About my journey – how did this all begin?
Hi there and welcome to my 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 the 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.
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 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!