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Bucket List for the Oldies

By: Ma. Glaiza LeeBucket List for the Oldies

Traveling is for everyone. Even lolo and lola need a break sometimes. But while you are excited to spend time with your grandparents, you need to take into consideration some things for them to really enjoy their vacation.

Today's traveling seniors are most often retired individuals who have enough time and spending money to spare. However, they probably would not be traveling the way they did during their younger years. For one, there is their health and safety to consider. Two, they are looking for different things. 

So, what do these traveling seniors look for in a travel destination?

First, they want to connect. Some seniors travel to reconnect with their roots and perhaps reminisce about the bygone years. They want to experience local culture, staying longer in a single destination to revel in its sights and sounds. They would seek places beyond the ordinary tourist destinations. 

Second, while seniors don't necessarily have small travel budgets, they want to get the most out of their hard-earned money. Frugality has always been their middle name. Since they know how hard it is to earn money, seniors put a premium on quality more than quantity. They also have that desire to keep traveling and enjoy the rest of their lives. 

Third, they consider safety and sanitation. Given their physical condition, they are often concerned about keeping themselves safe and protecting important things such as their travel documents and money. They put much thought on food safety -- whether they would have anything to eat based on their medical conditions and as recommended by their physicians, or whether the water is safe for them to drink. 

With all these things considered, the Philippines has destinations that would appeal to the senior citizens. After all, it is considered as one of Southeast Asia's top destinations for retirees. There are many expats who head to the country to enjoy their golden years in comfort and at a low cost. Best of all, senior citizens here in the country can save quite a lot on their travels, including train and airline tickets. Just present their senior card, and they automatically get a 20% discount on almost everything.

So, whether your 60-year-old lola wants to have a holiday with her amigas, or your adventurous 70-year-old grandpa hoping to go on a trek and enjoy nature, there are trip ideas they can do. Here are some suggestions for them: 

Go on a cruise. Cruise ships have everything – they can feast at fine-dining restaurants, enjoy entertainment shows, lounge at the deck while soaking in the gorgeous panoramas, take a dip at the pool, and visit places when the ship docks at the harbor. You don't have to worry about their safety since there are medical facilities onboard. Many cruise companies prioritize elderly passengers - having early boarding and disembarkation, wheelchair-accessible decks and entertainment venues, and off-shore assistance.  
Choose a wellness holiday. There are many medical tourism destinations in the Philippines, which has been ranked eight in the international medical tourism industry. According to a list compiled by the International Healthcare Research Center and the Medical Tourism Association (MTA), Canada took the top spot for providing the most suitable economical, secure and cultural environment, and an acceptable healthcare cost; followed by United Kingdom, Israel, Singapore, Costa Rica, Italy, and Germany. The growth in the tourist influx for the Philippine medical tourism is partly because most Filipino healthcare providers can speak English quite fluently. The other reasons would be the world-class health and wellness facilities that offer high-quality medical treatment at very reasonable prices.

Have picnics at the park. In Metro Manila, there are few parks that can be a good respite for the elderly. In Quezon City, the La Mesa Ecopark has tree-lined trails that are perfect for simple trekking and afternoon stroll, while Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife has beautiful environs that grandparents who are into photography would prefer. For those who are into physical activities, the UP Sunken Garden is perfect for running and biking. For those who are feeling a little patriotic, Rizal Park might be the best place for them. 

Walk down memory lane in Intramuros. Ride a calesa and visit historical spots such as Manila Cathedral, Fort Santiago, San Agustin Church, and Casa Manila. Stroll along the walls and try sumptuous food in its fine-dining restaurants. Some calesa ride can even take you to Rizal Park.

Go museum-hopping. There are museums in Manila that are located near each other and give free entrance. Grandparents with their apos can learn more about the Philippine history, culture, and tangible heritage at National Museum, located near Manila City Hall. They can also immerse themselves in stars and galaxy at the Planetarium. Metropolitan Museum, Ayala Museum, and BSP Museum, among others, have good collections too. 

Be in awe of Manila Ocean Park’s marine life attractions. Perfect for family outings, Manila Ocean Park showcases the marine biodiversity in its huge aquarium. It will surely capture the hearts of the kids and kids at heart.

Reminisce about the olden days in Corregidor. Just an hour or so away from Manila, the lolo’s and lola’s can relive the heroism and bravery of the World War II veterans as they ride a tram around the historical spots in the island such as Malinta Tunnel, Pacific War Memorial, the barracks, and lighthouse, among others.

Indulge their artistic sensibilities at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Watch world-class productions - whether it is ballet, theater, or music - at the national center. Visit the exhibits at the Main Gallery. The CCP provides elderly-friendly facilities to help grandparents make the most of their stay at the cultural center and truly enjoy their artistic journey. 
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