Day 4 in the Philippines

on 7-05-2013 in Daily

July 5

Day 4 in the Philippines

I was able to get a few more hours of sleep after the church sermon. I woke up feeling much more energized than the day before. I was excited to start my day. Walking through the lobby, I was greeted by the hotel staff with a joyous “Good morning, sir.” It was times like that that reminded me I was definitely in the Philippines.

A large buffet breakfast was included in the hotel stay. Menu items included adobo, corned beef, pancit, pandesal, tropical fruit, and mamon – a delicious sponge cake.

As I ate, I couldn’t help but notice that many people around me had similar features – brown skin and black hair. Sure, that is not an uncommon look among Filipinos but in the US – there are many different ethnicities so there is an increase variety in appearance.

After breakfast, I stopped by the VSO office, which is the partner organization of CUSO in the Philippines. I was able to talk to the development project manager, Judah, the project officer, Nora , and the executive director, Malou. I was also able to meet the rest of the staff through a quick introduction although unable commit their names to memory.

Ruth and Evelyn were at the VSO office as well. Evelyn and I will be continuing on to Samar together, while Ruth will be traveling to Bohol.

We talked about the history of VSO, and what our responsibilities might be when we get to our final destinations. We were excited, and talking to each other about it helped. We agreed that all of us together would allow us to get more done than we could have alone.

While in Manila, we attempted to open bank accounts. We may need the accounts to be able to receive our stipend while in placement. Unfortunately, I discovered that where I’ll be going, there are no ATM’s or banks. The closest place I’ll be able to do my banking is in Catbalogan, which would take at minimum an hour to get to, depending transportation availability.

That night, we had dinner at the mall. It was nearby and convenient, so why not. I had patatim and a buko shake from Barrio Fiesta. I have always heard that the patatim from Barrio Fiestais awesome! I couldn’t pass up the chance to eat some. It was so incredibly yummy! I will have to make an effort to come back during my stay in the Philippines.

My iPhone had been giving me problems whenever I used the camera. I decided to find a replacement at the mall. There are so many brands of cell phones in the Philippines, that it wasn’t easy to make a choice. Prepaid plans are also incredibly popular and convenient. It cost a buck to get a new SIM card (the little computer chip that give your phone a phone number), and then you purchase blocks of time as you go.

One thing to note is that the Philippines is considered the texting and social media capital of the world. The pre-paid time goes a long considering text is the dominant form of communication.

In the end, I picked up a Lenovo 770. It can hold two SIM cards, has long battery life, and the pictures come out a decent quality. The phone cost me P15k (roughly $270 dollars).I didn’t plan to spend this much but it’ll be worth it if it means I’ll be able to take a few pictures that look good.

“People are very open-minded about new things – as long as they’re exactly like the old ones.

– Charles Kettering

~Sarcasm doesn’t translate well when texting.