You have been sitting looking at that printed photo of the Philippines for the last couple of years waiting for retirement to finally begin. The twenty year marriage also finished a few years back and a glimmer of a new life awaits on those tropical islands. As the PC turns off today the new sparks of life began, bags were packed weeks ago and the beer down the pub with friends on the final fair well of your retirement went with no loss except the friends you will leave behind.
On the walk home the choices of staying and going start to work through your head. If you stay what will you do? you don’t want to be one of those old guys that sit in the corner of the pub talking football and the only life they have is talking to similar people as life has already pretty much passed them on. So the decision is made “I fly tomorrow!”. Which also ties into what you have your hopes and dreams set on. You have met a few ladies online and hoping to find someone to relight the fire inside you.
The taxi drive to the airport was interesting when explained to the taxi driver where you were going. As you then couldn’t shut the driver up about conversations of sexy women and Gary Glitter which were seemed a bit extreme and surely with the bolding head and petruding belly why would a girl in her twenties look at me twice? It quickly passed…
The queue at the airport seemed to swiftly move on and mainly seemed to be a mix of nuns, older guys and OFW’s going home. OFW was a new word picked up online Overseas Filipino Worker which until recently didn’t realise there were nearly ten million of them working overseas helping keep the Philippines and its families afloat. Good thing though there seemed to be virtually no kids in the queue and same on the flight. Most of the flight was spent ignored by my neighbouring passengers as they slept away but managed to meet a guy who was on route to Thailand to his girlfriend who lives there. An annual trip could you imagine he works most of the year in the UK and uses all his holiday time to go and see one woman that he pays for throughout the year as if she is his wife? Seems crazy to me but at the same time he had the bounce about him that teenagers have so must be doing something right. The rest of the journey involved sleeping in some of the most uncomfortable positions as well as watching a few episodes of Only Fools and Horses. Until eventually we landed in Hong Kong. The Airport was a shining gleaming sign that the Chinese mean business (although wasn’t it build by us British?) anyway it was a major surprise of how clean it is, scale and efficient as the Chinese officials point things out with their bright white gloves.
Sitting in the departure lounge in Hong Kong it sees to be a mix of foreign men with girlfriends/wives and a lot of women travelling alone with the odd Filipino guy. Wonder if OFW’s in China are mainly women? The plane was sounded at the gate and a sudden rush ensued as people all joined the queue at the same time. Bit like cattle being herded at which point reading the newspaper seemed the best thing to do in my seat for another ten minutes. Eventually boarded and managed to book a window seat and ready for the next couple of flight to finally get to Cebu. I can start to feel the need to change clothes and a case of wanting to be awake while the body wants to sleep but the main thing is the curiosity and excitement is driving towards Cebu.. if Hong Kong airport is anything to go by in Asia already the dream is becoming a reality.
After a flight that only seemed around an hour Luzon opened up to us below with its lush green lands and the waters really do look like a paradise coastline like the picture. Which was still sitting on the office desk, a memory that is now hopefully going to lead someone else to new dreams. After a snack pack from the airhostess was cleared away Cebu rose up to us from below as the wings dipped the plane realigned for landing it can only be described as beautiful the palm trees looking up at us and a green that gleams only when rain has been upon it. This is Cebu.. I really have found home.