An inspiring interview with a teacher traveller

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Teacher Sherilyn is proud to present to you our blog guest on the theme “Teacher on Holiday”. Our visitant is none other than Marga Placido!

Teacher Marga, as what her students and colleagues would call her, is famous for taking annual leave at work to travel. When she files for leave, her colleagues automatically ask her which country she will go.

Her recent trip, she was able to visit Vietnam, Thailand and Hongkong in a span of ten days. Let’s find out what motivates her to travel! Here is our interview with Teacher Marga:

Which places have you been to?

Philippines (Boracay, Bohol, Cebu, Davao, Benguet/Sagada), Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia (Bali), Hongkong, Macau, Thailand (Bangkok, Krabi and Phuket), Qatar, Georgia (Tbilisi), Vietnam (HCM)

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Among the countries you have visited, which one do you like best?

Of all the countries that I’ve been to… I can’t say that I have favorite, because I believe that each country has different to offer like the food, cultures/beliefs, breathtaking views and people. I also think that it is not really about the place, it’s the people who you’re with and the experience that you’ll gain in that particular place… It creates memories for a lifetime and that makes your travel more unforgettable.

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Why do you like to travel?

I like to travel simply because it teaches me how to be happy and I think that’s one of the most important things in life, “happiness”. It also makes a person a better person. You’ll become more confident with yourself, more adventurous, it helps you not to get scared to try new things… In short, it pushes your boundaries.

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One of the reasons also why I love to travel is learning to appreciate simple things like having a nice buffet breakfast every morning! =)) 

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What effects has travelling done to you as a preschool teacher?

I always believe in the saying, “Experience is a good teacher” but now I do believe also that “Travel is the best teacher”. We have the whole world to learn about. In every place I discover and every person I meet, it helps me to see the real world… It also helps me broaden my mind and vision in life.

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Whenever I travel, I always share my experience with my students. They maybe are still young and can’t really understand the real world but as teachers, we can share to them our travel photos and stories that can awaken them to what the world has to offer… It surprises me sometimes that some of them can relate to my stories.

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Do you think teachers should travel during one of their breaks? Why?

Definitely yes! We all have our stress in our lives and sometimes our work can be too demanding but whether you’re a teacher or not you should at least travel once in a while. You must explore new places and break out of your daily lifestyles. For me, travelling is a good stress remover that has a lot more to give than most people are willing to accept.

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Do you have any last message to our readers?

Enjoy life…Travel while you’re young and able to! =))

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What can we take-away from Teacher Marga’s interview?

Take-away 1: As what Teacher Marga said, we need to travel once in a while to break away from our mundane, day-to-day activities. Travelling will make us come back to our work with fresh mind to start anew.

Take-away 2: Looking for the best teacher? Then, travel! For Teacher Marga, “Travel is the best teacher”… There is so much thing to learn about the world..  This helps her to see the real world, broaden her mind and awareness. Indeed! Travelling widens our sphere. Do not be confined staying in one place. Go around, connect the dots and see the bigger picture! Make the world your vast classroom, a venue where you can learn anything you want to learn… a place where you take charge of your own learning!

Take-away 3: Teacher Marga gave an advice to “travel while still young and able to”. This is actually true! Travel while still young because this is the stage in your life where you should keep learning to discover not only the world but more on uncovering yourself. This will equip your life with necessary skills needed as you grow older and as life’s demands become more stringent. So, again, travel the world while you’re young and able to!

P.S. For more travel updates from Teacher Marga, you may follow her on Instagram. Her account is traveltoremember.

What to do in Yangon

I was in Yangon, Myanmar for three days. One main thing to see in Myanmar is its pagoda. Myanmar has a lot of pagodas; it just varies in sizes.

The biggest of all is the Shwedagon Pagoda. It is also the most sacred pagoda as it houses strands of Buddha’s hair and other holy relics.

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Another pagoda you may visit is the Sule Pagoda. To me, Sule Pagoda is similar to Shwedagon. It is only their size differs.

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I also visited Kandawgyi Lake. This lake is the second lake in Yangon. However, its water is artificial. Its water is channeled from Inle Lake through a series of pipes.

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There is one more nice place to see in Myanmar, and that is Bagan. I haven’t been there. I hope to visit it next time!

The Amazon River of Southeast Asia

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Visiting the Ulu Temburong Park was the highlight of my Brunei trip. I was glad that I had the chance to see this best attraction in Brunei. Ulu Temburong Park is the first national park in Brunei. It is protected and preserved for scientific research and low-impact visitors.

