Counting, Planning, Staring at the Ceiling

Down to 5 weeks, and I am not sure how are we going to end this.

My HHC and I decided that we will go for hikes for the rest of the remaining weeks we have before we go back to the lives we had before the program.

4 hours of non-stop talking about random things, literally anything under the sun. But hey, there’s more! I thought out-of-the-box things is about “doing something” but it is not, it is also about having strange emotion/feeling yet, you face it, you choose to bang it on rather than stay still and stare at the ceiling.

A lot of questions popping in my mind, random things to talked with, but my HHC and I managed to deal with each other’s talkativeness. We are working on the same page- we love to talk, walk, think of random ideas, asks a lot of unquestioned questions and try to act like a child for quite sometimes.

Pack now, Fly Later

We were exchanging views/ideas/perceptions about the world in random. How do we do this? Simple! Just mention something and someone will give an insight!(fill in the blanks πŸ™‚ ) Since we pretty much enjoy the fact of travelling the world, we talked about:

1. Seeing the Angkor Wat (Cambodia)- this majestic temple(I’m not sure if it is really a temple), with gold on top will make you feel loved.

2. Taj Mahal (India)- personally this is a must for me, my HHC’s parents have been there, she even shared how majestic it is without even ‘showing off’ to me. A plain and simple explanation of the features!

3. The Machu Picchu (not sure of the spelling! πŸ™‚ ) (Peru)- again, another must go before I die! πŸ™‚ !

I want to see how the Incas/Aztec civilization disappeared, what an Aztec looked like, how do they make a living, how do they teach their daughter/s or son/s? What is the medium of communication? How do they write? Do they have ceremonies? How do they conduct such? πŸ™‚

4.Russia- always fascinated with Vladimir Putin, but I’ll go to Russia to buy Matryoshka doll (I love dolls but when I was a child, my big bro cut all of my barbies’ hair and right then and there I don’t play barbie dolls anymore, I’m fascinated to collect traditional dolls πŸ™‚ ).

5.Czech Republic- disney like castles and cool breeze that struck your face will make you feel in love for the rest of the trip!

6. Japan- of course this is a must for me! I really love Japanese Culture no matter what! Watashiwa nihon ni ikitai! :), regardless if I speak Japanese Language or not, I’ll find a way to be in the land of the rising sun, wear my yukata, kyoto no machi ni arukimasu! Kitty chan no mono wa kaimasu! (sorry for using Japanese language, spare me one for this πŸ™‚ ).

7. Egypt/Greece- We love history! What else could you ask for more but to see for yourself how the Egyptians built the pyramid of Giza and to think that it is thousand of years existing!(HHC has been in Egypt before together with her grandpa for a holiday). How about the Greek philosophy and Mediterranean cuisine? Sounds fun?? Sounds awesome! πŸ™‚

7. Thai’s red district- my uni friends and I has this plan of going to Thailand and see for ourselves what it looks like. No worries just havin fun!

Both of us want to see the dynamism of each country’s cultural heritage blend with the modern, fast paced environment. The list might get longer, complicated and tedious, but I think that is the most exciting part- to see how far you go, how flexible your plan is, how will you make the list a reality to savor, to enjoy. πŸ˜€

Let’s Meet Halfway

The reality of volunteerism does not end when the placementΒ ends.

We hit the 6th week of the programme. We are half-way done to this thrilling and challenging volunteer experience.

Realities sets in..

HHC and I had this talk (21st of October) last night, we acknowledged the fact that we are already half-way done. No one thought that someone will be working, even living with a foreigner 24/7 for 12 weeks. No one thought also, that they gonna share room, mattresses and such. But the catch? Sharing room with someone you really don’t know can be a start of beyond the surface relationship (friends). Working with foreign counterparts has been a not-so-easy thing for the rest of the 12 weeks. Mixed emotions, tantrums, mood swings and a lot more. But what made you stay? It is the experience, no matter how gloomy, sunny, cloudy or rainy your day is, it is still an experience to capture, to savor, to learn. No one will tell you to scrap the feeling, because it is part of growing up, of moving forward.

