Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Spanish Invasion

Wallpaper pose from the pink sand of Sta. Cruz island
It has always been my wish to go out of the country and see the rest of the world. And I was able to get a first really good glimpse of it on my first travel. Although we can now get information about the world in just a click away, the actual experience of seeing it for yourself and meeting different people is priceless. I want that same experience with my family. But growing up in a HUGE family, it is almost impossible to bring everyone on board my travel. So, if you cannot bring them to the world, bring the world to them. I'm glad that we were able to welcome different people from all walks of life and nationality into our home. Last week was one of the best experience that we ever had welcoming strangers.

Jeepney Groupie!
A Spanish, in the name of Antonio, posted a request for a host. And as welcoming as I can be, I offer to host. However, he has already approved an offer from a fellow Zamboangueña. Instead, we end up exchanging information about our city. You see, it's not everyday that someone would want to visit our city given the image that we have to the rest of the world. But when one is interested, I can't help myself but offer a glimpse of our life here. We had an interesting conversation and end up him, and later his friend, Guille, actually staying with us for a couple of days.

Our version of dinner :)
We first met up on a Valentines day(!). It's funny because my innocent mind thought it was just like any other saturday (i.e. work.) but my mind realized it after. It was actually the first time that I "went out" with a guy on a Valentines day. Anyways, whether it's a Vday or not, it's generally a nice day having a great conversation with the view of the sea... and we eventually end up in an actual Valentines party with my sisters and colleagues. Since then, I know that it will be an interesting couple of days with these Spanish guys at home.

One thing that is evident when you put together a Spanish and a Zambonagueño is the commonality in language. After all, Chavacano (the language in Zamboanga) came from the Spanish language. It's both funny and fascinating to see people converse in different languages and end up (more or less) still understanding each other. And my family loves it that they can freely converse in Chavacano and at the same time learn Spanish. I feel like this language is part of our culture, so with this I promise to learn this language in the future. :)

A day after, we met Guille. It was his first time in the Philippines. I have to say, I don't know what to expect. Unlike Antonio, who has been in the country before, I was thinking he might get culture shock. But soon we discovered that he is open, curious, and friendly which makes everything else easy and fun. And someone with a deep soul who explores life with his heart and soul.

Our cooks for the night... bring all the tomatoes in!
But more than the language, it is the carefree and fun attitude of Antonio and Guille that lets us enjoy their company. We were able to share our love for music and for food, in the usual Filipino way. And at the same time, we were able to get a taste... a mouthful of tastes of some Spanish dishes (i.e. salmorejo, balbacua, picadillo, and paella valenciana) which they so generously prepare for 30-40 people! As I have said, we have a huge family :) It's not easy but they did it anyways... and they did it with a happy heart that you can't help but appreciate and be in awe. They also freely share their experience of travelling to the rest of the family and not just bring the Spain but also the rest of the world into the table. And this is exactly why I choose to welcome them (and some other travelers) at home... for my family, the exchanges of experiences makes us discover our commonalities and helps us understand each other's differences without leaving our home.

Crazy funny shocked with the rascals!
The world knows that Filipinos are naturally hospitable but it's far more natural to be hospitable when you see the guests as not really guests but as part of the family. Now, they are no longer strangers to us. Maybe we look different (in color or race), but for my family, they are brothers at heart. Their visit makes me appreciate more the simple life here in this city, the rich and diverse culture, and most especially my family. In some instances, if not most, I took my family for granted because I wanted to see "better" things beyond. I sometimes forget that I already have most of the best things in life... that is, a family that is always there for me and cheers me up whether through music or just plain funny conversations. Antonio and Guille helped me appreciate this gift more. They helped me see clearly the things that I set aside because of my wish to see the world beyond. Yes, I still want to see the world beyond... but this time carrying with me the world that I know of in my heart.

To Antonio and Guille, I will tell you again how grateful we are of the warmheartedness that you have shown us. 

Muchisimas gracias otravez por el alegria ya deha ustedes na di amon maga corazon. Y ojala puede ustedes tambien encuntra el mas grande alegria na de ustedes biaje. Ojala man mirahan ta otravez, aqui, na Espana, o na otro man lugar. Nunca kame ulvida el maga istorya y risas ya deha. Mucho besos y fuerte abrazos! :)

P.S. Congratulations in advance, Antonio and Yoko! I hope I can be there to witness your union! Read Antonio's site to appreciate the world more through his eyes. ;)


  1. Muchas gracias Ella, a ti y a tu familia. Sin vosotros my experiencia en Zamboanga hubiera sido muy diferente.
    Gracias por acogerme en tu casa y hacerme sentir como uno mas de la familia.
    Han sido las dos semanas mas maravillosas y llenas de buenas experiencias en todo mi viaje en Filipinas.
    La familia Tose, estara siempre en mi corazon, porque habeis cuidado de Guille y de mi como si fueramos hermanos vuestros.
    Gracias por brindarnos la oportunidad de compartir momentos inolvidables e imborrables en la historia de mi vida.
    Gracias, muhcas gracias por todo.

    Pd. Por favor, continua escribiendo, tienes un Don para describir sentimientos y situaciones, que deberias de evolucionar. Eres una gran escritora.


  2. I loved your story. Really very nice.
    Greetings from Spain.