For four days, I found myself lost in the wilderness of the Philippines. In the province of Palawan, I was surrounded by lush mountains and clear waters – beauty and picture-perfect serenity. The Philippines is not your average beach resort destination, and there was so much more than that. The Philippines ticks almost every box of a developing country – rickshaws still lead the way down the street, bulls still pave the mud in rice paddies and most jobs are done by people, not technology. Regardless, the country was vibrant, happy and carefree.
When I arrived, I met a girl. She was about eight or nine years old, and slightly on the plumper side. Accompanying her was a little puppy and two other children – possibly siblings. The children were all playing on a rotting wooden boat, carefully stepping to avoid cutting themselves on jagged bits of wood or a stray nail. But these kids were happy and I guess it hurts that I can see such happiness in these kids, but I can go down any white mall in Australia and see children throwing tantrums about an iPad. I think we have it backwards. Just give kids an education, some rubber shoes, a boat to play on and maybe a puppy. Everywhere I went, life seemed to be easy. The problems I yearn over just didn’t seem to exist in this world – grades, careers, where my life is taking me. Life already had these people – they weren’t going anywhere, but they didn’t stress about it either. They smiled all the while and seemed to be satisfied.