May 15, 2022
by Jon Lorence Panelo
We all have varying preferences when spending our respective summer vacations, especially during this time of the pandemic. It was mentioned by Orindaru et al. (2021) that the pandemic has greatly influenced travel patterns from the psychological factors to the fear of contamination, the traveler’s willingness to travel, and even the avoidance of being in crowded places. As someone who loves to travel, the various impacts of the pandemic are evident from the planning and preparation stage up until the post-travel and evaluation stage. The recent lowering of movement restrictions allowed me to once again travel out of town after not being able to do so for the past two years. For the past few months, I had my fair share of experiences in spending my summer vacation at a beach resort, by the mountainside, and at a wave pool.
It was towards the end of March when I heard surprising news from my family that we would now be able to visit our farm in the province after not being able to do so for the past two years. However, I was more surprised to hear that it was only a quick weekend farm visit and that we would be spending more time at a beach resort due to the overnight accommodation. From Davao City, it was around three to four hours of travel by land to reach Banaybanay, Davao Oriental where our farm is situated. After a quick visit, it took about one more hour to reach our overnight accommodation at Mati City, Davao Oriental. Arriving at night and during a rainy weather, I was startled to see that there were still so many people at the beach resort and that not all of them are wearing face masks. Although no one would wear a face mask while swimming, I was alarmed to see that even the people just walking around the resort and those who finished eating at the resort’s restaurant were not wearing their face masks. From then on, it was when I realized that the lowering of restrictions has also made some people complacent about the virus that could still infect anyone.
After dinner, I took the opportunity to make the most out of our stay and roam around to see what the beach resort has to offer at night. With my face mask on, umbrella in my hand, and phone on the other, I took a walk and took some pictures of the resort at night. Strikingly, there were a lot of people who also had overnight accommodation at the beach resort and they were not wearing their face masks even if they were not swimming or eating. The next day, with clearer skies, we were able to swim on the beach while maintaining a distance from other people. To make the most out of our stay, we tried the beach resort’s water park in the middle of the sea where to my surprise, would be with groups of other people. After the experience, I told my family that it would be best to go back or to go to another beach resort on a weekday to prevent a crowd. With that, here are some friendly reminders for your next beach resort visit: do not forget to keep your face masks on every time you are not swimming or eating; continue to maintain a distance from other people, avoid swimming and eating in crowded places, it is best to eat at your accommodation instead, and continue to sanitize often.
Moreover, it was during the middle of April when my family decided to spend another weekend getaway this time, by the mountainside. About one to two hours away from the city proper is Marilog District, Davao City. Although an unusual summer vacation destination, the mountainside is the best option for those who love nature and the cold weather due to its high altitude. Staying at a vacation home rental for the weekend was very different from the beach resort as other people were hundreds of meters away from my family and me. If you thought that having no Wi-Fi and having only a limited network signal would also limit the fun-filled activities that you could do, the remote location is just a five-minute walk away from Kwagsik Falls. As the guests were only my family and me, everyone could freely take their masks off and experience the breath of fresh air from the mountains without fear of contracting the virus. For an in-depth read of my experience of spending my summer vacation by the mountainside see:
In addition, at the end of April, my family decided to spend yet another weekend getaway at a wave pool in Davao Del Norte. From Davao City, it was around two to three hours of travel by land to reach the overnight accommodation. Similar to the beach resort, most people were not wearing their face masks even if they were not swimming or eating. It was also alarming to see how some people smoked cigarettes even if the accommodation states that the wave pool is a no-smoking area. A highlight of the wave pool was the provision of multiple pools which prevents the crowding of people who wanted to go for a swim. With six pools in total, the location is wide enough to cater to multiple groups of guests while maintaining the minimum health protocols set by the governing bodies. Still, the same reminders mentioned above must be applied during your entire stay at the wave pool.
Out of the three experiences, so far, I would recommend the mountainside as your next summer vacation destination. It might seem unusual, but the peaceful and relaxing ambiance makes you want to visit the place again. How about you? What is your choice for your next summer vacation destination?