Reality Check

Seeing the sunrise again, made me think for a sec (I think it is no longer sec but for a couple of minutes πŸ™‚ ) :

a. I’ll surely gonna miss seeing the sunrise in the morning(in my hometown, it is surrounded by series of houses, might go for a hike to see the sunrise),

b. I’ll miss my counterpart, seeing how we progressed in the half-way of the programme made me think, it is about conquering fears and doing out-of-the-box, seeing things in positive way rather than on the other side of the coin, found a sister living in the other side of the globe;

c. Active lifestyle-surely, this thing will definitely be a part of my routine once I go back home, whenever I’ll go for a walk, I’ll always remember my counterpart, walked for straight 2 hours,approx. 15kms? Record breaking isn’t? Can’t hike Mt. Arayat, so better go for a long straight hike (walk);

d. The MeALS!- I’ll gonna miss the prawns, the fish(catfish) in particular, my HHC taught me how to eat one, and whenever I prawns? It’ll remind me that I have no allergies to prawns, it is just about having hypochondriac syndrome πŸ™‚ ,

e. The girls- they may naive for a number of reasons, but they our de-stress ball; whenever we want to play with them, talk or even just a simple joke, they are always on the go.

f. Our lola Emma- who really loves us, prepare our meals (take note of the fish, veggies and prawns), asks questions like: do you have a boyfriend back home? Don’t you miss home? After the programme, what’s next?

g. The pets- I’m not really fond of having puppy, cat or chicken within 50 meters from me. Having them around made me feel uncomfortable, yet, I realized that I really don’t have allergies with their fur, it is another hypochondriac syndrome.

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h. Our host home dad- even though we don’t really talk/have proper conversation with him, I find him like my real dad; he even told me once that we are now family here, so if we need anything just tell it to him, he even gave us a shirt as well, I am not sure if it is being mushy of him but we appreciate it.

i. Our counterparts(Filipino and UKV’s)- I don’t know how are we going to bid our goodbye to each other when the time has come to say goodbye. I am not sure if I can manage the fact that I will not see them again, interact with them, crack jokes with them nor share endless stories with them makes me in teary eyed.

British and Filipino Volunteers after the matching game revealed (for host homes and work counterparts)

British and Filipino Volunteers after the matching game revealed (for host homes and work counterparts)

This entry might be a bit mushy and a bit emotional coz I cried before I finished this. I hate saying goodbyes and farewells, because I don’t want to be left behind, and staring at the ceiling again. But I think, this is what growing up and learning starts to enter the picture, when you realize to let things go but at the same time moving forward.

Worry Now Ruin Later

It has been days since I got a message from fam. The thought of having the bubble burst and the ‘reset’ button pressed made me realize that ‘oh! I am not living in an aquarium like a goldfish – subject to a lot of strange looks and attitudes’.

Worry now ruin later

I cried to a volunteer about my not-so-personal dilemma. The good thing about having friends at your side makes you a better individual, not because of their advises, but because you can see the smaller picture of what you perceive as ‘big’.

I can’t disclosed the reason why I worried toooooo much for that day. I am not sure as well if it is just a symptom of being home sick, or just an act of being childish?

A lot of volunteers(ICV’s) told me that: ‘worry now, and you’ll ruin your experience in the program’. Obviously, you can’t do something out of it, because you’re not capable yet of acting on it. Also, you’re not allowed to go back home and fix things for the fam; if you’re allowed to do so, what can be done?

Walk Theraphy

My HHC, noticed how stressed/upset I am during the day, and even noticed that I only ate 4 strips of banana and a cup of coffee for my breakfast-which is an indication that I am in disoriented mindset.

Proper Walk or just simple Stroll?

Since my HHC noticed how upset am I (and kept on asking for reasons, which I find awkward, because I don’t want someone pity me for a not-so-good/valid reasons to be pittied).

I thought it was just a simple walk to the market, I did not wear my trainer’s (rubber shoes in Phil.), but I had only my flops (slippers in Phil.). The walk lasted for 2 hours, approximately 15 kms. under the scourging heat of the sun. My HHC, talked about random stuff/s, from finding happiness in small ways/deeds/things to deciding for yourself. At the end of the hilarious walk, we ended up having the goal for the week: perfect-imperfect, the quest for positive impact (I am not sure about the word ‘quest’ πŸ™‚ ). Aside from our action plan regarding our perfectionist-imperfect dilemma, we were burned by the tormenting heat of the sun.

End the cycle now and be free

After couple of days, I finally learned my lesson. It is better for me to feel this, to think about this(referring to the dilemma that I have), and work on it. It is not about finding answers in a snap but finding way out of it. It is not work against time, but working with time. Fear nothing, regret nothing.

First Impressions- NEVER- LAST

A Question of……….

I find it weird for us Filipinos complimenting someone but does not literally mean the ‘real’ compliment. We find ourselves accommodating, but at the end of the day, got hurt when hit by negative comments nor exaggeration of one thing that might lead to a bigger thing.

Is it about Personal Difference/s or is it just about bitching one another?

