Taiwan is located just above the Philippines and yet it took me years to finally get the courage to explore this part of the world.
A few years ago, I had a series of bad experiences while travelling in Hong Kong. Since then, I unconsciously developed a trauma towards the Chinese people. Don’t get me wrong, my family have so many Chinese friends and we love them a lot.
But because of my mental health condition, I have a hard time processing and getting through distressing events. For the longest time, I had wanted to visit Taiwan but could not bring myself to book a flight.
My curiosity about the country intensified after watching a series of documentaries on their history and politics. Then the news came out about the visa-free entry being extended for Filipino travellers. The next thing I know, I was on a plane to Taipei.
Eastar Jet’s Economy Class legroom…
Taoyuan International Airport
When we landed, I suddenly had a mild panic attack. I was overwhelmed by all the people talking in Chinese. Their tones and the sounds around me brought me back to a scary place.
I started walking in a daze, my heart pumping loudly. I could not read the signs and directions so I just followed the crowd like a zombie. I walked so carefully not wanting to bump into anyone. I forced my brain to focus hard enough, so my body won’t say or do anything that would cause a scene.
When I reached immigration, the officer let me in. Without saying anything, he returned my passport and gave me a smile. Instantly, I felt like a black cloud had lifted above me and I felt so much love for the Taiwanese people.
I felt my brain coming back and I could understand words and letters again! I felt this sudden rush of excitement, like I wanted to explore every corner of Taiwain and talk to all the people I meet.
Strange eh? For me, that kind of extreme shifts happen all the time.
As I got out of the airport, I saw this…
I wish the overcrowded Philippine airports would install something like this at our arrivals area. It’s so brilliant! It’s a big LCD screen showing the main doors of the airport. You get to see who are coming out of the airport. No need to push and shove just to be in the front lines of the waiting area.
It was a beautiful day outside.
Welcome to Taiwan!