VACCINES available, travel restrictions easing and the virus to be treated as endemic soon, it’s the green light we will all be waiting for. It’s time to move forward. After being cooped up for a long period, what will your big leap be?

Businesses are eager to open their doors wide open — restaurants want to serve full capacity, entertainment centers want to reopen, the hospitality industry wants to operate in full force, tourism spots want to welcome back their visitors, schools want to fill their classrooms with students once more.

Just as the airlines are hungry to fill up their fleet of wide-body aircrafts with passengers, the travelers are itching to hop on one to a destination they missed most. Perhaps more than shopping, which was accessible online in the course of the pandemic, it’s traveling that most people miss most. The itch needs a good scratching. As soon as traveling becomes hassle-free, globetrotters will leap and soar to where their heart desires.

Where will I head first? Japan is on top of my list. The ramen and the desserts, the politeness of the people, the Cherry Blossom, the cool weather, the well-preserved old world architecture against the modern backdrop, nature highlighted on a pedestal, small streets waiting to be explored, the bullet train ride to another prefecture. Of course, the Sakura gives away the time of year I want to visit. Are they welcoming back tourists at the end of March? Most importantly, will they be granting tourists visas soon?

I asked world wanderers on social media what the first post-pandemic destination will be. The place would register quickly for sure. From the 50 respondents, guess which countries scored highest?

Japan ranked first with 15 points. The Japanese Consular Office in Davao will be happy to know this and pitch it to ANA to make the Davao-Tokyo direct flights happen.

Unanimously, the top three reasons for the visit (and revisit) are 1. Food; 2. Culture; and 3. Nature and the sights. While there are those who dream to tick Japan off the bucket list, those who did have fallen in love with the Land of the Rising Sun. Yes, Japan can be pretty addictive. I can attest to it.

“I had always been enamored with Japan and its fascinating food scene and culture,” shared Ken Ong.

The USA came in second with 11 points. While the US is an ideal destination for the brood for its theme parks and shopping, family is the main reason for travel to the US this time. After years apart, many long for reuniting with loved ones.

“I want to give my son a big hug,” shared Chari Gavino, who hasn’t been with his son for three years.

South Korea is on the third spot with seven points, and you may have an idea why. The long lockdown period has viewers glued to Netflix and its myriad of K-dramas. It was an escape from the dreadful situation outdoors.

And not to forget the BTS, who melted hearts like butter with their baby faces, fashion, smooth dance moves and melodic tunes. Travelers get the permission to dance their way to Seoul, live out K-drama scenarios in palaces, feast on authentic Korean cuisine and if lucky enough, have a selfie with a favorite boy band member.

“I’ve indulged in so many K-dramas and BTS concerts during the pandemic so I want to cap it off with authentic kimchi, Samgyup and some Soju. Borahae!”, Bunny Sy exclaimed.

Clearly, women dominated this destination for the reasons given above. For the men on the list, the food and weather were the primary reasons. “I want to relax in a cold place like Korea and see beautiful views. This Covid is too much of a bad experience,” said Anthony Ang.

The fourth placer is not just one country. With four points, these travelers want their pandemic-aborted European tour to happen soon. Deprived of travel for a long period, they might as well see as many countries as they can in one go, they said. It makes sense.

Number five is Spain with three points. The reasons are varied- to see family, anniversary destination and fascination for the place and wanting to see it for the first time.

Thailand and Hong Kong tied for the sixth spot. The former being culturally rich and gastronomically exciting, and the latter for its proximity and familiarity, and the thrilling big city vibe compacted in the small area.

Votes came in for Vietnam, Taipei, UK, the Holy Land, Switzerland, even Iceland.

Dream it, claim it. The Universe is very generous. All you have to do is ask.

Now ready for boarding...


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