I have been traveling a lot for more than 3 years now. I have been to different places local and international. And believe it not, I already forgot most of experience I had. But there are some that I think I would forever recall because for me its simply unique and memorable.
It was in 2011 when a friend of mine invited me for a hike in one of the mountains in the Cordillera to see an old tradition of Ibaloi. When I ask him about the lodge, he mentioned that there’s no accommodation there and we will be staying with a local instead, which is something I haven’t experienced before. There, our host was very accommodating. They cooked for us. Since we were staying in the mountain, we will be eating only what they will prepare. We ate a lot of vegetables which they picked just outside their house. In the afternoon, we got to know more about them while having coffee outside their house overlooking little communities and other vegetable terraces. And then that moment, I realized that was the kind of travel I want. Simple yet real, because you got to appreciate the simplicity of what’s around and available with locals who are very friendly and hospitable.
Same experience happened when I traveled with some friends last year in Batad, a remote community in the middle of the mountains of rice terraces in Ifugao. We were able to stay with Tatay Ramon and his relatives. Since there was no phone signal and internet in the area, what they are doing is they gathered their guests at night around a bonfire to talk to each other and share stories. They will also let you experience wearing their traditional costume or even stay in their traditional nipa hut. This were we experienced how they pound the palay to remove the husk.
When I was in Melaka, Malaysia two years ago, I went out for lunch in a famous restaurant. But I got disappointed because it was full and the line outside was too long. So I walked across the street and find a little house that also sells lunch. I ordered a spicy chicken curry, and yes it was the best I’ve ever tasted and it was very cheap. So the next day, instead of going to the restaurant, I just went back there in the “store with no name” where dish was being cooked and prepared by a family.
Same experience happened to me when I went to Kelantan, a state in Malaysia. At around 5PM most establishments were already closed and you can barely see people on the street. It was so quite. I got hungry so I decided to walk around and also to familiarized myself with the area. And in one corner, I found a place to eat, it was not even a restaurant, it was just a stall selling murtabak. I find it very appetizing, so when the cooked noticed I’ve ordering these for two days, he approached me and taught me how to prepare and cooked it. It was a nice experience and that started a nice conversation with him.
An experience with locals is something that I recommend if you really want to have a deep understanding of the places you are traveling in. What’s best about this kind of tour is that you will not just take a photo for souvenir but a memorable experiences and stories that you can share with others.
If you are curious and find this kind of traveling really interesting, it is now very easy for you to experience all of these in just a click. WithLocals.com is offering this kind of great immersion that would make a difference in your travel style.