Why traveling is a great educational opportunity by Suf Alkhaldi

Valcono Taal
Taal Volcano: The view was spectacular

In the last four years, I started to travel to many places with my wife after our son left home — first to college and then for a job. So far, we visited Jordan, Jerusalem, Kuwait, Dubai, and Iceland. Traveling is the most efficient way to learn about people, places, and to have a ton of fun. Karl Pilmer the author of “30 Lessons for loving: Advice from the wisest American” said that the one thing that most retired Americans regret is not having traveled more when they were younger and able.

Going to different countries creates a rich learning environment, which exceeds the classroom and book experience. In my previous posts, I wrote about Iceland. In this post, I am writing about my recent trip to Manila, the Philippines.

We left Dulles airport in Virginia on Dec. 26, 2016, heading to Manila via Beijing, China.  As I thought about what I needed to learn about the Philippines, my thoughts of understanding the culture started to return to me. Back when I was a medical technologist, I worked with a lot of  medical technologists from the Philippines. The Philippines is the highest exporter of nurses and medical staff in the world. Almost 70% of graduating nurses find jobs overseas.

My thought about observing the people and trying to understand them was one of my main goals. We landed in Manila and headed to our hotel.  The first impression that hits you in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is the number of cars and the congested streets. Unbelievable! According to Wikipedia, the Philippine government did not invest in infrastructure projects of building highways around the cities until recently.  Manila has a lot of upper scale neighborhoods which are not far from very poor neighborhoods. In less than a 30-minute ride by taxi, you can experience the spectrum from rich to poor neighborhoods.

After relaxing for several days, we drove about three hours heading to Taal Volcano Island. The driving was hard since my wife and I were not used to this kind of traffic congestion and at times crazy driving — passing on the shoulder, for example. As soon as we reached to the beach, where several small yellow boats were moored, we climbed aboard.   The boat hit the warm water at a very fast speed, heading to Taal Volcano Island where horses were waiting for us in a very small village. After 40 minutes on horseback, we finally reached the opening of the volcano–spectacular views, please see the picture above.

The breathtaking view was amazing.  After several hours of enjoying the view and talking to some friendly Filipino tourists, we made it back by the end of the day.  The trip was memorable.

The discovery of travel
The discovery of travel. Our boat ride to the island.

Some interesting facts about the Philippines: According to the government annual report, the Philippines has more that 10 million expats living around the world, who send millions of dollars in remittances back to their homeland. You cannot visit the Philippines without hearing about Jose Rizal, a Filipino hero executed by the Spanish in 1896. Rizal, a well-known physician, lead a peaceful resistance against the Spanish troops. His name appears on museums, cities, streets, and government building.  Filipinos come from all over the country to camp in the park where he was executed.  Filipino people love him very much.

Everyone speaks English in the Philippines — they are very pleasant and polite when you ask them questions.  Finally, what I learned visiting the Philippines is that this country is filled with educated human capital and the country is ready for investment with the new reform of their leadership.   I think that because of the large number of educated people in the Philippines, the country has a great potential to compete with China and India. Software companies will be discovering this country very soon.

Thank you for reading my post. I would love to hear from you.  Sufalkhaldi@futureandsciencehacks.com


1 Comment

  1. johnrbryce January 30, 2017 at 3:04 am

    Insightful post as usual. I agree that getting to know the people is a much richer experience than just sightseeing. I attribute my good experience in school to having moved a few times in early childhood, from Bolivia to Colorado to New Jersey. Seems that travel is enriching for young and old (not that we’re old, ha ha ha).


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