Impressions of a Young Boy on His First Visit

Visiting another country with people of a different culture and lifestyle has widened my views of all the many different kinds of people there are in the world.  This country is the Philippines, the people are the Filipinos.  To a boy of eleven,  discovering for himself how different the people of another country are was much of a surprise.  But, it was a delightful surprise.

The last sight of home for this boy was the brilliant nighttime lights of San Francisco which he saw from high in the darkened sky.  After many hours over the pitch-black ocean, the plane touched down just as the sun was rising. He looked out the window to see crowds of people near the plane.  As he stepped out of the plane he was stopped momentarily by the penetrating heat and the heaviness of the air.  The people who met him were not much different than the people he left.  Some spoke the local language, Tagalog, but many spoke English.  The airport was very modern and the car which took them away from the airport was an American stationwagon.  Maybe the people of this country were not that much different from himself.

This was soon proved to be false.  After being driven a few miles he was out of the city.  Instead of seeing large two-story homes with bright electrical lights as in the city, he saw small huts made of bamboo, standing on stilts, and with only dim candles or lanterns showing through a glass-less window.  He saw many more homes like this along the road.

What he saw that night was like a dream because when he awoke the next morning there was no trace of bamboo huts.  As he looked out the window the houses around him were similar to the ones he left behind.  The streets were also crowded with cars and honking horns made a constant noise.  As he visited his many relatives from town to town, it was not the towns that had impressed him most.  It was the farmlands in between, with its simple people and native houses.  Looking at these farmlands was like looking at a beautiful painting, with its thick green foliage and dark blue skies.  During his visit he had often witnessed as many as four rainbows at a time.  The people in the country marvel at the sight of a car and wave.  While driving through these farmlands he had to keep a constant lookout for hogs and water buffalo on the roads.  He enjoyed very much visiting and living with people so much the same yet so different from himself.

I did enjoy every minute of the vacation.  The people in this land in which civilization has reached had lifestyles similar to mine.  The people in this land in which conveniences, like electricity and paved roads, had not completely reached, had a very different lifestyle to my own.  I sometimes envy their simple lives without television, cars and pollution.  I am now anxious to visit more countries with people of different lifestyles because of this one visit to the Philippines.

1971 school essay