what I felt on my third trip to South Korea. I still had the jitters for, believe it or not, it will set several milestones for me.
1. This is the first time I am going to experience real winter. In all my trips to Canada, (I have been there four times) it hhas always been spring time. That is because vacation time in the Philippines falls on that lovely season. I cannot complain. Spring for me is the best season the northern hemisphere has to offer. My last visit was in 2012 when I was (lucky me) gifted by my niece, Rommella Moss, who is now a councilor in that little paradise known as Kaslo with yet another tour of BC but (even luckier me) only after I have made a trip to LA and San Francisco with that harrowing experience at the airport enroute to Canada. In all these times, my chilling experience was only in the higher than 0 degrees temperature. My first winter and experience below zero was in Beijing in 2010 with Nitz, my two daughters, Kuya Ben with his wif, Ate Lilia and their son, Jan, Gregor and Leslie. The coldest was at minus 2 and it was only late November. So there was no snow yet.
2. This is the first time I will not be using a tour guide and commuting in an unknown city. All throughout my travel, I have been pickedup from the airport and has been toured either by a friend who resides in the area and driving a car or by an official tourist guide. This time, we only have Kim's friend, Kaite and her boyfriend, Evgeny who is a Russian born Korean, who are both in the country on a study grant.
This is the first time that instead of being picked up at the airport by a car, we are riding the train. There are many airports where you can ride a train to the city. There's Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and other cool destinations. Not in Manila though. Maybe if and when we transfer the airport to, say, Clark. But that would be a long time coming.
3. Most of all, this is the first time we are traveling as a family. While we have made trips abroad individually, and that I have traveled with my wife alone and with our two daughters, this is the first time that my sons are joining us on a tour. This is really what made this trip special. Not every family has experienced traveling as one. We have been blessed and we are taking this blessing and enjoy it while we can. Soon, the children will have their own family and it will be just me and my wife, the same way when we started. I am just happy that we were able to do this and hoping this is not going to be the last time.