Philippines Travel Diaries Part 3:Mactan (where I was tricked into quitting my job)#lifechangingtrip

21st Aug 2018
Photo of Philippines Travel Diaries Part 3:Mactan (where I was tricked into quitting my job)#lifechangingtrip 1/2 by Nancy Johri

Yes, I left my job after I returned from Mactan. A job to which I gave five precious years of my life; a job I was in love with. All this because of my last stop in the Philippines- Mactan. Earlier, quotes like “Quit your job. Travel the world.” or “Leave your job. Get a plane ticket. Never return.” on social media made me laugh because I used to think that something like that is definitely ‘made up’ or ‘impossible’. Who even thinks of leaving a stable job that promises a regular income just to see the world? Well, not me for sure. But after meeting a 21-year old girl, who was working at a beach resort in Mactan, I was absolutely confident of resigning from my job and the 9 to 5 world (along with the lucrative benefits that come handy) after contributing a total of nearly nine years to it.

I have been travelling regularly for nearly four years now. But sometimes, balancing my full-time job and monthly trips used to become so tough that I found myself stuck. I was not in a position to leave any one of these.

So, what exactly happened in Mactan? And who was that girl? What did she tell me? How she tricked me into leaving my job? Read on to know my story…

It was my last day in the Philippines. I kept that day to just chill and not move a muscle. I asked my hotel receptionist about the nearby beaches. She gave me a lot of options and mystically, I chose to go to Mactan. She told me that there are private beaches where I can go by paying the entry fee. She suggested that Karancho Beach Resort is a good option and it is not far from the airport as well (I had a flight to catch to Delhi).

Karancho Beach Resort

Photo of Philippines Travel Diaries Part 3:Mactan (where I was tricked into quitting my job)#lifechangingtrip 2/2 by Nancy Johri

As soon as I entered, the receptionist told me to have a look at the resort and beach so that I can decide whether I would be willing to pay the entry charges and stay. I saw a lot of parties going on. There were stags, families and couples. The turquoise water and white sandy shore were getting accentuated at the strip of the beach belonging to the resort. I could see the clear seawater, kids making sand castles (or whatever), girls basking in the sun and lovebirds holding hands sitting on the shore. Getting good vibes from the place, I went back to the reception to make the payment.

Photo of Philippines Travel Diaries Part 3:Mactan (where I was tricked into quitting my job)#lifechangingtrip by Nancy Johri

After clicking beautiful pictures of the place, I sat down at one of the shacks. The girl, who was working there, came to me and asked me do I need something. But before that, her first question (as expected) was “Hello. Is there somebody with you? Do you want anything?” “Hi. No, I am alone. Do you serve vegetarian food?” I asked.

She: No, we don’t. But you can order from a nearby pizza store.

Me: Wow!! Do they really have vegetarian pizzas? (Probably, it was my lucky day.)

She: Of course. Their pizzas are very delicious. You can have a look at their menu.

Me: I want this. Can you order this for me?

She: Definitely. Would you like some beer? Red Horse and San Miguel are the best ones in the Philippines. You should definitely try these.

Me: Okay, maybe later. So, what’s your name? Do you work here? You seem to be a college going girl.

She: My name is Mary. I am a full-time employee here. Yeah, I should be going to college but that’s simply not possible. I don’t have the required money and the documents that are needed for admissions. What are you studying? And why aren’t you travelling with your boyfriend?

Me: I am not studying anything as of now but I would like to do PhD in near future. Right now, I am travelling solo because I love to spend time with myself (uggh!! I was pissed off with this boyfriend thing wherever I was travelling in the Philippines). Do you also travel?

Mary: I wish, but I can’t do so. I am working so that I can go to college one day. And I asked you about your boyfriend because here, even 15-year old girls are in a romantic relationship. They get pregnant at an early age, leave their studies, get married, and raise their baby. Does something like this exist in your country as well?

Me: Oh, that’s very bad. The girl’s family doesn’t have a say in this? And in India, marriage is a very complex thing. There are a lot of factors involved. And sometimes, even love is not enough to keep two persons together. Anyway, so you have a boyfriend?

Mary: Me? No, not at all. I think that’s wastage of time and efforts at this stage. Right now, I just want to find out ways to get admission in a good college. I am working hard and saving all the money in my piggy bank. That is my only focus right now.

There was a guy who used to like me a lot. He told my cousin about it and she conveyed his message to me. But I simply refused his proposal because I have different priorities at present. And I have to do everything alone.

Me: Why alone? Where is your family? Aren’t they supportive?

Mary: Supportive? Hahaha. You know my mother cheated on me. She betrayed me. And my father, who is no more in this world, used to tell me daily that I cannot be his daughter. Anyway, I want you to go to the beach now. See, the sun is going to set any moment now and it’s very beautiful at this time of the day. I know you have a lot of questions in your mind. I will answer everything. But right now, just go to the beach and enjoy your vacation.

