A Taste of New Zealand’s Hospitality

I am grateful for the opportunity to live on this beautiful and astonishing planet Earth. In the morning, I wake up with a sense of gratitude.       -Earl Nightingale

On my way back to Singapore from Philippines last week, I was leafing through the Mabuhay magazine (April 2012 issue) and come across an article entitled:- “Best of the Best” from which New Zealand topped it all for World’s Friendliest Countries. Undoubtedly, I could not deny it.

Three weeks ago, I was visiting New Zealand for the first time. I remember at the plane, everybody is sleeping and it was very quiet. Except me, I was creating unnecessary noise. I keep coughing non-stop. I am unwell and my head is terribly aching. I was still ill but I could not postpone my trip knowing the tedious process I have to go through in applying for leave and getting all together the requirements to get a visa. While enduring the 10 hours non-stop flight, I could not make myself comfortable in anyway. I think the temperature inside the aircraft worsen my condition. I was a little surprise when the NZ woman sitting at my right side offered me a bundle of strepsils to make me feel better. While, another woman sitting at my left gave me a eucalyptus oil to put into my neck to cool down and minimize my coughing. She even advised me to buy a neck scarf, since she said I am traveling regularly I would be able to always use it. These strangers surrounding me made me feel better for that little-act-of-kindness they have shown towards me. I have encountered the same, when I left Auckland for Singapore.

***

I wish to share this post to my local NZ hosts:- Pamela and Greg. Pamela patiently waited for me at the airport on my arrival. She was the only person I could talk to that time about my horrible experience at the immigration. I was like a little child crying inside her car that lasted for I don’t know how long because I was really, really frightened. I was at that time, very scared.

Thru them, I was able to experience the life living at the suburbs of NZ. It was beautiful. With the mountain scenery, with pond at the side and flock of sheeps, a herd of horses at the further horizon and tall trees lined up that served as fence. Their lovely house seemed to me like a museum. Pamela and Greg are not only Social Work analysts they are artists in their own ways. I had the chance to see their little town and went to a local museum. Pamela was very kind to order a Thai food and we had it together for dinner. They really made me feel at home. She even gave me medicine. I think my illness has gotten worse because of the immigration thing. Since Pamela is working the next day, Greg sends me to the train station going to the city. I am really grateful for these locals… my horrible experience at NZ has been slowly faded.

I am not a poet and I lack words to describe how wonderful the experience was. I hope the photos I was captured would justify a bit.

A beautiful portrait of Pamela & Greg

Chloe, the teki-guru cat =)

A cozy room that served as my temporary sanctuary

The entrance to Pamela’s home

I am grateful as well for the extra hospitality of my sister and brother from my college-based organization (UP Mussaenda Honor Sorority and Zeta Beta Rho Honor Fraternity). This is where I met my genuinely inspiring brother and sister. A true Iskolar ng Bayan, they were recipients of NZ government’s scholarship program. They were so kind to keep on checking me at my hostel and if I need any help. Through them I was able to understand more about New Zealand and some of their rules and regulations in the country. Sis Mau and Brod Edmund and Eden, thank you so much! You have shown me the best of Auckland! Thank you for being a tour guide/s, a driver, a restaurant chef, a very good adviser… Thank you is such an understatement but I could not think of better words to express my overflowing gratitude towards you.

Sis Mau and lovely Eden. She is sick but didn’t get tired to entertain me… what a sociable brilliant little girl =)

At One Tree Hill. We were literally blown by very strong wind. Look ^^

At Mt Eden. Not that windy but really cold, I was shivering

I am always amaze when I see bird/s soaring in the sky. To me, it means FREEDOM from things that limits us & LIBERTY to reach for our dreams

Sha, my classmate in my Community Development class in Diliman. Although we have not met, I appreciate the effort you have taken and the suggestions you have given. We will meet next time!

The receptionists at my hostel and my hostel-mates who offered to use their phones and gave me extra free vouchers for the internet. My short-lived travel buddies back to Singapore:- Jay and Yohan.

