I’m tan. Along with four of my classmates, I spent eight days in the Philippines; we got to experience the bustling city of Manila, the mid-sized but no less culturally rich Coron Town, and the smallest—but most amazing— village of Maricaban. We saw a LOT throughout the week, and had some incredible experiences. I will give a brief recount of each part of the trip, but I will try to let the pictures do most of the talking. I may add more pictures in the upcoming week as we consolidate our cameras.
The first day, we landed in Manila, and were picked up from the airport by Nicole’s aunt. We got to try some Filipino bread (delicious) and take a nap at her lovely home in the city. After a couple hours of much needed sleep, we hopped on a one-hour flight to Coron. The Coron airport was small but charming, and it was there that we met up with Tomas, our ‘guide’ and representative of the AirJuan typhoon relief movement. We took a van to Maricaban (a VERY small coastal town), and set up at Ate Vicky’s, our waterside lodging.
The next couple of days in Maricaban were incredible. We met tons of fun and very social kids, and provided them with some new toys (frisbees, jumpropes) , and subsequently ended up playing with them for hours on end. We danced Zumba, tried the local cuisine (lots of meat and seafood, my favorite), and even sang karaoke and drank with the men of the village. During the day, Vicky and Valerie (the coolest little girl in the world) took us on a boatride to a private beach; it was there that I had the opportunity to get the first of my awesome sunburn. I should mention that, before we left for the trip, Nicole organized a fundraiser at HNC, and we were able to raise a solid amount of funds that we put towards buying much needed school supplies for the children of Maricaban. (much was lost in the typhoon)
After some incredible days in Maricaban, we took an hour long van ride to Coron Town, a much more developed (but still charming) seaside hot spot. This place catered a bit more towards tourists, but that didn’t mean that we weren’t riding tuk tuks (a motorcycle converted to fit six people) and sweating it out; it was incredibly fun. We did some shopping, we jammed out at Marley’s restaurant (I got to play drums with the musicians there), and we went island hopping. You know those postcards that have the unrealistically beautiful green mountains, islands, and pools? We went there, and it was that beautiful. Though I don’t have a picture, we went snorkling over some coral reefs, and it was very reminiscent of Finding Nemo, i.e., the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.
When our few days in Coron Town were up, we flew back to Manila for the tail end of the trip. We did some shopping in the Mall of Asia (one of if not THE biggest mall in Asia), and met up with some more of Nicole’s family. The following day provided an unexpected but nonetheless incredible opportunity. One of Jace’s frat brothers is the son of the CEO of the largest (essentially only) provider of fresh milk/greek yogurt/cheese in the Philippines, which is a de-agriculturalized country. He sent some vans to pick us up from our hostel, and we drove an hour and a half out to his farm/estate. He had a beautiful home, and personally gave a tour of his facilities, fields and factories, AND served us lunch and breakfast. He was incredibly generous and kind, and I now feel like I have a much better understanding of what it means to operate and manage a large scale dairy farm!
That was the trip in a nutshell (obviously, there are many things that I neglected to mention for fear of writing a novel). Below are a bunch of pictures from the trip (keep checking back for a while, because I will probably keep adding more, and it takes a while to post them!)