Meet globe-trotter, Bea Manlulo.
Bea Manlulo is always up for an adventure. She loves to travel and has her parents to thank for it. As a child, they would frequently take her on out-of-town trips. "Ganun nila ako pinalaki… Until now, nagtratravel ako and parang feeling ko nakakagain ako ng something out of it.” (That’s how I was raised. Until now I travel and feel that I gain something out of it.)
Early on, her parents also taught her the value of being strong and having a positive outlook on life. She recalls how every time she would stumble, they would encouragingly tell her to shake it off and get up again. Bea was born with a condition called Genu Recurvatum, a disorder which has limited her ability to walk. Despite this, they have never treated her differently nor has she felt the need to live life any less.
Bea shares her travel stories on her Instagram account and uses a catchy hash tag to go along with them - #WanderingWheels. The hashtag captures her favourite word ‘wander’ and something that helps her get around - a wheelchair.
Her account has gained a following because of its colourful palette and motivational feel. Bea is not afraid to share insights from her experiences and lessons she's learned along the way. “I want to inspire others; not just “normal" people but especially handicapped… Di porket naka wheelchair ka, jan ka lang. (Just because you are in a wheelchair, it doesn’t mean that you have to just stay there.) You can go beyond.”
Every year for her birthday, Bea and her friends make their way to San Juan, La Union. La Union holds a special place in her heart. “It’s like my second home”, she says. She's been returning to the beach-side surf town for the past 5 years. What she enjoys most are the locals, who make her feel welcome and treat her like family. “You don’t have to pretend na iba kang tao.” (You don’t have to pretend to be a different person.)
Although a little shy to call herself an advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities, Bea has seen some changes in La Union since she started coming. Her favourite resort, San Juan Surf, now has ramps around their property. Still, the challenge of accessibility remains - from navigating across the uneven terrain to fitting in toilet stalls.
While some may prefer to travel solo, Bea is constantly around her family and friends. She enjoys their company too much as they do hers. It also takes a dedicated team to assist her for certain needs. However, beyond company and assistance, her posse plays a far bigger role – “They are the ones that push me. Sila ang nagmomotivate sa akin to enjoy life.” (They are the ones who motivate me to enjoy life.)
What's next on Bea's bucket list? Skydiving and developing her video blog, to name a few! Her zest for life is infectious and overflowing. This girl has no plans of staying put anytime soon. Follow her adventures on @beamanlulo on Instagram and subscribe to her Youtube channel Wandering Wheels.