“I make sure to run wherever I’m at, kasi doon ko nadi-discover ‘yung mga lugar na hindi napupuntahan,” said Gretchen Ho of her must-dos when travelling to new places. A frequent traveler, she likes discovering non-touristy places and immersing in the local culture. “Actually, ‘yun ‘yung una kong ginagawa para I know how to navigate the place. Pumupunta ako sa mga kanto, kalye, o kaya mga coffee shop.”
“In the Philippines, the most beautiful [place] would be Batanes,” shared Gretchen. She has already travelled to many places in the country, but was still taken aback when she saw the beauty of the place. “Akala ko nakita ko na ‘yung ganda ng Pilipinas, pero hindi pa pala. May mas maganda pa.”
She was all praises for the island at the northernmost tip of the Philippines. “Untouched ‘yung nature doon. ‘Yung mga tao doon, sobrang bait. ‘Yung kultura doon, Pinoy na Pinoy talaga, hindi pa masyadong nababahiran ng ibang kultura. ‘Yung pagkain, ang sarap! Nakaka-relax lang to be there.”
When it comes to travelling outside the country, her favorite destination is Australia. “Recently, galing na ako sa Australia, pero feeling ko marami pang hind nakaka-discover ng Australia,” she said.
The country’s vibe that calls out to her athletic side. “Puwedeng tumakbo, puwedeng mag-surf, puwede to engage in a lot of sporting activities,” said Gretchen. “Tapos ‘yung food, grabe, sobrang sarap talaga! Chocolates, wine, cheese, meat, fruit. ‘Yung fruit nila, ang lalaki!
“Umikot ako sa mga universities e. Education is really top-notch. ‘Yung mga tao, very pleasant.” Aside from their educational system, Gretchen also likes the city lifestyle. “Medyo chill, kasi ‘yun ang gusto nilang lifestyle. May balance with family time and work time.”
To solo travelers, she advised: “Don’t go only to the touristy places. Be brave to go off the beaten path.”
She also empahsized the importance of safety. “You don’t want what happened to me to happen to you. Sa sobrang brave ko sa life, nakalimutan ko na ‘yung safety ko,” referring to the London incident where someone stole her belongings. “Kailangan din be mindful of your surroundings. Always be safe.”