Traveling with someone not only gives you lifelong memories but can also deepen a relationship and reveal surprising new layers. In celebration of Father’s Day, we asked our readers to share some of their travel adventures with their dads — and the funny, heartwarming or moving realizations they had along the way.
“My dad and I travelled to Houston from Pakistan, where we were based, for me to have surgery for a recurring desmoid tumor. We got to visit NASA and ride in models of spacecraft, even saw the mission control station — fascinating! It took away my fears and nervousness.
“My dad was a very quiet person and just being with me and making sure I enjoyed the visit to take my mind off surgery was comforting. I didn’t realize until much later that he must have spent so much on this! Yes, there was medical insurance, but what about our flights? Our hotel? Our NASA tour? And it turns out, the hospital was one of the best in the world! He was such a simple guy but he wanted the best for me.
“After waking up from surgery in the hospital, there was some commotion as there was something on the television about some guy named Elvis, who died some months before. Being a 15-year-old living in Pakistan, sheltered from the western world, I didn’t know the guy. Why all the fuss? Turns out he was famous. But not as famous as my dad to me at that moment. Gosh I miss my dad.” —Roger Santos Jr. on dad Roger Sr.
New Year-Turned-Silent Night
“My dad and I both love Hong Kong. We decided to ring in the New Year there some years ago. It was just the two of us, and the rest of the family remained at home. It was a very new experience because we always spend the holidays at home — as in strict traditions that we follow during Christmas and New Year.
“We ate bowls of noodles for early dinner and planned to watch the countdown by the harbour with a view of the colorful buildings and the supposed fireworks show. We went there early to reserve a slot, maybe three hours before midnight. Soon, the place was packed. Then the countdown started: 3, 2, 1. A short fireworks display and then it was done. We both looked at each other and said, ‘That’s it?’ Everyone quietly went home after. We were used to hours of loud noises and merrymaking along the streets and unlimited fireworks — traditions in the Philippines. Apparently, it’s noisier during Chinese New Year. It was just eerily quiet for a New Year! So, we went home and vowed to continue our holiday traditions at home every year and to visit Hong Kong around Chinese New Year!” —Erickson “Idge” Mendiola on dad Eric
“Growing up, my dad loved to take all of us kids on adventures and indulged our affinity for the outdoors — even to this day — hiking, biking, caving, spelunking, diving, you name it. There’s no other way to bond with your family because of amazing experiences and memories that last a lifetime.
“In 2014, my frisbee teammates and I were planning an overnight Pulag trip. Since my dad had always wanted to go up Pulag, I invited him. And to my surprise, he said yes.
“We took the Ambangeg trail, which took about five hours for us that day. My dad was such a trooper. He was around 62 at the time and a quadruple bypass survivor at that! He carried a light pack, had no complaints and took his time on the trail. He’s always been an outdoorsy, adventurous guy so he was quite in his element. We got to the campsite at around 4 pm and we set up our digs for the night. We built a fire, cooked dinner and hung out with my teammates. It was glorious!
“At around 12 midnight it started to rain — not light rain mind you. It really started to pour — a mountaintop storm! Our tent started to flood and all our belongings were soaked. My dad and I hardly slept in our tent because we kept taking the water out. As soon as the day broke, we immediately packed up and began to descend.
“The way down was quite stressful. It was wet, gloomy, windy and most of all, the trail was muddy. There were portions of the hike down where we were hanging on to the sides of the mountain, carefully navigating a safe path down. One word that comes to mind is ‘buwis buhay’.
“My dad and I looked out for each other the entire time. It was grueling yes, but we bonded so much in those 48 hours. By the time we finally got back to Baguio, we kissed the ground of our hotel with high spirits. I’ve always known he was patient — and this trip was definitely proof of that.
“I’ve always considered myself a Daddy’s girl, being the only girl in the family, so I’ve always loved spending time with him. But our Pulag trip was the first time we really had an adult father-daughter activity without my mom or brothers. An added plus was he got to know my friends.” —Mel Lozano Alcaraz on dad Tony Lozano
The Long Drive with Lolo
“My lolo is 88 years old and has been prohibited from driving for ages but I think he still wants to be self-sufficient so he still drives. He is a typical patriarch and very, very strict. Everyone in our family is scared of him, including me. When he raised me and my sister (because our biological dad abandoned us), super higpit niya so I avoided being in his line of sight.
“He visits our province regularly to take care of things and still looks over the whole clan. When he got sick and could not see the road clearly, he still insisted on driving for five hours! I volunteered to drive for him and during the long drive, I got to spend time with him and saw his vulnerable side — as opposed to the image I had of him growing up. I accompanied him to government offices, wakes, errands and even events, and I learned that he was not only revered by many but he also has a kind heart. People, many of whom he didn’t even know, would come for advice or help. I also learned that even if he did not say it directly, he hates the toxic Filipino culture — may isang nagtatrabaho at doon aasa lahat and using your parents as an emergency fund or using your children as a retirement fund.
“I actually learned a lot from his sermons because he refused to sleep during the trip to keep me company. But the thing that really stayed with me was even though he does not say it, he is proud of me for what I have become.” —Elaine Ganuelas on grandfather Met
Father Knows Best
“Sometime in 2018, I went into depression for one reason or another. My dad asked me to go to Davao with him to visit my sick grandmother but at that time I already knew he felt it. It was a quick trip but it took me out of my rabbit hole. He never asked me what was wrong. But he brought me to church — my first time after a long time. I told him I didn’t feel God even though I tried. I saw it made him sad but more because it worried him. He told me I was carrying too much on my shoulders, to take it easy and everything would be alright.
“It was not so much what he said but being beside him made me feel like a son again, a child to be more exact. A child that didn’t have to carry the weight of others because I had my father to carry me. When we got back, I strangely snapped out of it. I got back on my feet in no time.” —Jan Aliling on dad Jing