About My Journey – How Did This All Begin?
Hi there and welcome to my website and blog! My name is Dezza and I’m from Melbourne in Australia and have been living in Manila, Philippines since 2003. Why the Philippines?
The answer to this question is something I have often pondered. I guess the Philippines has always stood out for me as a cliché tropical paradise.
White sand beaches, swaying coconut palm trees with hammocks attached to them and the turquoise blue waters. This is all very different to the northern suburbs of Melbourne where I grew up.
Most of the residents didn’t even know what a beach was! I wanted to discover the best beaches and more in this amazing paradise.
However, I was to learn much more about the Philippines and its people in a way I could never have imagined.
A Change Was In The Wind….
In a previous life, I had a tedious and mundane job more or less working on a production line. However, I learned some important lessons during this time as the job exposed me to people from many different cultures.
These nationalities were mostly Asian, including Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino and Indonesian.
I guess I had some sort of connection to Asian people and their culture as I do actually have Chinese blood (my great-great-grandfather was Chinese).
I found that Aussies had a lot we could learn from Asian culture, most notably, work ethics and family values.
At this time in my life, I was in my early 20s and was yet to travel overseas. I was beginning to think about where it is I would like to go in search of the best beaches in the world, with Asia being the obvious choice – but where? Thailand? Bali? Vietnam?
Things were different back then. There was no internet, mobile phones or social media, so getting information was difficult.
You really had to know friends or family who has been to the places you wanted to go to.
As it turns out, in the process of saving up to embark on my first overseas adventure, I happened to meet a gorgeous Filipina woman in Melbourne who was visiting her family who was living there.
To cut a long story short, in 1996, this woman ended up becoming my wife! Thus, our life of adventure together was just about to begin….
In Search Of The Philippines Best Beaches
Our first trip together to the Philippines was in July of 1997, and our second trip was December 1998. I had now got to experience my dream of visiting some of the best beaches this tropical paradise had to offer.
However, one of the things that struck me the most wasn’t just the beauty of the country itself, but the beauty of the people and their culture!
Everybody was so friendly and welcoming it was really a humbling experience. Sure, I might have spent most of the time with my wife’s family, but they still didn’t really know me.
This didn’t deter them at all. I was welcomed straight into the family and treated like one of their own. I was to discover along the way, that this type of hospitality is pretty typical of most Filipino people.
It really is part of their culture and something that is one of their great strengths as people. They treat you like family, even if you aren’t family!
As a result of these first encounters, I had already made my mind up that I wanted to live and work in the Philippines. I was made to feel so welcome and appreciated that I wanted to experience this way of life forever!
I was absolutely blown away by what the Philippines had to offer as a tourist destination, but even more so by the warm and friendly culture of the people. My decision was made – I wanted to move there for good!
The Philippines had driven me to the point of obsession. As a result, I had cut out a heap of photos from magazines of the places I wanted to explore.
This included some of the best beaches like Palawan and Boracay and volcanoes like Mt. Pinatubo and waterfalls like Pagsanjan Falls. These photos ended up on my fridge, I made a scrapbook with them, I had them everywhere!
I was constantly dreaming of the fact that one day, I would be living there. I remember always thinking to myself, “what better way to explore the Philippines than to actually live there!”
Mind you, this was back in the day when in Australia, not necessarily everyone had the internet at home. Most people didn’t even own a computer and mobile phones weren’t even digital!
And the Philippines was even further behind on that front. So getting information on the place wasn’t so easy. However, this didn’t deter me.
Opportunity Knocks And More Of The Best Beaches
Most of us have heard the saying “success occurs when opportunity meets preparation”. With scrapbooks full of photos, and a dream for adventure, I was more than prepared. However, I now needed the opportunity.
Then in July of 2003, the opportunity came – I was able to get a job in Manila! The success part – who knows? Either way, my family and I moved up here in 2003 to start our life of fun and adventure.
For my wife, Alma, it was almost a case of taking ice to the Eskimos. However, it was still a little different as she is from Davao in Mindanao. Although for her it wasn’t “home”, at least we weren’t too far away from her family and friends.
I have been fortunate to see many parts of this amazing country while on the job, whilst other parts I have travelled to with family and/or friends, or even on my own.
And what’s more, I have been to some places the average traveller, or even expat, would not even know existed, let alone have been to.
I have explored some of the best beaches on the planet, hiked up volcanoes, rafted through waterfalls and snorkelled in some mind-blowing coral. It is now time to share these experiences.
Sharing Is Caring
I have since changed jobs a few times from when I first moved to the Philippines, and now my wife and I have our own business and I’m carving a niche for myself as an online entrepreneur.
This gives us a bit more freedom and flexibility to explore more of this amazing country, and the Asian region in general. Even better still, we have more time to blog!
Blogging has now become a major focus for us as we share our experiences and share the love!
My knowledge and experiences of the Philippines are diverse and varied as I have explored so much of the country. I feel compelled to share this with the world as a result.
It is my hope that fellow travellers and expats will come to learn and appreciate what an amazing and beautiful place the Philippines, and the people, really are. This video says it all, “It’s More Fun In The Philippines!”.
To check out some of the amazing places this country has to offer, please read my destinations section. If you are new to the Philippines and want to learn some of my survival tips, please click here.
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Or, feel free to leave your comments below. I would love to hear from you! Safe travels and I hope to have a beer with you in the Philippines soon. Cheers!