A classroom teacher like me has many tasks to accomplish. From writing lessons plans and preparing instructional materials late at night up to conducting closing exercises, there is a need to relax. However, there are some school and community activities during summertime that I need to do or to attend due to the exigency of service. Since I started my teaching career, I often explore the Internet world and do surfing there sans the water and surfboard. I am contented on watching videos of summer destinations here and abroad. I want to get a real vacation, but I have been studying for my Master’s degree for almost four years. I used to stay in my house and go to the beach in our barangay, do house chores and go to the beach, taking siesta in my house and go to the beach until a “miracle” happened last first day of May.
During the last week of April, my sister, who teaches in high school of the other barangay, asked me and other family members if we want to join their outing scheduled May 1. At first, my parents were hesitant to join because of money. My sister and I solved this problem by sharing the expenses. I put in my mind that there is a lot of time earning money, but having precious moments with family is rare.
I got more excited as I heard our itinerary. I grabbed the opportunity because we are going to travel during Labor Day. The day is created for me. Thus, I need to use it to reward my family and myself. For us, Pangasinan people, we observe Pistay Dayat on May 1st which is we celebrate the day by going to the beach. This time, we spent the day not just only in the water but in land and in the air.
The day came and we packed up stuff and sumptuous meals for our trip. I brought my camera to have a new focus and to capture memories. We rented two vans and left our place at five o’ clock in the morning. We reached our first destination at nine o’ clock, Goshen Resort. The place is nestled in the highlands of Bamban, Tarlac. What amazed us is the Roman- inspired infrastructures built there. We strolled in the area as if we are Romans. We enjoyed taking pictures with statues of soldiers, and between and behind the columns. We also passed by the bridge, which has fountains of water in left and right sides. The place is breathtaking and there is a panoramic, mountainous view if you go to upper part of auditorium. We wanted to try the pools there, but we opted to stay for an hour and went to our next destination.
Nayong Pilipino was next which is located at Clark Expo. We reached the place at ten o’clock. We had our tour guide who gave us various information about the tourist site. We started the tour by tracing our roots as we were reintroduced to Malakas and Maganda who are said to be the first persons who lived in our country based on a myth. We also toured in the versions of several villages of our indigenous people. We stepped on the grounds of Ifugao and Kalinga villages wherein we learned several things about houses and traditions of the people. We also had a chance to talk with the Aetas in the Aeta village there. We bought souvenirs made of bamboo like coin banks. Others tried to test their accuracy using bow and arrow.
Barasoain Church? It looks like the famous one but it is only a replica of the church where former presidents Emilio Aguinaldo and Joseph Estrada took there oath. Aside from being an attraction, it holds masses. On the other hand, we did not miss the chance to buy mementos in the souvenir shops operating there. There are many “pasalubong” to choose from keychains, board games, t- shirts and many more. Name it, they have it.
As we were waiting for a theatrical performance slated at 1:30 in the afternoon, some rested and ate halo-halo to beat the summer heat. Meanwhile, my family and I continued the tour. Our feet brought us inside the Philippine Money Museum. There, we saw displays entailing the long history of using currency in the country. After the short walk in the museum, I understood the value of our money was beyond its value in the market. It depicts our culture, our heritage. Next time that you are holding a paper bill or a coin, you should use it with cleanliness and pride. I am just sharing this sentiment as I tried to receive paper bills with writings and torn parts.
The doors of the theater were opened and I immediately rushed to get inside and to sit in front. I really love theatrical performances as I tried to join one in my college days. I also became the play director during those times. That designation is the onset of my love anything about theater arts. I was agog at that moment when I saw the stage. While waiting for the performance to start, I can’t help but to take pictures of the interior of the building as it is constructed with use of sawali for the walls. Some lights, which are covered with capiz, are placed on the background of the stage. The place is very Filipino- themed.
I can say that the theatrical performance was the highlight of our visit. We were able to hear folk songs beautifully rendered by the theater music group. We witnessed stellar performances of the stage performers wearing national and tribal costumes. It was enjoyable to watch Singkil, Maglalatik, Sayaw sa Bangko and other dances that are usually performed during the commemoration of Buwan ng Wika. When the show ended, we took photos with the performers.
Our fellows called the tour as “sulit”. We felt pride in being Filipinos. We wished that our students could have the chance to visit the 6.5- hectare tourist site. The place allowed me to experience the Philippines in just a short walk. Indeed, it was a historical and educational trip a “Pinoy” should not miss in his lifetime. We left the area at three.
We traveled more than hour to cap our journey. We went to Sky Ranch Pampanga which is located at SM Pampanga grounds. We had a difficult time finding a place for parking as there were many cars there before we came. The sun was still shining mightily when we arrived, so we decided to go first to the mall. We chilled out in a fast food chain then we went in some stores. After an hour, we left the mall with excitement seen our faces especially the kids we had in our trip.
There was already a sea of people in the amusement park when we were buying our tickets. My siblings and I tried the Pampanga Eye. Well, it was my second time to ride in a ferris wheel. I still felt scared, but I acted as if I was brave to look down. In the first part, we were teasing each other who feels nervous. We kept quiet when we were in the highest altitude of the ride. Eventually, our nervousness subsided as our turn came to end. After that, we played some games there. My sister and her colleagues took the Drop Tower challenge. My younger brother joined them, but I refused. I tried that similar type of that ride before and I promised to myself not to repeat anymore.
I volunteered as a cameraman. I was just laughing all the time watching them being dragged and lifted in the air. I heard their boisterous screams and I saw their restless feet when they were taking the ride. I congratulated them for being brave.
The place glowed as the lights of the rides were lit up at six. It was a happy scene as families and friends savoring what the amusement park offers. We stayed in the area until seven then returned inside the mall to eat. We went home at eight.
I thanked God for giving that wonderful trip. It is one of the joyous and unforgettable trips I ever had. It was atypical. It was educational. It was magical.
A teacher should not be confined inside the classroom. He must go out and experience life for him to share concrete and direct experiences to his learners. After all, experience is the best teacher. I am happy to be that one.