Reflections: Happiness in the provinces.

The loveliest couple.

The loveliest couple.

A lot of people that I have met during my Travel by Heart 2014-15 PH tour are proud to say that they have worked in Manila. But there’s a different sense of honor and satisfaction when they tell me why they choose to go back and stay in the provinces.

One of the most common questions people ask me is “Where are you from?”. When I tell them that I’m from Manila they would often share their experiences in Manila, most commonly it’s about the time they worked here. They have this sense of pride when they tell their stories as not everyone from the province has had the opportunity to go there.

As you know Metro Manila is the capital of the Philippines. Usually, people from the provinces are enticed by the big city life as it seemingly provides endless opportunities. That’s not far from the truth, I have lived here all my life and indeed there’s a lot of opportunities because the big companies are usually located here. Access to pretty much everything is easy, but there’s a big caveat, everything has a price and usually it’s not that cheap.

The competition is high and the struggle is real, you are seemingly in a never-ending rat race that ironically starts with an early morning slow traffic. You usually end up spending 4 hours of your day on some form of transport, then you come home tired sorting out your other responsibilities before hitting the sack. It’s amazing really, how people juggle their lives with this kind of daily grind.

Happiness in the provinces.

Happiness in the provinces.

Then there’s the province life, now this is not coming from me as I have not lived in the province for a long time. This is coming from the perspective of people that I have talked to. Life in the provinces are simple, they told me that you don’t really need much in order to survive. Depending on where you live, there’s easy access to food. People that I talked to who by the seaside tell me that if ever they are hungry they just go out and catch something on the ocean, sometimes their efforts even give them a little bit of income. Other’s tell me that food is extremely cheap, they might not have fancy restaurants or fast food. But they have access to fresh produce from the ocean or from the mountains. They also told me that there is less stress as you’re not really in hurry to go anywhere and there is no traffic. They have more time to do the things that they want to do and focus on what they think is important.

I met this couple just 5 days into my trip but I felt like they best represent the people that I have met during my ride. They are a young couple, obviously very in love and are just starting out their married life. They both have had opportunities to work in Manila on decent paying jobs. But they choose to go back to the province to continue their budding life, for the reasons stated above.

Hypocrisy is not really my thing. If someone was to ask me right now if  I would choose to live in the province instead of in a city. My answer would be “No, not yet at least”. With the kind of thing that I do, the convenience of living in a city is still very important to me. Yes, I do hate the traffic and everything being expensive but that’s the price that I’m willing to pay for now. Ask me again 5 years from now and there’s a big chance that my answer will be different.

 

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