A Christmas tale reworked
TRAVEL UPDATE - Marlinda Angbetic Tan (The Freeman) - December 18, 2014 - 12:00am

We may not be too conscious about it but after the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and she conceived the Son of God, Mary hastened to be with her elderly cousin Elizabeth -- a long-barren pious woman who was about to give birth. So the Babe in Mary's womb traveled, and John (later to be known as the Baptist) is said to have "leaped with joy" in his mother Elizabeth's womb during this divine visit.

The next journey of the Babe in Mary's womb was a long one -- when all the people throughout the Roman Empire were ordered to go back to their ancestral towns for a census to be conducted. Hence, Joseph came home to Bethlehem with his pregnant wife Mary. Bursting with unexpected throngs of "balikbayans," Bethlehem had no more room for travelers. Bone-weary from Nazareth, Joseph found a small cave for animals, where Mary gave birth to Jesus.

Matthew's gospel tells of three learned men or magi (a "magus" is a person of mystical powers drawn from a vast knowledge) who traveled far from the east, looking for the "king of the Jews" whose time and place of birth they calculated based on a constant shining star. Finding him in a lowly dwelling, they still bowed before Jesus and offered Him gold, frankincense and myrrh.

And the last journey that the Baby Jesus made was when Joseph fled to Egypt with his family, after a dream warning him of eminent danger.

Early this month, I too felt a bone-weary enervation after the sleepless flight from Singapore to Manila, arriving in the hotel at dawn on a Thursday. Like what Joseph and the pregnant Mary on a donkey may have experienced, I felt my world measured by every minute that deprived me of a bed. So it is with great appreciation that I now commend the front office people of Remington Hotel - Resorts World who gave me a room pronto, and even granted my request for a late check-out later that afternoon. What invaluable sense of comfort you can afford an exhausted guest by prompt efficient service.  And when I checked out, I requested for a hotel pick up by Marriott Resorts World, which the Remington concierge seamlessly handled. Bravo!

Then Typhoon Ruby made her procrastinating entrance into the Visayas, just when I was about to make my Manila stopover well worth my while, by returning on Saturday afternoon. Forthwith, I requested TJ Ybañez - a friendly Cebuano at the front desk who checked me in -- to cancel my 2nd night's gift voucher as I was able to get a flight a day ahead. (Thanks, Marijo Araneta!) Despite his absence when I checked out, everything went smoothly. Another bravo, Marriott Resorts World! You always have world class service!

From the gospels of Matthew and Luke, we gathered the peregrinations aforementioned. Even before He was born, Jesus was already traveling long distances, as we now travel far and wide for varied reasons and persuasions. Christmas is a time for homecomings or wedding celebrations to go to. Although December is always considered "the worst time of the year to travel," airlines have wizened up to offer promo fares with straitened windows for travel time -- dangled months in advance. Book and buy basis.

Cathay Pacific has very recently offered Hongkong fares at unbelievably low prices. So with Philippine Airlines, to some local and/or newly opened foreign destinations. The name of the game is vigilance.  And of course the quick decision as to the dates of travel to a destination on offer.

The other option is to watch out for travel fairs which have been regularly occurring not only in Manila but now also in Cebu. Be ready with a photocopy of your passport and your credit card. Sometimes, using a particular credit card can give you a further discount.

Have a blessed Christmas with loved ones and friends, wherever you may be this season. Travel safely!


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