I would like to quote the late educator of the University of the Visayas, Dr. Concesa Baduel who said: “Travelling is forever as it opens horizons of culture and knowledge. The world becomes smaller because of travels.”

My first travel experiences in the ‘60s were trips to Hong Kong with my late sister, Lydia Castillo, then my solo trips to Madrid and Rome with sister Leda; my first London trip in the mid-‘60s, when I first visited Windsor Castle. I couldn’t believe I did these long travels by myself.

When then CSJ-R (Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos) designed the first tourism courses of the Arts and Sciences in the ‘80s, Fr. Rafael Cabarles sponsored my trips to Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore (through a Cathay Pacific promo arranged by my sister, Lydia) with my heads Lucy Bonilla, Lourdes Cedeno and Faith Castro.

My first United States trip in 1983 was an International Visitors Program-Fulbright scholarship grant where I lectured and observed curriculum designs and English classes in the University of Southern California, University of California Berkeley and Los Angeles, Harvard University Graduate school, University of Boston, University of Southern California, University of Hawaii, University of San Francisco and City University of New York.

I had school visits to Texas University, National Library in Washington, New Jersey, University of Hawaii, East West Center, Honolulu (where I took a short course in Cultural Encounter, then organized a cultural performance with my University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Dramatics and Cultural Ensemble). Ah, so many to remember!

My government-sponsored sister cities and tourism trips with my media colleagues and USJ-R cultural group included destinations like Xiamen (where I brought about 15 English teachers and cultural groups), sister cities Salinas, San Jose and Dale in California, and Vladivostok in Russia.

The Province of Cebu and the Department of Tourism 7 pioneered the East Asia Inter-Regional Tourism Forum (Eatof) of 12 countries, where I represented the Academe. It was a varied cultural and educational experience! Speechcom International brought USJ-R to three Springfield Festivals in Utah, USA, and two performances in Beijing. Oh, we climbed the Great Wall of China!

I made about seven educational and tourism trips to Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, India (where I organized a trip with some 50 Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry delegates and toured the Taj Mahal).

My treasured trip was a Star cruise with my WeCare colleagues. I loved the other Star and the Princess cruises sponsored by Aida Uy of Cebu Fortune Travel.

Most elating was our Lourdes, Paris, France experiences; the spectacle of Las Vegas and Niagara Falls; my Vatican and Sistine Chapel immersion in Rome; visit to Stratford Upon Avon of William Shakespeare in London; a side trip to Elvis Presley’s Memphis mansion; and of course, about eight trips to New York (Times Square, Statue of Liberty, St. Patrick’s Cathedral), the amazing Broadway; Hollywood, Los Angeles, the Golden Gate of San Francisco; and shows in Salinas, California.

Thank you Philippine Airlines, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airlines, Northwest Airlines (for Australia, New Zealand) and Canada, with the Women in Travel. Sonny and I almost became immigrants of Vancouver, Canada through the invitation of Consul Robert Lee. We opted to stay in Cebu. I just couldn’t leave USJ-R, my second home.

Our first holy week trip in Tokyo, Japan was a wedding anniversary gift from Paul Loo of Cathay Pacific sometime in early ‘90s.

South Africa, Qatar and Dubai were a revelation. I made about seven government, personal and professional trips to Korea (Seoul, Gangwon, etc.).

So many travel experiences made me a “total person!” Really, traveling is not only forever. It is an intercultural immersion.

(To be continued...)