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To reach the park, we had to take a speedboat from Bandar Seri Begawan and travel along the Brunei Bay area. We stopped at Bangar Temburong Town and took a road trip to Batang Duri. We then rode a long tail boat that traversed Temburong River. Traveling across the Temburong River felt like having the Amazon River experience. The long tail boat brought us to the entrance of the national park.

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From the entrance, we trekked into the pristine rainforest and reached the canopy base. We took the stairs and managed to reach the canopy walkways. On top, you would have a better opportunity to observe the perfect view of the forest.

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Overall, I never regret my travel to Brunei. It was a wondrous experience to join the day adventure to Ulu Temburong Park. I met great people during my trip. Aside from that, I had undergone an extraordinary escapade that was worth remembering!

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Globe-trotting: The story of a solo traveler preschool teacher who has visited all ASEAN countries

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What inspires me to see the world is brought by my travel and childhood memories. When I was a child, we lived in Lucena City for a short period of time. During summer breaks, we either spend our family holidays in Manila, Laguna or Quezon visiting our relatives. If not in those places, we are visiting beaches in our town in Masbate or staying in our grandparents’ farm.

I usually traveled with my family, not until I entered elementary and high school where I had to compete with other students in our province or region. There are times my mother would accompany me because I had motion sickness. Sometimes she could not be there; I had to travel with my fellow participants and trainers.

When I entered university, my family traveled to Quezon City to make sure everything was okay before leaving me. After that, I had to travel from Quezon City to Masbate all by myself. But, that’s not where my solo traveling started!

My solo traveling started before my university graduation. I was twenty years old back then. I traveled to Baguio City from Manila with my backpack. My friend brought me to the bus terminal, and at 12 midnight, the bus departed. I reached Baguio City at 6am. When I alighted, I realized that it was Friday the 13th. I started to think “Should I continue exploring Baguio? Or should I take the bus again back to Manila?” I felt apprehensive because it was Friday the 13th, and also, I was a graduating student. There was this superstitious belief that if you are a graduating student, you are prone to danger. To make that thinking go away, I went out of the bus, walked a little further and bought “taho”. Then, walked a bit further again until I felt the cool atmosphere, witnessed the sun rose and saw a person doing his morning jog. These sights made me at ease. Fear started to dissipate. I decided to stay in Baguio. I stayed in UP Baguio dormitory for two nights, where I had discount as a UP student.

My next solo traveling was in Myanmar in 2014, Brunei, Hanoi (Vietnam) and Luang Prabang (Laos) in 2016. I will tell you more stories about my Laos travel because it was the boldest travel I had ever done in my life!

What would you feel if you were new in a country where you could not understand their language at all? What would you feel if all people you see were strangers to you? What would you feel if you traveled for 1.5 hours from your hotel with a driver you did not know and you were to pass by secluded areas? Actually, I did not care about the first question. I could always use “sign” language. I also did not care if all people were strangers to me. I went there to explore places and learn their culture and history. What caused me fear was traveling for more than 1 hour (with a person I did not even know) in a place where I could only see soil and grasses with no houses, no people and even no cars or other kind of transport passing by! That frightened me! What if I will be kidnapped? What  if I will be harmed? To make those unwanted thoughts vanished, I initiated conversation with the driver. I talked to him and get to know him until I felt at ease. He was Manny Pacquiao’s fan by the way!

My fear totally disappeared when we reached our destination. Sigh! Finally, we reached the destination. I could now see some people. Sigh again! “Thanks, God, I was safe!”. Sigh again. Sigh again. “Thank you, Lord!” 🙂

I paid for the entrance fee and took the boat to cross the Mekong River/Nam Ou River and reached Pak Ou Cave. The nature, its beautiful scenery calmed me. When we reached Pak Ou Cave, I saw a variety of Buddha statues in the lower cave.

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The driver served as my tour guide. He told me that many local people would visit the cave during Lao New Year.

We then went to the upper cave. He said that the upper cave served as the house of their King when America was bombing Laos.

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After visiting Pak Ou Cave, we took a boat again and rode the van. I was already feeling relaxed. We headed to my next destination, which was the majestic Kuang Si Waterfall.

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After feeling the cool splash of water from the waterfall, I came back to the van where the driver was waiting for me. I had not eaten my lunch yet. I still had few kips left in my wallet. I asked him to buy food for us. He said, he had already eaten. I told him he could eat it for dinner. He bought food. He drove me back to the hotel. Then, we parted ways.

Do you have plans of traveling solo yet fear has been stopping you? I also felt that! But… “Don’t let your fear of what COULD happen make NOTHING happen”! It will make you a better person than you are right now. After my Laos trip, I could say that I am dauntless!

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For more of my travel stories, read Holiday Mode: Teacher is On Leave category.