OUR SKIN DIARY | Traveling with a Western Boyfriend

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OUR SKIN DIARY | Traveling with a Western Boyfriend

I was, am a traveler. He was not. He knew my affairs with places so he accommodated this one of the many selves I have in me: the traveler. It was our first trip outside the Visayas. I handled the flights and scored a deal with a resort owner: a free accommodation in exchange for a few photos of his resort. He handled the island transportation and food. 

The moment we stepped on Camiguin’s port, drivers shouted if we wanted a ride to our resort and dropped prices like we, or he, had a lot of money. I pretended that I did not hear them and asked around for the public jeepneys. One really shouted that I, a fellow Filipino, was unwilling to help her own countrymen, that I wanted to have all the blessings I got from my foreign boyfriend, that I was greedy. What “blessings” were they talking about?  The ex-boyfriend—who happened to be American, who remained a good friend until now—knew all my sentiments about us, about us traveling together, about us who forgot the so-called inherited value of our skin color, about us the so-called underprivileged and the overly privileged. Traveling with a Western boyfriend in the Philippines often showed us the things we forgot: the value and the privileges or the lack thereof attached to our skin color.

Traveling to Camiguin was not as smooth as I thought it would be. I momentarily forgot I would not be traveling solo and momentarily forgot people would not see a “boyfriend” with me but a pale foreigner with blue eyes.

Jona | Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona! I’m in my early 30s and is currently based in Ha Noi, Vietnam.I primarily write poetry and short stories in Cebuano and lengthy travel essays in English. Blogging has become an outlet to think out loud. I live the life I set for myself. I try to live an unapologetic life. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com. Find me somewhere else!

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