As Japan celebrates the amazing Athletes that are competing in the 2020(21) Paralympics we have someone special in travel to celebrate!
Today we’re happy to introduce you to Bea Manlulo! She is WANDERING WHEELS from the Philippines. Being in a wheelchair has not stopped her love of travel. Bea focuses on making sure she is a great advocate for being positive and not letting anything stand in the way of your dreams, so we’ve asked her some questions about how online travel can benefit anyone with accessibility challenges.
Hi Bea, thank you for your time today! Could you please introduce yourself and share a little bit about you?
Hi, everyone! I’m Bea Manlulo, 31, from Manila, Philippines. I was born with Genu Recurvatum, a deformity in the knee joint where the knee bends backwards. Although I can’t live without someone who assists me on a daily basis, being handicapped doesn’t stop me from going the extra mile.
I took up Marketing Management and graduated from a university in 2011. I am currently the Assistant Manager of our family’s business, where we sell sports equipment.
To sum up who I am, I’ll share with you my mantra that I have always practiced and will forever believe in: I was created to be exactly who I am – strong yet gentle, sensitive yet loving, stubborn yet forgiving, fearless yet God-fearing, disabled yet complete – and that makes me BEAutifully different.
Traveling can be challenging for people in a wheelchair. Do you travel often and if so, how do you plan your trip? Any advice you can share?
Yes, I do travel a lot. I always plan my trips with my dad who is my constant travel buddy. I am a smart traveler – we always book seat sales, watch vlogs, read blogs, check the transportation services, consider places with handicapped facilities, and the location’s accessibility. I also look for Instagrammable places since I love to take photos. I never travel abroad without my dad.
I advise everyone to travel while you still can. The feeling of seeing the world and its different cultures is just indescribable. It’s a big world out there! Explore. Never stop wondering, never stop wandering.
You recently joined some of our online experiences (thank you for that!). What was your favorite one?
I loved everything since I really love Japan, but my favorite tour would be the Shinjuku and Shibuya virtual tour with Alex as our tour guide. I so love Alex! He’s so knowledgeable, entertaining, witty, and funny!
What do you like the best about the concept of virtual travel?
The best part of virtual travel is being able to experience and encounter all these amazing destinations to the point that you can almost touch and feel everything like you were physically there.
In the world that we currently live in, virtual travel is the next best thing – especially for vulnerable individuals like me – it is a safer and more convenient option, but still equally rewarding.
Online travel has become popular due to the current coronavirus situation but we believe it will continue after COVID. How do you think online travel can benefit anyone with accessibility challenges?
We all love to travel – to discover new destinations, cultures, make new friends and connections, etc. But COVID changed the world, most especially travelers. However, for people with disabilities, online traveling is not only a pleasure but also has a therapeutic effect during these uncertainties. Online traveling has been proven to improve social skills, communication skills, and self-esteem. When there’s a “wheel,” there’s a way.
Is there anything else you’d like to add or do you have any message for our readers?
Many people think that living with a disability is one of the worst things in the world, and for some people, this may be true. It can be really tough sometimes. But I am one of the lucky ones who celebrates my disability every day. I love my life just how it is and wouldn’t change it even if medically I ever had the chance to do so.
I have been truly blessed with the experiences I’ve had – all of them! Proving people wrong – showing them I could do things they didn’t think I could do and many more. Without all of the downs, I would’ve never experienced all of the ups! Life is always a balance and that is what makes the journey worthwhile.
We are all capable of doing amazing things in our lives. Just believe in yourself and you’re halfway there. I see each day as a chance to prove my worth by merely being myself – having an ability stronger than my disability, turning difficulties into new possibilities, and inspiring as many people as I can because I have courage – these are what keep me going.
Nothing is impossible. Conquer the world, one step at a time. Because after all, life is BEAutiful.
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