I agreed. Not because I was interested in looking at the sunset, but because I wanted to give her alone time. So, I went to the beach and enter inside the water until my knees were soaked. Looking at the horizon where the sky and ocean met, I was thinking about Mary. I was impressed by her bravery, maturity and wisdom at this age. She knew what exactly she has to do. And most importantly, she was doing it against all the odds. For how many people can you say that? Are you doing what you really want to do? Have you even taken the first step yet?

Photo of Philippines Travel Diaries Part 3:Mactan (where I was tricked into quitting my job)#lifechangingtrip by Nancy Johri

Suddenly, I noticed that there was a couple nearby who had found a starfish. I was intrigued. For the first time in my life, I was looking at a starfish that was real and moving slowly in water as well. I was super-excited but I was scared to touch it at first. But then, both of them, Pat and Denny, told me that I can hold it as well for a second and it won’t harm me. Gathering courage and completely unaware of its behavior, I held the fish in my hand. Oh God, it was a real beauty!! Pat took out some kind of plant from inside the water and fed it (I couldn’t figure out where its mouth was). They told me that feeding a starfish brings good luck. After that, we all said goodbye to the tiny creature and I went back to Mary. She was playing with a little dog.

Photo of Philippines Travel Diaries Part 3:Mactan (where I was tricked into quitting my job)#lifechangingtrip by Nancy Johri

Me: Hey, who is this cute buddy?

Mary: Say hi to Igme, the owner’s dog. Anyway, are you eager to know what happened next?

Me: Yes, if talking about it doesn’t hurt you.

Mary: No, that’s fine. So one day, my mother told me that she will get all my certificates made that are required for admissions to a university. She said that she has to go to Manila for that purpose, and asked me for money to get everything done. I was so happy that finally, I will be studying. I told everyone here that I would be leaving my job to join a college. So, I gave her the money and waited anxiously. After one week when I asked her about my certificates, she told me that she had spent all my savings on shopping and gambling. I was shattered; I cried ruthlessly for days. But I accepted the circumstances because she is my mother. I don’t blame her. I again started to save.

Me: Oh God!! That must have been so hard on you. I can’t even imagine your pain. And what about your father?

Mary: My father was an alcoholic, but he didn’t die because of that. He had a heart attack. He was unhappy with me and never accepted me as his daughter his whole life. But the day when he was on his deathbed and we all siblings were together, he called me his daughter. I felt good and bad at the same time.

Me: You have a very painful past and a difficult present. What keeps you going?

Mary: It’s just that I am not afraid to dream. I still dream of a good future for myself, my siblings and mother. I am working here so that I can fulfil my dream of going to a college one day. I don’t think complaining and blaming would help. So, I am just putting my efforts into what I want. And to think of it in a broader sense, it’s not that difficult. I think that making excuses to not run after one’s dream turns out to be far more lethal in the long run. I don’t want to regret by thinking at a later stage that there was something that I could do ten years ago.

Me: Wow!! You are an inspiration. Would you mind if I take your photograph? Can we be connected in some way? I will be your travel buddy if you ever come to India.

Mary: Nancy, I am a very shy person. I am not comfortable getting clicked. But yes, we can be connected via Facebook, although I am not active on that. But keep me updated about your travel adventures.

While I was about to leave for the airport, she showed me her piggy bank that was a simple cardboard shoebox. I offered her financial help for her studies which she straightaway refused. She said, “I am confident about myself. I know I can do it.” Woah!! So much of wisdom and strength coming from a little girl!! And then I left after hugging her and giving my blessings.

I kept on thinking about her my whole way, even after reaching the airport. Suddenly, I got a call from my closest friend. I can’t really explain what came over me at that moment and I just said, “I will resign after coming back. I should focus on travelling because that’s what I want to do.”

So, I did what I promised myself. All I knew was that I have to make it work because that is going to help me grow. Luckily, things are falling into place. “What you seek is seeking you.” is gradually coming true for me. And the amount of freedom this decision has brought me is incomparable.

I always think that our mind has been designed by the external factors to lead a ‘luxurious’ life, but nobody emphasises on the fact that living a ‘happy’ life is more important. I am not against the job culture; I myself have been a part of it. But if your heart tells you to travel or pursue something else for which your heart really beats, then start doing that from now onwards. Don’t delay it because “This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.” I was fortunate that I went to Mactan (which was a total random plan) and met this amazing girl who has put some sense into my brain. I really hope that you too encounter such unexpected circumstances that give you the twist you are looking for.

Photo of Philippines Travel Diaries Part 3:Mactan (where I was tricked into quitting my job)#lifechangingtrip by Nancy Johri

And as Mary Louise Alcott put it, “I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.”

Photo of Philippines Travel Diaries Part 3:Mactan (where I was tricked into quitting my job)#lifechangingtrip by Nancy Johri
Photo of Philippines Travel Diaries Part 3:Mactan (where I was tricked into quitting my job)#lifechangingtrip by Nancy Johri

Happy travelling :)