Wednesday, February 29, 2012

No Alone Time in Cagayan de Oro—But that’s OK

As I promised in Facebook, my first travel post is on the southern city of Cagayan de Oro—CDO. My day job involves periods where I stay in key cities of the archipelago. To say that I love my work is an understatement—where else can I get paid to travel?

CDO, the provincial capital city of Misamis Oriental province is strategically located—it sits right at the center in the northern coastline of Mindanao, one of three major island groups of the Philippines, facing the Visayas islands. Locals swear by the peace and order in the city, where tourists rub elbows with the mixed Christian and Muslim population. Last December, the city was battered by typhoon Sendong, triggering flash floods and landslides and leaving around 500 fatalities. An acquaintance told us he lost his house to the deluge. Fortunately for us, the city is in the mend.

I have been to the CDO a few times, but this is the first time I’ll be staying in Lim Ket Kai Center, located at the heart of CDO. We checked-in at Mallberry Suites Hotel, its lobby crawling with people. I thought it must be because of Valentines, but the succeeding nights proved the same. The hotel is walking distance from Rosario Strip, which hosts a string of cafes and dining establishments, one of which I was hoping I could stay in for an hour or two. But alas—alone time would have to wait for another time, and like any well-adapted introvert blessed with company, I had to make do. Thankfully, National Geographic magazine allowed me minutes lost in its pages.

On our second night, I’m glad our host picked the French-Mediterranean restaurant La Vetta (Italian for mountain peak) for our after-dinner get-together. This is my second time in the restaurant, which is located at Rosario Strip LimKetKai Center.

I'll post more in my next entry.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Coming to Grips: Introversion and Travel

It was my first domestic travel to a bustling, cosmopolitan city south of Manila. I was with my friends, one of whom has a sister who played host and driver. We had our fill of lechon and fresh seafood, and a free pass to an exclusive, white-sand beach resort. I should be having the time of my life, but inside I felt I was choking.

All these years I wondered what was wrong with me.

It was not until recently, after reading materials online, that I came to fully realize that I’m an introvert, and that introverts enjoy travel differently from extroverts who make up the majority.

Introverts are described as “people whose energy tends to expand through reflection and dwindle during interaction,” and “often take pleasure in solitary activities.” Introversion is also different from shyness. Although I prefer to be alone, I’m not afraid to engage if the situation calls for it. Just don’t expect me to do small talk.

This explains why, when traveling with others, I go bonkers unless I carve out some alone time, just chilling. My companions would usually chance upon me in the hotel lobby at odd hours, with a margarita in hand, or they’d see posted in Facebook the pictures of food I ate from my solitary jaunts. I also enjoy the company of few, select friends, and from time to time I do the odd zipline or two.

In a few weeks I’ll be taking out my red luggage from storage. I haven’t mapped out where I’d go during the after-hours, but I know where my path to happiness is.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

First things first—an introduction

This is not my first go at creating a blog. Scattered in the nether regions of the internet are my stillborn attempts to join the already crowded blogosphere. What makes this blog fresh is that it presents a relatively new perspective—that of the introverted Pinoy traveler.

I’ve struggled with being an innie all my life. Recently I’ve been told by well-meaning friends—all extroverts and aghast at my non-existent love life—to be more “out” there. They think that with a little more effort, I can be coupled, happy, and normal. But I’m happy just as I am. I’m not saying I’m discounting the thrills of being with someone, yet for now I’m content.

And for the very first time I’m not embarrassed to say I like to travel alone. I love my friends dearly, but sometimes all I need is to sip coffee by the sidewalk, watching the world go by, lost in my thoughts.