"Si Ate, ako at ang Turismo" : How I started and chose to continue to #MakeADifferenceOneTripAtATime despite all uncertainties & vulnerabilities
I already forgot her name but I always remember her #SSStory. This photo somehow fuels me to keep reaching for my current goal, a vision and purpose that's bigger than myself, which can be summarised in #3Ts.
SI ATE. This young mother from the rural area was the very first person I taught about "Facebook Marketing" outside my formal and part-time job. It was a spur of the moment thing that happened after I had my meal in her resto. She owns several cottages in #Bantayan #Cebu where I met her during my first ever #SoleSearchingSoul journey.
AKO. You see, back in 2012, I started to feel uneasy in my so-called "comfort zone". That's the year I started asking myself "Is this all that I am?" "Is this all I can do?" For #twentysomething, I consider that time as the start of my#QuarterLifeCrisis.
Don't get me wrong... I had a very good career, actually, it was great coz I had a very trusting and supportive boss in my time full-time job as a marketing manager. I also had this different sense of fulfillment knowing that I'm honing future media practitioners and marketing professionals in and from Bicol when I was invited and hired by my dear Alma Mater as a part-time faculty but you see I was still looking for more... somehow deep in my heart, I don't feel at peace. I know there's something MORE that I can do but I just couldn't pinpoint it yet so I started wandering while wondering and found my sole searching for my soul...
ANG TURISMO. I found myself on the quiet island of Bantayan. While taking my lunch in the restaurant, I asked Ate why it's so quiet and I barely see tourists. I understand it was already off-peak season that time so I got curious and asked her how's the business. She told me that it's bad. Not so many guests are checking in. Low sales, not enough money. Her husband died a few years ago and she's left with raising their only daughter as well as running their simple yet decent hospitality business.
Ate doesn't know how long it's going to last before she throws the white towel over the rising cost of maintenance, rebuilding after the typhoon and provide for daily needs of her family and employees. I saw her frustration as well as determination so I asked her if she's willing to learn, I can somehow show her how to use social media to promote her hospitality business and accept room reservations on Facebook. Given my little understanding of "bisaya" and my poor use of the local dialect, we still managed to communicate while I demonstrate to her how to use #technology to boost her tourism-related establishments.
During those time, I'm not yet very familiar with the #tourism industry aside from my experience as a traveller which also served as my foundation for giving my best as the marketing manager of the homegrown hospitality brand I helped to build online and offline.
Looking back, that impromptu #training moment with ATE could have triggered my desire to learn more about tourism beyond the promotions. That very moment reminds me why I should not give up now on my big dream of "studying" and learning more about sustainable tourism for development.
I do not have an academic degree in Tourism & Marketing but I'm not letting it stop me from chasing my 3Ts. This is not just anymore for my personal and professional development but also for the sustainability of our growing tourism community... for the many "Ate" in various rural areas I visited and will be visiting in the future, who can benefit from my insightful experiences as a #ResponsibleTraveller and trainer... I'm continuing this journey, not only as an advocacy but as my #ikigai. This is my calling. It has not been that easy and smooth-sailing but I'm not giving up. I'm going to keep moving forward, continue to make a difference one trip at a time and SHARE my insights and learnings to others!
That moment captured by my dear friend and spiritual counsellor Ate Apple Thea 5 years ago is going to always remind me that THE WORLD IS MY CLASSROOM which presents me with the different interesting case study. Even before #IY2017, I've been practicing #TravelEnjoyRespect as an ordinary traveller and now as a young aspiring tourism professional who supports World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in raising awareness for International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017 through my online and offline engagements as well as private citizen. I believe inclusive growth that's why I fully support the Sustainable Tourism Development Goals.
Learning is all about progression and not perfection. It is not only for personal benefit but for scoiety's greater good. My desire for further "academic" studies is not about the titles, glitz and accolades but out of genuine desire to learn so I can continue to nurture others as well. I'm not a straight A student. I have my fare share of failure but I'm not letting it define who I am or stop me from who I am becoming... Beleive me when I say that it's not all about the head, but what truly matter is the genuine heart and helping hand. The #grit for something you truly beleive in.
To all those who personally know me and believed in my capacity to be an agent of change and influence, THANK YOU.
It is written in my name #Allison and with full confidence in God's Divine Direction, I know that #ThyWillBeDone. <3 Fly with me and let's make this world beautiful and sustainable!