Remember: Those of us who are true adventurers in their heart, understand “why” they are adventurers, however, those who are not, can never understand, no matter how we try to explain it to them! It’s easier for them to say disparaging remarks such as, “your crazy!”, or “your going to kill yourself!”, etc., etc…
After my leg was amputated (Done in the Philippines, Christmas, 2003), I went crazy searching for information and locations that had activities and adventures for wheelchair bound people, to no avail. What I found was nothing but “handicapped accessible” sites (mostly restaurants, hotels, etc), but no real travel experiences, action activities and adventures for those of us who do not wish to stay at home and watch television everyday with nothing but doctors appointments to interrupt the monotony… and this was compounded 100 times when I had open heart surgery! My own biggest personal concern was, if I have only one leg, will I swim in circles? (ha ha, really!) I actually bought and took a Sea-doo (R) personal underwater scooter in case I could not swim. But I never needed it! (I would also like to add that my prosthetic company even made me a leg with an adjustable ankle so I could use fins on the amputated leg, but I very rarely use it.) I swim, snorkel and free-dive perfectly well with one leg and fin.
Despite the warnings of others, and their predictions that I would kill myself, and others who said it was just “crazy talk” and that I would never return to the Philippines, six months after my amputation (and 3 months after a heart angioplasty) I was back in the Philippines, snorkeling and free-diving in the ocean with the very same doctor who amputated my leg! I found I could snorkel/swim 4 km, if I take it easy. I was in heaven!! I tell you that my videos and underwater photography made believers of them all! And every time I take a client to the Philippines, (disabled or not) I see their faces light up, just as mine did that day.
What to do?
It was then that I decided to just keep on doing what I already did (and loved) and that meant part-time work with the law firm, and to keep guiding and assisting others with their petitions and pen-pals, investigations, etc., as well as assisting with their challenges, questions and problems related to the Philippines.
But after more than 20 years of traveling back and forth to the Philippines, (plus having the Philippine Travelers Website for 15 years), I realized that I had so many friends, family and contacts there, that with their assistance, there was no reason I could not continue my travel adventures, (with a few adjustments of course).
But this time I had to admit that things “were” different, and that my abilities “had” changed, prompting minor adjustments (As Clint Eastwood so aptly said, “A man’s got to know his limitations”. Hence, the purpose of this Blog. Although the Philippine-travelers website is still one of the longest, most informative, educational and concise web sites regarding the Philippines, filing of petitions, and numerous tools, resources and links, due to my own situation (amputation), I became even more aware of the need for research to assist the senior and/or disabled-handicapped travelers.
For over a decade I have fielded hundreds of questions by so-called* disabled-handicapped* persons wishing to travel to the Philippines to meet someone. However, despite my assurances, their physical challenge, as well as discouragment by family and/or friends, they hesitantly decided not to make the trip. (I have had calls and emails since, advising me that they wished they had followed their gut feeling, heart and dream and had actually gone to the Philippines). ( *Note: Even though I hate the words disabled and handicapped, but other than “physically challenged” what other words do we have? Therefore, it is necesary for the search engines.)
In many of those cases, the reason for staying was due to negative reports and internet misinformation. Primarily, they wished to know of facilities that were suitable for them and their wheelchairs or walkers. Hence, this blog was created.
Well, I personally heard it all too, and maybe my case is even worse than yours, since even my doctors advised me not to travel yet. (Always obey your doctors advise). But I knew I just had to much to do and I was not going to continue laying in my hospital bed and withering away as to many do! Besides, it’s not the LENGTH of years contained in one’s life that counts, but rather, the QUALITY of life contained in those years!
Remember that a trip to the Philippines is not just a “trip”, it is also an action “ADVENTURE ACTIVITY”, especially if you are meeting someone special. You will encounter various and new languages, customs, cultures, foods, music, dances and family attitudes. Every island and province is different! There are 33 dialects, with Tagalog being the national language. For the new traveler it is best to have a companion or guide who knows and understands the customs and cultures of the Philippines, as well as to help gather and prepare the documentation needed as attachments to an immigration petition for spouse or fiancee..
So, if you are seriously considering a trip to the Philippines, I strongly suggest that you: (1) Read our website carefully, then re-read it again; (2) Examine your situation, abilities and disabilities; (3) Weigh all options, and (4) Consult your physician. If you decide a trip to the Philippines is right for you, (5) We are here to help!
As the famous author Napoleon Hill once wrote, in his best seller, “Think and Grow Rich”, “What the mind can conceive, the man can achieve.”
Later this year we will take on retirement in the Philippines, as well as acquiring or buying property in the Philippines. Both which are very tricky subjects for non-Filipino citizens, and cost many American men their life’s savings!
Here I sit, in the Philippines writing pages to this blog, with a beautiful Filipina at my side, enjoying the Christmas and New Year holidays! All I can say is…
WISH YOU WERE HERE!!
GOD BESS AND MABUHAY!
TO THOSE WHO HAVE ALREADY BEEN TO THE PHILIPPINES:
If you have been to the Philippines, and know of certain hotels, resorts, restaurants, adventures, etc., who are disabled-friendly, please inform us here! This can be anything from a simple wheelchair ramp, an elevator, a club or restaurant or other venue that has a flat floor all the way through, including but not limited to, the restrooms (In Philippines called “C.R.”, short for comfort room.). Even the chairs in an establishment matter. Have you ever seen an amputee try to sit on an elevated spinning bar stool? It would make a great comedy routine, if it wasn’t so difficult. (And most clubs in Angeles City have these bar stools/chairs). It would challenge even a Gold medal winner from the Special Olympics!
More to be added soon………