It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted a blog, so I’m going to separate my experiences into three separate posts. That way it’s easier to read.
My first two weeks in the Philippines were difficult. Mostly because it took the entire two weeks just to get over the jet lag. My fellow YAVs and I were dead on our feet by 7pm, only to wake up at 3am and not go back to sleep. Towards the end of the first week, we could barely stay up until 9:30pm! Luckily that is not the case now.
We were in Manila for our first week in the Philippines and it was just like any other major city. There was a ton of traffic at all times of the day and night, so much pollution that it was common to see people wearing breathing masks. Of course, rush hour was a nightmare. We spent the first few days learning about the history of the Philippines and visiting major landmarks around the city.
It was surprising to see how influential other countries were and still are on the history and life of the Philippines and its people. The two major influences are the Spanish influence and the U.S. influence – it’s a bit extreme. Although, food-wise, I’ll have to give it to the Chinese; they introduced rice to the Filipino people. I’m told that it’s not a meal if there is no rice; it’s only a snack. I’ve concluded that according to that belief, I only have a meal a few times a year!
After Manila, we traveled to another island to a city called Dumaguete for a little bit of relaxation and fun. It’s very much a college town. In fact, there are about four major colleges in the area, meaning there are a lot of young adults in the area. The traffic isn’t so bad, but that’s mostly because it’s more affordable and convenient to travel by motorbike. It’s also a very affordable city for foreigners, meaning there are a lot of retirement age people in this college town. Overall, it’s a very lovely city, right on the water.
Some of you may have heard about the bombing in Davao, Philippines. If you haven’t, now you have. It was a very tragic happening that affected the entire nation. Security was increased, literally everywhere, events and flights were cancelled – it was pretty bad. Davao was where I was originally supposed to serve my year, however since the bombing, I have been relocated to Dumaguete. I’ll say much more about the city and what I will be doing here in my third blog post.
That concludes the first blog post. I will have the second up very soon. Thank you for being patient with me!