“Mein Apna Pakistan Se Mohabat karta Houn” – Wallei A Filipino Turns Pakistani
Jovago Pakistan recently interviewed “Wallei Bautista Trinidad”, a Filipino footwear professional. He visited Pakistan and fell in love with the hospitality. Earlier he was reluctant to visit Pakistan due to the terrorism stories spread by media. But, his experience was completely different in Pakistan.
Read his full story and travel experience here.
Our first question is who is Wallei Bautista Trinidad?
Wallei Bautista Trinidad is a Dubai-based Filipino footwear professional who specializes in creative direction, product research and development and dabbles in several projects and interests. He is a self-taught photographer and writes occasionally. He would rather sit under a tree than partying. He believes that intelligent and substantial conversations are far better than shopping.
How many countries you have visited so far?
Not more than 10. Most of my travels are work-related.
How do you finance your trips?
Since most of my trips are related to my job, so it’s financed by the company. My Pakistan trip is personal so I have to take a leave and saved money for the trip.
Any 3 money saving tips while traveling you would like to share?
Plan your trip ahead. If you have some friends who can accommodate you and willing to invite you to stay on their homes, that’s good. It enriches your experience. If you don’t find anyone, then staying on guest houses and budget hotels will help you save some amount rather than staying in hotels. Remember that you need to sleep only on that place because you spend most of your time outside exploring the destination.
Instead of eating in restaurants, try to eat from the small food stall in the streets and less expensive cafeterias. You are not only saving money from this but your experience of getting a taste of their food that will make your journey worth interesting.
Find a friend. Sometimes good Samaritans are just around the corner. So instead of renting and getting taxis you can be with them as they are ready to bring you in the places they fully understand. You ended up enjoying the journey while knowing their culture.
What do you like the most about traveling?
My beliefs and worldviews are challenged when I travel. From this you learn to have a deeper appreciation and understanding of the people and the place. It is a privilege of witnessing their way of life. Meeting people of different culture is like earning another soul.
The most exciting thing about traveling is disconnecting us from the regularities of life. Breaking up the monotony for a while is a great way in reducing stress and giving your life a dose of excitement. We expand our perspective and horizon over a lot of things. This experience will teach us more about life and realities.
What do you dislike the most about traveling?
The pains of carrying heavy baggage is what I dislike the most when I travel.
What was the primary reason to visit Pakistan?
I got the courage to visit Pakistan because of the assurance that I will enjoy the trip and because I will stay with my friend’s family. I was invited by Umar who lives in Sikandarpur Village in Haripur. Primarily, I want to know their way of living and do something I have not done in my life. It is all about discovering Pakistan and its people.
What was your perception about Pakistan before your trip?
The decision to visit Pakistan was not made lightly as all of my family members and friends are telling about bombing and terrorism. This is actually my main concern. But my Pakistani friend gave me an assurance that they will take care of me and ensure of my safety.
Knowing Pakistan as a third world country like Philippines, it is viewed as having some of the major problems like corruption in the government, garbage and pollution, traffic, population explosion and underdevelopment.
My perception about Pakistan is based on how media portrays it. Most of what I used to read about is the negative thing not until I went deeper of knowing it.
How will you describe your trip to Pakistan in three words?
Amazingly delightful journey!
What makes Pakistan different from countries you have visited so far?
Pakistan is heaven. This is the thing that I will always say. Everyone was surprised seeing all my photos and most of my friends can’t believe that it was Pakistan. Those picturesque landscapes, jolly people, vibrant environment are the things that can be seen from all my photos.
I just did not make an experience; I got a second family in Pakistan and made a lot of good friends. Pakistan is my second home away from home.
Which cities you have visited in Pakistan? Which one you liked the most? And why?
Abbottabad, Murree, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Haripur are some of the cities I have visited. I fell in love with Haripur which for me is a land where tourism is largely unheard of thus I ask myself if, “Is journeying to Haripur worth braving the unknown?”
In a three-week journey, I combed the depths of Haripur in search of fascinating spots, unique culture, and sensational way of life. Immersing myself to what the locals of Haripur has to offer, I found what wonders have been kept from the world, in a city that is less known to others.
Haripur is one I’ll always go back to. There is such a great amount of places to re-discover, an abundance of mountains and hills, lakes and sceneries. The people are so hospitable and warm treating me as a member of their family. I think I found my second home in Haripur.
If you get a chance to visit Pakistan again, which 3 destinations you would like to visit?
Skardu in Gilgit, Baltistan
Neelum Valley in Azad Kashmir
Saif ul Malook in Naran Kaghan
What were some of the problems you faced in Pakistan as a foreigner?
Finding malls and restaurants and network problem. I don’t understand why I was having difficulty in finding good signal.
What will be your answer if anyone asks you, “Why Should I visit Pakistan?”
Pakistan is a piece of heaven. Its cities and provinces are slices worth visiting. Pakistan is rich with its culture, tradition and heritage and blessed with natural wealth mostly unexploited. A journey to Pakistan is like having glimpse of the world. Each province offers an identity different from each other in terms of natural interest, language and a hint of tradition united with warmth and hospitality. There is so much to be discovered in Pakistan.
You must have researched on Pakistan before visiting. What is different in the real Pakistan?
I have known Pakistan as early as 10 years old. I was watching documentary channel that time and what I saw was ingrained on my mind. I had already fascination in reading World History, Asian History and knowing the cultures of the country and South Asia and South East Asian countries are just too close to study and I had this dream that one day I will visit these countries.
I have never expected that Pakistan is so beautiful with a lot of good people.
Out of the different types of cuisines you had in Pakistan, which one was your favorite?
I have always loved the Chicken Tikka which is cooked in perfection. Chicken Kadai/Karahi is next which later on, I was able to learn how to prepare.
Share one of your most memorable moment or incident in/about Pakistan.
Every day of my stay in Pakistan is considered memorable. Each day is a journey worth remembering. I even had experienced separation anxiety after leaving Pakistan. It was just like a separation of a child from a mother. So I told to myself that soon I will come back.
Any ending note for readers?
My experience in Pakistan is a golden treasure I will keep intact. The memories I had and the people I met will live forever. This is a testament of life being beautiful in so many ways and I was blessed to have found my way to experience this chance of a lifetime.
“Mein apna Pakistan se mohabat karta houn. Bahut Shukriya Pakistan”.
With this, Jovago ended the interview session with Wallei .