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Virtual travel

If you check my Facebook feed, you will see that I post my travel photos.

I went to the Great Wall of China last April 22, Boracay last April 27, Jerusalem last May 29, Singapore last Aug. 5, Paris last Aug. 6, New York last Oct. 28, and, most recently, Los Angeles last Dec. 4.

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None of these are real.

I just selected photographs of mine that were easily edited. Then, I superimposed these photos on stock images of the abovementioned locations.

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I adjusted the brightness and contrast of the two layers to create an effect of realism. Unfortunately, some of them were easily identified as edited.

I received comments about my work. Many were impressed by my editing skills. Others advised me to keep practicing because what they saw wasn’t good enough.

But the comment that stoked me the most was from my mother, who said, “Anak, makakarating ka rin diyan. Matutupad mo lahat ng pangarap mo sa buhay.”

At that time, more than being touched, I remembered my passport.

My mother, brother and I applied for a passport in 2014. I recalled that the reason behind seeking one was because we wanted to travel to Hong Kong.

That did not happen because of financial constraints. Months after the passports were released, I asked my mother, “What then would be the purpose of our passport?” She replied: “We’ll just use it as an ID.”

Fast forward to 2018, we went back to the DFA Consular Office in SM Megamall to renew our passport. Our first passports were about to expire, a year later, without a single stamp.

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It was puzzling why we would apply for one again if we weren’t going to use it for traveling purposes. My mother reiterated her previous reason: to use it as an ID. Our old passport was punched and the new passport arrived.

Until now, our renewed passports remain spotless.

I understand life’s hardships, that’s why my dream of traveling remains to be of no utmost priority. I rely on my Adobe Photoshop software to jumpstart my yearning to go around the world.

I know you’re thinking why I am this desperate to discover the world with my footsteps. Because I’m hoping to explore the world at a time when most of its gems remain beguiling and significant. With the threats of climate change and political tribalism, I may not be able to see them with my own eyes in the coming years. I don’t want to end up looking at landmarks on a postcard or on Google.

The key to my yearning, I believe, is perseverance. I have four more years before joining the workforce. But even before that first day of employment, I will ensure that I have my piggy bank beside me to start saving pennies for my first trip.

I am optimistic that one day, I will be able to ride an airplane, with a ticket off to somewhere.

Eduelle Jan T. Macababbad, 17, is a Grade 12-HUMSS student from Taytay, Rizal.

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TAGS: DFA, foreign destinations, Passport, photoshop, travel
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