Contributed by Escapes and Diaries
I was beyond excited since the day I booked a flight for my mom and for my brother. The short trip to Boracay was originally arranged for me, my best friend and my youngest sister as well as my couple friends, who were not able to join because they got married on the day of the trip (congratulations to the them by the way).
I know mom would be thrilled because whenever she was at my place and stayed on the balcony, she would always murmur that she wanted to ride an airplane someday. I had been wanting to tag her along my trips, but I couldn’t get the perfect timing. Aside from that, most of my domestic and international trips were backpacking. Mom is 63. I worried that she might not be able to handle things that I do while I’m alone.
When the opportunity came, I grabbed it right away.
They both arrived on the day of our departure. I was the one who packed up all our stuff. I decided to bring only a big pink backpack, the one that I always use for travelling. It weighed 10 kg—all of the items for four. Cool, isn’t it? My sister wanted to bring her whole closet, but I said we should travel light. We were travelling with my best friend, Greg. The two of us have already travelled together before.
We booked an Uber ride for the five of us. We arrived at the airport at least 2 hours before departure time. But my sister and my best friend were booked on another flight and my brother, my mom, and I were leaving three hours ahead of them. At the airport, I saw in mom’s eyes how excited she was to finally ride a plane. She seemed relaxed, but I could feel her excitement. She and my brother were sitting next to each other at the waiting area. It was cold, so she was all wrapped up. It was getting dark as well, so she seemed a bit anxious and couldn’t wait for the moment to finally get on a real huge plane just like she dreamed of.
At last, we were boarding. We waved goodbye to my sister and my bestfriend. Mom kept on laughing out loud while walking her way to AirAsia’s plane. The moment she drew closer to the plane, she exclaimed, “Oh, this plane is so huge in reality!”Her eyes grew big like those of a fat kid who had just seen a chocolate cake! She and my brother couldn’t stop chatting with each other like happy kiddos!
They followed carefully the cabin crew’s’ instructions—from putting on their seatbelt to turning off their phone. I even jokingly told my mom that she would be shocked and feel weird once the plane took off. Upon hearing that, the smile on her face faded.
I gave her the window seat, so she could see the beautiful view. My brother was in the middle seat and I, in the aisle seat. They never stopped babbling during the whole flight. I was overhearing them while I was reading my book. I felt their excitement that reached the highest level.
In the middle of the flight, mom asked me, “Are we moving? Are we stopping in the middle of the clouds and air?” I laughed.
“Don’t worry, mom, I asked my best friend the same question the first time we rode the plane together.”
I just smiled at mom and let her enjoy the moment. The flight took 50 minutes. She said it was too short and she wanted it longer.
I said, “It’s okay, you’ll ride on another plane on our way back to Manila.”
We reached Boracay at around 7pm. It was drizzly. I took charge of everything since I was more knowledgeable when it comes to travelling. From the plane to the bus, ferry and small van that took us to our hotel that night, all of us were exhausted. From getting off the plane, it took us 2.5 hours to reach our hotel. We were glad that our hotel was air-conditioned and the bed was soft and big enough. It was also located near restaurants. While waiting for my sister and my best friend, we ate dinner.
After eating breakfast, we transferred to our next hotel. We took a walk on the beach. My sister and I tried paddling which cost ₱300. We went beach bumming and we got invited to a show at Astoria Boracay where we had free lunch. We headed back to our hotel afterwards. They were exhausted while I decided to hit the beach and be a bum for the whole afternoon.
During my travel with mom, these are the things I learned about her.
1. Mom would always be surprised at how expensive things are
She lives in the province where everything she sees and buys is way much cheaper. Once, she was shocked about how expensive a piece of coconut was. It costs ₱150 on the island.
2. Mom isn’t used to seeing tons of foreigners
Before we reached the place, I told them that being one of the most famous islands in the world, many foreign tourists frequent the spot. She was also culture-shocked as she saw people wearing sexy swimwear while walking on the beach. She wore one which I think she did to get rid of her shyness. I think wearing a swimwear boosted her confidence.
3. She loved the plane ride
I was glad that she loved her first-time experience of riding on an airplane. I hadn’t seen her that much excited before.
4. She loved water activities but is still afraid of water
On the last morning of our stay on the island, we were already discussing with her that we were going to do some water activities such as banana boat. She said a flat no. She was afraid of drowning like I am, but still we did daytime sailing which she extremely enjoyed.
5. She disliked being sun-kissed, but enjoyed swimming
On our second day, all of us decided to hit the beach. The sky was clear and the sun was perfectly shining. I was reading my book while lying on the sand. My sister was hiding from the sun. And guess what? Mom was totally enjoying the turquoise water while in her sexy bikini!
6. She dislikes ref magnet, but still bought one
Whenever mom pays us a visit in the city, she always advises us to remove all the ref magnets since it consumes much energy but when we were strolling around D’ Mall, she bought 7 pieces of ref magnets because she found them cute!
Also read: Top 10 Things To Do in Boracay This Summer
Tips for a smooth travel with a senior citizen
1. Give her the window seat, so she can enjoy the view.
2. Pack stuff for her; take charge.
3. Being well-travelled in the family and learned about the modus operandi at some airports, I made sure to check and organise my mom’s bag and made sure to bring only what was necessary.
4. Try activities that you and the whole family could enjoy. We only had 2 full days on the island, so we maximised our time by spending it on activities that we could all do.
5. Try at least one expensive restaurant. I usually don’t dine out and I rarely try a new restaurant, but since that time was for my mom, we ate good food at one of the restaurants on the island.
6. Book a nice hotel. It doesn’t have to be a 5-star hotel. Of course, you have to consider your budget. Normally, when I’m travelling alone, I just settle for a hostel but this time, it was a bit different. I booked a family room for the four of us. I wanted my mom to feel comfortable. Look for something that’s suitable for your senior citizen mom. I asked my blogger friend, Cai, to help me book the hotels and he was very helpful.
7. Prioritise your mom’s needs. This trip was arranged specially for her. My sister and I coordinated with each other to have the best outcome ever, even though I gave bigger share.
8. Save up and prepare your funds. My sister and I talked about the trip. I booked the flight, hotels and paid for our activities and food.
8. Book a day flight. Unfortunately, the flight that I booked was almost night time, so mom wasn’t able to see the view and sea of clouds because it was already getting dark when we departed from the airport.
Overall, I couldn’t contain the happiness that I felt upon seeing my mom happy after a very long time. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen mom the happiest. Mom had never been this happy before. Whenever she was in my flat, she wondered when she could ride an airplane. I made her dream come true. And I will make sure that it wouldn’t be the last time she would ride an airplane, or the last time she would travel with me. There’s more to come and I’m already planning things. My mom’s happiness is beyond my own happiness.
Also, if you are curious on how much we spent for 3 nights and 4 days on Boracay Island, in total ₱25,000 (all-in). So go on, book and make that trip with your family! And remember to have so much fun on this beautiful island!