Inspirational Journey: 77-Year-Old Female Author Makes History as First Filipino to Visit Every Country

Odette Aquitania Ricasa

In an extraordinary feat of determination and wanderlust, 77-year-old author Odette Aquitania Ricasa has accomplished what many can only dream of—becoming the first Filipino to set foot in every single country on Earth.

For Odette Ricasa, who is not only an author but also an artist and pianist, travel has always been a means of acquiring knowledge. After years of relentless exploration, her recent arrival in Kurdistan, Iraq on August 25, 2022, marked the fulfillment of her lifelong ambition.

Iraq, the final destination on her list of the United Nations-recognized 193 nations, symbolized the crowning achievement of her extraordinary odyssey. Although the COVID-19 pandemic had posed significant challenges, travel restrictions gradually eased, enabling Odette to complete her journey by visiting the remaining five nations: Sudan, Chad, Central African Republic, Libya, and Iraq.

Even before accomplishing this monumental feat, Ricasa had already made her mark on the travel community. As early as 2015, she had set foot on every continent, an impressive accomplishment recognized by the Philippine Global Explorers, a community of avid travelers who have found inspiration in her pursuits.

Among her accolades, Odette Ricasa is a distinguished member of the Travelers’ Century Club, an exclusive organization based in Los Angeles that welcomes globetrotters who have traversed at least a hundred territories. Astoundingly, Ricasa has explored over 299 locations on this prestigious list.

Born and raised in Quiapo, Manila, Ricasa’s love for travel can be traced back to her humble beginnings. Hailing from a middle-class family, she nurtured a deep fascination with geography during her school years at Assumption College.

When she embarked on her journey to the United States with only 50 US dollars to her name in 1971, Ricasa initially worked as a systems analyst and real estate broker. It wasn’t until she turned 40 that she had saved enough funds to embark on her first travel adventures.

What sets Ricasa apart is her unwavering commitment to sustainable and budget-friendly travel. Embracing the Pinoy travel lifestyle, she sought out the most economical ways to explore the world, ensuring that her journeys aligned with her principles.

Despite her global adventures, Ricasa remains grounded and deeply connected to her roots. She consistently engages in charitable endeavors, particularly during times of crisis in the Philippines. In the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy’s devastating impact in 2010, Odette and her friends rallied together to send relief boxes to the affected communities.

Notably, her philanthropic efforts extend to the local communities she encounters during her travels. In Bujumbura, Burundi, a nation in East Africa, Ricasa generously donated sacks of flour, rice, and sugar, leaving a lasting impact on the lives of those she touched.

Through her books, artwork, and motivational talks, Odette Ricasa generously shares the wisdom she has gained from her extraordinary experiences. With six published books chronicling her adventures on the road and over 120 captivating paintings showcased at her gallery in San Clemente, Southern California, she leaves a legacy that inspires others to pursue their dreams and explore the world.

Undoubtedly, Odette Ricasa’s remarkable journey serves as an inspiration to all those gripped by wanderlust and aspirations. Following in her footsteps, Filipina travel blogger Kach Mu of Laguna has been crisscrossing the globe on a budget, embracing a sustainable lifestyle while encouraging others to do the same.

To aspiring travelers who yearn to embark on their own adventures, take heart in knowing that 31 countries now welcome Filipino explorers with open arms.

Let us all applaud the exceptional achievement of 77-year-old Odette Ricasa, the trailblazing author who has etched her name in history as the First Filipino to explore every corner of our diverse planet!



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