Sun.Star Baguio - - OPINION -

TwasHE beauty with Vi­enna in Aus­tria is it sur­rounded by dif­fer­ent coun­tries. Time when we would first have to se­cure var­i­ous visas for ev­ery coun­try around Europe. I had to ap­ply for 12 in 1992. Even with one, Juan was not guar­an­teed en­try. Juan be­ing a Filipino was given more at­ten­tion to say the least.

I will not place blame on any Juan. For ob­vi­ous rea­sons a lot of Filipinos have found new lives to live in many of these coun­tries. Some il­le­gally, most legally. To­day I have no­ticed that Juan is well placed from au­thor­i­ties. Ap­par­ently Filipinos are per­ceived to be the bet­ter "aliens".

Around the world to­day, Juan sees Juan as a trav­eler and tourist. Juan seems to be found ev­ery­where. Es­pe­cially in tourist spots and shop­ping cen­ters. Now also food­ies, where the good food is. In­deed we are the bet­ter Juans.

Juan con­sid­ers trav­el­ing as a priv­i­lege, it is, it costs. Still, Juan does. It is also be­cause travel may be eas­ier, ac­ces­si­ble and cheap. Bor­ders too are now bor­ing. Upon en­try to Sin­ga­pore I was greeted by 2 ma­chines. 1 to check my pass­port, the sec­ond to con­firm my thumbprint. That was it. In and out of Vi­enna to 6 dif­fer­ent coun­tries in only a week of travel, we crossed var­i­ous bor­ders, al­most ev­ery day that 1 week. Upon en­try, we would park at a gaso­line sta­tion and buy a sticker. Yes a sticker that is placed in the wind­shield. Be­fore plac­ing, the date is writ­ten, just that and in we go.

I would re­mem­ber when we would line up our ve­hi­cles along var­i­ous gates and pass­ports were all checked. Surely some ner­vous­ness. Anx­i­ety al­ways. What ifs. Mostly some stare down from the guards and some awk­ward smile from Juan.

Se­cur­ing an Ital­ian visa was the worst. I won't ex­plain much from the ex­pe­ri­ence but it was less me­morable, the rea­son why I don't have to share it, I for­got about it al­ready. Still upon en­try to Mi­lan in Italy, Juan was out of the Im­mi­gra­tion in a few min­utes, not 5. This time I failed to no­tice how beau­ti­ful the Malpenza Air­port is.

Once in Seat­tle, we hap­pen to find the Cana­dian Em­bassy. We en­ter, we in­quire, we get some forms, an in­ter­view, we get 1 week. We drive through and are wel­comed with open arms.

I love air­ports around the world. All beau­ti­ful, each with its own dis­tinct beauty. Maybe "aliens" find ours too. I don't know. Surely some ex­otic feel to it. Maybe. Our Im­mi­gra­tion is also dis­tinct, I will not ex­plain fur­ther again, Juan

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