Nanayisms: 10 Travel Tips Filipinos Learn From Their Nanays

As I grow older, I realise more and more how marvelous mothers are. I use the word “marvelous” because they’re the epitome of real-life superhero. My mother has a day job, but she’s still very hands-on with our family and our home. She can do everything — from washing the dishes under five minutes to repairing clothes so that they always look brand new. She gave birth to me, if that isn’t a miracle in itself.

Oh, and she can make me shut up with her silence. Not a lot of people can do that.

My mother is cooler than Captain Marvel, and I know most of you feel the same way with yours. After all, Filipino mothers — nanays, as we like to call them — are something else. We travellers can definitely learn a lot from their nuggets of wisdom. This Mother’s Day, let’s remember everything they’ve taught us about life and travel.

1. Pack snacks and meals

In nanay’s words: “O eto, baon mo.”

When we travel with our mothers, we never go hungry. She always has a bottomless pit of food which she somehow manages to fit inside her purse. Again superhero. Now that we’re travelling on our own, our moms still find a way to feed us. For them, there’s nothing worse than seeing us starving. Before we leave the house, they give us packed meals or snacks so that we don’t go hungry. This is definitely something we can consider as a travel tip especially if we’re travelling on a budget.

2. Be polite to strangers

In nanay’s words: “Magmano ka, tita mo ‘yan!”

Everyone is family, so we must treat them politely. We don’t necessarily need to “mano” strangers, but we can at least be kind and respectful to everyone. When abroad, we can treat our fellow Filipinos as our own brothers or sisters. We can make small talk. Or ask them where to eat or shop for good deals. We’ll hardly feel homesick this way. Most overseas Filipino workers love welcoming their kababayans to their countries, anyway. It’s in our culture of hospitality.

3. Opt for home-cooked meals

In nanay’s words: “Sus, kayang kaya kong lutuin ito. Nilagyan lang nila ng bauang at maraming paminta.”

Why spend our hard-earned money on five-star restaurants abroad when we can go to the market and buy fresh ingredients instead? Aside from being a spot for good deals, a public market is always teeming with local culture. Might as well visit one when we can. Let’s buy “pasalubong” here too, while we’re at it.

4. Take photos

In nanay’s words: “Mag-pose ka nga rito, anak!”

Every place is photogenic as long as we’re in it. At least, that’s what our mothers firmly believe in. Let’s do them a favour and let’s strike a pose everywhere. Yes, I mean everywhere. The airport. The hotel lobby. In front of a convenience store. By the right-hand car. Beside the pink tree. With the cute baby with blue eyes (with permission from its parents, of course).

Also read: How To Take Good Photos When You’re a Solo Traveller

5. Be wary of danger

In nanay’s words: “Mag-ingat ka, ha! Wag magpagabi.”

It’s a dangerous world out there, especially when the sun goes down. Some of our mothers’ golden rules to live by: Watch out for trouble. Stay alert at all times. Bring an umbrella to shoo away evil people. Oh, and be home by 9pm.

6. Go on food crawls

In nanay’s words: “Ubusin mo yan, maraming bata ang nagugutom.”

We have to taste everything. Everything. We’re never too fat, and if we are, it’s probably a good thing. We have to finish all of our food, because a lot of kids are starving. Rice is life, because farmers work hard for every grain on our plates. Truly, this is a travel tip most Filipinos enjoy. We’re generally foodies, and our travels can’t be complete without tasting local flavours.

7. Don’t spend too much on souvenirs

In nanay’s words: “Mas mura ‘yan sa Divisoria!”

It’s tempting to splurge on souvenirs, but our moms remind us that there are always more budget-friendly options out there. Before buying an item, let’s convert our money into peso. This way, it’s easier to see if an item is actually worth spending on. If we can buy it for half the price and at the same quality at Divisoria, then we might as well pass on it.

8. Learn to navigate properly

In nanay’s words: “Mata ang ginagamit sa paghahanap, hindi bibig!”

Our mothers have the super power of locating everything in five seconds. It’s about time we develop this skill, as well. We must learn to use the map, or the GPS at least, so that we’ll no longer be scared about getting lost. We can find everything, after all, as long as we remember to use our eyes.

9. Be smart with your money

In nanay’s words: “Hindi tinatae ang pera!”

As adults, we now understand that money doesn’t grow on trees. We’ve all probably learned the art of haggling from watching our mothers do it so professionally. We also now are able to spot good bargains. What other money-saving techniques didn’t our mothers already teach us? (Clue: Spotting great flight deals through this Facebook group. Or maybe your mother knows that, too.)

10. Believe in yourself

In nanay’s words: “Kaya mo yan, anak. Ikaw pa.”

No one believes in us as much as our mothers do. Oftentimes, when we’re too caught up in our personal problems, they’re the ones who remind us of our abilities and strengths. When our mothers say that we can do something, we better believe them. They’re the ones who know us the most, after all. And, they’re the ones who know what true hardship really is all about. They’ve sacrificed so much since conceiving us.

Also read: 10 Things You Can Do in the Philippines For Your Mom on Mother’s Day

Happy mother’s day to our dear mothers! We wouldn’t be here (and there… and practically everywhere) without them!


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