Priceless

Priceless

A two-cents worth on my short vacation in Ilocos and whatnot

By Jahzeel Dionne V. Ybasco

One of the perks of working hard in a good company is being able to travel to any place at any time and enjoy the experience. Naturally, the fatter your wallet gets the more freedom you have when you go on a trip. You don’t have to worry about the number of days you will spend in your destination, nor the budget you have for souvenirs and meals. All you have to worry about is the next pay day. Even that does not faze you because you know it is easy to get your money back.

After a long time, I felt this again. I felt the liberty a huge paycheck gives, and the satisfaction of exerting one’s effort and devoting one’s time in a company that gives back. A year ago, I experienced traveling to a famous tourist destination in the Philippines but not exactly enjoyed it due to the lack of resources. My previous workplace had a number of reasons—or I better say alibis–for deductions: taxes, absences, tardiness, delayed deductions, even computations that changed every year. Of course, I was not at all innocent. I have to say that going to that school was a pain and I intentionally went to school late. When my friends and I got to our destination, I found out that I only earned about twenty percent of my usual salary.

The place was breathtaking, every bit of it was a treasure to me. However, I did not feel any attachment to it despite the romantic view. It was a place meant for those people who wanted to feel good about their lives, but it only served as a reminder of a bad job I got myself into. I even asked myself if people only traveled to loosen up. What about those people who could go to places they wanted to go, spend their own money for the sake of exploring a place? It sounded all cheesy but then not everybody received two thousand pesos as a salary from their full time jobs so pardon me for the cheesiness.

This year, I told myself, it would be different. It would be one of the trips that I would always look back to. And it is.

I enjoyed a four-day vacation with Russell, our little gang, and some friends from a local TV station in Ilocos. We traveled from Pasay City to Ilocos via van; it not exactly the best way to travel to a far place considering the time we had but the journey was worthwhile and tolerable. We went to Calle Crisologo, a famous spot in Vigan. I would have enjoyed it more had there been few people around since the place gives off an aura of mystery in it. It was like being transported back in the era of the Spaniards.

Our next destination was Chavit Singson’s Baluarte. It was a zoo. That’s all there was to it. By the time we got there, it was only half-finished. It looked promising but what more can people actually look for in a zoo? I ended up pitying the tigers locked up in cages. But then again, I would pity myself more if they weren’t. It was good to see snakes slithering down the huge grassy lawn though unlike the ones children usually see in glass cages.

We got to the lighthouse too, a bell tower, Marcos’ Museum, Malacanang ti Amianan, and Paoay Church. The next day, we went to Bantay Abot Cave, Kapurpurawan Rock and Bangui Windmills. We were honored to take a look at the famous place where Fernando Poe Jr.’s Panday was shot.

The best part of the trip for me was swimming in Pagudpud where I was strongly tempted to try the Hannah Zipline which is the longest one in Asia. However, I had to argue with myself: nobody works so hard to spend a two-day earning on a zipline that lasts for two minutes, right? I only settled myself in swimming in the beach with my sun and stars. The experience was reminiscent of the Palawan one, when we had to settle our minute differences.

Getting back to my work place was almost difficult because I wished the trip could have lasted longer. What made it worse was when I saw my used-to-be-untarnished record marked with a very low percentage—the payment of not working for three days. I had a good surprise though when I got my pay slip: my pay was not as low as I expected it to be. It was…fair. There was a huge difference between that and what I usually get with complete attendance and good track record. But then again, the experience of going to a place cannot be paid and my salary deductions seem pretty low compared to what I get back. It was priceless.

Other people see going on a trip as an excuse to unwind, to lessen the stress they get from work. I have to admit that I also feel that way from time to time. This trip to Ilocos has given me a new perspective. There are three things I am grateful for: I can enjoy my trips because I have a job, I love my job even more, and my passion for traveling my country gets stronger. I realized the Philippines is too big for me and I have got to earn more money to explore it.

Those, ladies and gentlemen, encourage a person to work harder.

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