My gratitude goes as well to the Immigration Officers of Auckland. THANK YOU for teaching me lessons worth learning. I hope you would be kind to me in my next visit to NZ, please. =)

Now this post looks like an Acknowledgement page in a book. That was not the intention though. I’d like to close through this line excerpted from my maftravelgraphy journal:-

NZ
Thank you for allowing me finally see your beauty
That even in the rain, You shine
But even sometimes in sunshine, You rain
Your goodness could not be outnumbered by my unfortunate experiences…

14 thoughts on “A Taste of New Zealand’s Hospitality

  1. NZ looks really beautiful. was the immigration process really bad at NZ? my filipino friend also has a bad experience with NZ immigration. We have this theory cuz of the reality show called ‘security beyond borders’ or something where they try to catch criminals sneaking past customs.

    • It is🙂.
      Before NZ, I thought my worse experience was in Australia…not until this recent incident with NZ immigration. Nagpo profiling kasi sila Kate. I could imagine, mukha siguro akong adik nung araw na yun hehehe. Interesting, I’m not aware of that reality show, first time to hear from you. Medyo natigilan ako dahil related dyan yung tina try kong i-settle sa ministry nila. Nakakalungkot mang isipin, parang mahirap maging Pilipino minsan dahil sa mga imahe na napo-portray sa international community, nagiging pangkalahatan ang paghusga. Well, hindi naman natin sila masisisi siguro. Pinoproteksyunan lang nila ang bansa nila.

  2. Pasaway kasi yung ibang Pilipino kaya tuloy nadadamay ang mga wala naman talagang kasalanan. There’s also an incident like that na nangyari sa isa pang travel blogger. Mas worse pa yung sa kanila kasi talagang pinaghubad sila ng bongga para lamang icheck na wala talaga silang drugs. I’m sure it will be better sa next time na pagpunta mo ng NZ.

    • Salamat sana nga🙂. Parang nakwento nga yan ni Drew…Nung mga time na yun naisip ko kontakin ang Philippine Embassy dun para makahingi ng advise, tulong o proteksyon…pero naisip ko rin baka gumulo pa kaya sinubukan ko na lang i-solve on my own. Napanatag din naman ako dahil sa na-meet ko mga kaibigan dun. Kaso di ko sinabi yung totoong sitwasyon para di na sila mag alala nahiya rin kasi ko baka maging pabigat pa.

      Tuloy tuloy lang ang paglalakbay🙂 Thanks for dropping by Joanna!

  3. We were lucky, we didn’t encounter any problem with the immigration officers in NZ. Probably it was because we traveled as a family: my wife, then 4 year old daughter and me.

    They didn’t even notice that my passport’s validity was less than 6 months, he he he

    • Wow, Gael, THANK YOU for visiting! I can’t hide my excitement🙂. It is such an honor to receive a comment from a well respected travel writer. I am a fan and I hope I could really meet you one day! I am encourage to write more and learn to write better! :-)). Really, THANKS for dropping by!

  4. Now, I have an ample time to visit more on your blog. Bilib na ko sayo! When I saw the pic of the bird soaring in the sky, first thing that enter into my mind is – “it’s the reflection of yours”. You have the freedom & liberty to do whatever you want & wherever you go. Keep on dreaming, aim HIGH! You’re like an eagle, soaring high in the sky. Keep it up🙂

    • I look at it as a symbolic means; you have perceived it as my reflection. What a wise way of looking at things. I will carry it in my heart Tita Cors. Thanks for dropping by once again!🙂

  5. Buti naman pala it ends well, you had able to control the situation and not blowing it up that can cause a strain of two countries, lol. New Zealand enthralled us and we’re looking forward to visit it someday.

    • Go Sky! And you might as well would like to live there😀. Sa mga Pilipino walang bayad ang tourist visa pag less than 3 months ang travel🙂

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