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While waiting for my flight to mainland Ecuador at Miami International Airport when I bumped into Carmela Navarra (Muntinlupa City). An information-technology analyst in Washington, D.C., she was returning from a trip to Peru.
On my way to the Galapagos, I “Pinoyspotted” Shirley Gaffu Castro (Echague, Isabela), who works in the food court of Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
To be in places where great ideas were born is a one-of-a-kind experience. Such was my observation when I visited the Galapagos, which inspired Charles Darwin to hypothesize the theory of evolution and write the landmark book, On the Origins of Species. But the Galapagos archipelago is only a glimpse of Ecuador, a travel kaleidoscope that also features highlands, coastal lowlands, jungles of the higher Amazon, and a whole range of interesting cultures. The country is definitely a delightful place to visit, feel and enjoy!
My traveling companion in mainland Ecuador was Penelope Flores, Ph.D. (Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro), a professor emeritus in education at San Francisco State University. We learned from the ikat weaving demonstration of Ana Ulloa Vera in San Pedro de los Olivos, which is near Cuenca, Ecuador.
I went shopping in Puerto Ayora on the waterfront on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos. I met Philip Lao (Manila) and Irene Ong Lao (Davao City), who are a stockbroker and a homemaker, respectively. They were on a cruise in the Galapagos.
My tour group took a boat to go to Seymour Airport on the island of Baltra in the Galapagos. I happened to sit with a couple from San Francisco: Junerose Juan and Ruslan Sokolov. She is a speech pathologist, whereas he is a software engineer. Junerose speaks Spanish and Tagalog, and her parents are from Nueva Ecija in the Philippines. Ruslan, who is originally from Russia, celebrated his birthday in Galapagos.
Returning from my trip to mainland Ecuador, I enjoyed conversing in Ilocano with Modesto Romualdo (Banna, Ilocos Norte). He is a baggage handler for an airline company at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
Rey E. de la Cruz, Ed.D., writes from Chicagoland when he is not loving the arts and traveling. He is the author of the children’s book, Ballesteros on My Mind: My Hometown in the Philippines, which also has Ilocano, Spanish, and Tagalog versions.
More from Rey E. de la Cruz