Kenyan wanderlust recounts being stranded in Philippines for six months

Fredrick Marwa
Fredrick Marwa. [Photo: Business Daily]

A wanderlust by blood, Kenyan man Fredrick Marwa has a tall tale to tell of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When it struck in March, he was hob-nobbing the world and this time, he was in the Philippines when the international airspace was closed.

Marwa, 29, had just flown into Manila, Philippines capital and then decided to visit the country’s most famous island together with his girlfriend. There was no much alarm except temperature screening when he decided to head to Palawan Island which is the country’s most visited island.

 “The day we arrived in Palawan, things got worse. We were asked where we were staying and requested to fill forms. We stayed at an Airbnb for two days, then decided to drive to El Nido, a Philippine municipality on Palawan Island, where we were planning to stay for a week,” he told Business Daily.

From here, flights were cancelled and a lockdown imposed. Marwa resorted to living in a motel after Airbnb hosts cancelled all bookings. It was tough at first because no one was allowed to swim in the island and only had one morning meal which is breakfast.

 “We could not even leave the house. We were living 30 metres from the ocean but we would not swim. Everybody was afraid of tourists. Locals believed that the tourists had brought Covid-19,” he added.

After four months, restrictions in the Philippines eased and he decided not to return to Kenya. Marwa visited more places here a decision he says was inspired by his four  months on lockdown in foreign land.

He studied a lot about culture and traditions in the Philippines and he decided to explore more of the country.

Marwa left Kenya in 2016 for Colombia where he was to become an English teacher after graduating from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).

But he ended up travelling to different places and sparked the zeal to travel more.

Since then, he has visited 36 countries in Central America, Africa and South East Asia. He has a YouTube page with over 200,000 subscribers.

His biggest challenge has been discrimination especially because of his African descent recalling that he was at one point deported to Hong Kong as he tried crossing over to Cambodia.

“If you are a black American you are respected but if you are black from Africa people don’t respect you at all. People have to see how much money I have on me and in my bank account. I give a lot of information I am not supposed to give just because I have a Kenyan passport,” he noted.

He has since returned to Kenya but is looking forward to travelling more with his goal being visiting at least 30 African countries.