Going Back to the Motherlands

I am finally back home from my Philippines trip! Guys, my sleep schedule is out of order...I didn't even unpack yet, I literally have to take a post-work nap and my life is just really whacky right now!

This was my second time coming to the Philippines since 2001 and I must say this time around was a whole different experience. I visited three different, very diverse areas in the Philippines and places outside of my norm. I knew what to expect because I've been there when I was younger, but I really put myself in their shoes this time. I can say that I cherished every bit of it, valued a lot of what happened and it was well worth the trip!

Here's just a glimpse of where I went. Not only was the flight from Washington, DC to Korea—14 freaking hours + another four hours to Manila, but going to Manaoag was another five hours (something like that, ha) and same with traveling to Marinduque! Read below for the full story.

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Day 1-2

This was traveling day! Mind you—my mom and I were traveling twelve hours ahead of time, but the traveling in general was much longer than that. Korean Air did it up for an economy seat, lol. I had a blanket, slippers, three meals, drinks every hour and they had all the latest movies. I watched about five movies going there and back! But one thing for sure: I am soo tired of eating Korean food. I don't even have a taste for Korean anything right now.

Day 3-4

I guess this was already night time close to midnight and technically day three, but I arrived in Manila, then went to my aunt's condo in Makati. For those who don't know, Makati is an up-and-coming city, lots of tall buildings, startups, big malls...very big on entertainment and on the multicultural scene. They were even building a Trump Tower in Makati—like why!? It was a very beautiful city, but my mom, aunt, cousin and I had to leave to catch the ferry for Marinduque.

Now, fast forward to the ferry when we were approaching Marinduque.... Let me just say I did a bit of research because I didn't know what my mom was talking about. But this island is literally in the center of the Philippines. It's heart-shaped and the natives there are very religious and high-spirited—Catholicism is big there. Anywho, this backstory to this island was sort of like your Romeo and Juliet tale. Two lovers Marina and Garduk fell in love and went out to sea and drowned together for their forbidden love. Then an island was was formed in place of where they died. Yeah...lol. 

During Holy Week, many tourists travel there to celebrate Lent.  Natives re-enact the walk of Jesus carrying the cross and it's widely celebrated in every town on that island. Here are some pics from when I arrived.

Day 4-6

I'm guesstimating my days at this point, lol. But blogging this in the order I remember. The day I arrived in Marinduque it was already morning. Sun up and everything. My mom and I actually visited Marinduque because it was the first year anniversary of the temple that my family built last year. It was a very small temple in the town of Gasan, which you can see below. We had lots of food too!

The second night at Marinduque, my mom set me up ya'll. She made me join this Miss Marinduque pageant to represent one of my cousins. SHE SET ME UP YA'LL, lol. I was not ready and didn't even want to do it. Just know that it was fun and I got to do my little pageant walk and get escorted ahaha.

The next day I went to the town market and snapped some pics. Pretty cool! Oh and the animals are errrywhere. Like backyard chillin' errywhere.

Later that evening, we were greeted with a welcoming celebration as part of the island's tradition...the women natives honor guests with “putong," which means to crown and is a song of thanksgiving, hope and prayer for a long, blessed life. The men then serenade the single women, lol, in what is called "harana." At night in front of a nipa hut, the men would sing songs that were about love. This was an actual ritual back in the day for men to court women.

P.S. Please excuse my sweatiness.

Day 7-10

The island hopping + swimming officially begins! If you followed my Snapchat or Instagram, then you saw how I was chillin' in the middle of the sea. It was still so fun!

Marinduque is the main island, then there were mini islands around it. I first visited Tres Reyes Island better known as the Three Kings Islands that represented Gaspar, Melchor and Baltazar. Because Marinduque is such a conservative place, I couldn't rock any bikinis and show a lot of skin, hence the outfits worn. Did I say how beautiful the water was? It was so clear, temperature was perfect and the waves were so calm and soothing.

The following day we went to Santa Cruz and then another island which is practically hidden during hide tide called Maniwaya Island. I didn't take a lot of pics because I was too busy enjoying it!

Day 11-14


After Marinduque, I traveled back to Makati because I got invited to the Canva headquarters! This whole time I thought they were located in the U.S., but they are based in Sydney and Makati. 

Special shoutout to Kate and Kei for reading my blog and making this happen! Canva was LOVE! I absolutely loved the work culture and startup vibe. Everyone was so welcoming and chill. If you saw my Snapchat, then you saw the behind-the-scenes footage. Carla and I were going a little cray cray, lol. They had amazing murals all throughout the office and the overall visit was very much appreciated and fun!

Soon after the visit, my cousin Carla and I parted ways and I went to my parent's hometown in Pangasinan to visit the rest of our family and home (my parent's home)! I honestly didn't take many pics and was drained at this point. But I also got to visit the Basilica in Manaoag, which is another big tourist spot in Philippines. See below.

Like I mentioned earlier, I barely took any photos at this point of my trip...but you CANNOT leave the Philippines without stopping by Jolibee! I had the spaghetti. What do you know about that banana ketchup though, lol?!

ExploreCatherine Llamido