I thought, even at this level we are still subject to theΒ  differences brought about by our respective countries’ and cultures’, but, I personally reckon the idea. We are no longer being controlled nor made ourselves comfortable in any way we want it to be. It is practically about each individual differences and how we are coping to such.

I am not comparing my hhc (host home counterpart), with the rest of the gang, but the fact that we established beyond the surface level of relationship is hardly to define.

Stop bantering when I am pissed off!

I find it rude and offensive whenever I am down and someone tries to make fun out of me or even make something to pull my spirits up (I am not saying that I hate my counterparts for being funny, but there are times that all you need is -Time).

First impressions……(part 1)Β I know that first impressions don’t last. But here I am trying to reckon the idea as I get to know more about my counterparts..


  1. A chic with a bubbly and big heart- this chic loves to smile if not laugh out loud. ‘Who cares if someone will judge of what I am doing, as long as everyone is happy.’
  1. A guy with an exceptional background- weak, vulnerable, but resilient and down to earth. This guy has a lot to offer, but always bother, just make him comfortable and everything will fall into their proper place. Ask, and he will answer, anything and everything under the sun, just make sure you have the probing questions with you.
  1. A chic with a to-go life- this chic loves to see places, been there done that thing will make you feel roaming around the country (without making an effort to book a flight), with her stories (inspiring, motivating or just a simple moaning) will give an impression that she is independent and confident, but at the end of the day, she is still a human being, subject to stress and being ‘introvert’.
  1. The Jack-of-all-Trades guy-this guy (so far has the answers to an nth number of my questions (wink) ) has a very well versed lifestyle, even been in a lot of places as well, loves travelling (backpacking to be exact) and I really envy his outdoor gears!
  1. The chic with a chillin attitude- this chic loves to do outdoor stuffs as well, exploring the developing world, trying to consider each and every opportunity that comes in her way.
  1. The sweet guy- this guy is really nice, loves to chat but shy to initiate one, loves to dance even under the scourging heat of the sun. He knows if you’re upset, and send you a message to lighten up your day.
  1. The Chillin guy- I literally envy this guy, made me think if he even got mood swings and try to beat the beast. Always have his cam ready to say one-two-three cheese!
  1. The Chic with let’s get it done attitude- I find her bubbly, kind and receptive, walking around the streets with her bags on makes an impression, we have to move on.

The list may sound crazy, but we are for sure for sometime; loves to kickin and rollin like a newcomer in the scene. πŸ˜›

Community Work

Personal Development starts when you do things out of the box.

Doing things which is out of the box-again (let me emphasize the phrase out-of-the-box, it is not to say that I am bragging about my experience in the programme but it is really what I am doing-so far and so good!)

It is a series of ups and downs and even extreme emotions which made me think-everyday is like a box of chocolate, you’ll never now what you gonna get-forest gump.

Yesterday, when we had our survey in the first 2 brgys, we felt losers in the game, we can’t even smile anymore from the exhaustion and all of us in the group were drained, extreme heat+challenging brgy.+walk around or say goodbye to your allowance stuff.

We redeemed our spirits when we finished our survey with flying colors (we exceed the target of 100)!!! In a particular barangay. We even had this opportunity to roam around the barangay and even had a small talk with the people. I felt fulfilled that I was able to talk with them and even extract information from them.

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Tips and must haves when you conduct your baseline survey:

(disclaimer:this purely based from experience);

1.cap/umbrella/sunglasses/sunscreen – this is to protect your precious skin from the tormenting heat of the sun.

  1. A gallon of water-you will never know when thirst and dehydration strikes, be sure to have a tumbler of liquid if not a gallon of water with you.
  1. Mint candies/any sweet-to freshen up if not alleviate your tiredness-sugar intake will give you an energy. πŸ™‚
  1. always wear your precious SMILE – people from all walks of life will know if you are genuine with what you are doing, if you smile as genuine as you are they can feel it, and if it is just a poker face, I’ll assure you, they can also feel it. Always smile and greet them, you’ll never know,that particular person can help you in your future activities.
  1. Do some chat-if you will conduct a survey, always ask questions like:what is your name? How do you want to be called? What is their age? In my case, I always asks these questions and do more follow-ups for them to gain their “trust”; it is important to establish some rapport with the locals if you want them to be involved in any activities that you will conduct.
  1. Speak the language/if not familiar with words ‘ask’- there is no harm in asking questions, and I assure you, the people are more than willing to extend their help as far as thousand miles just to make your work convenient and comfortable.
  1. Ask probing questions/cite examples-you should gauge your respondents if they can answer your survey without probing questions or needs to have the former, just gauge, you can feel it as well. πŸ™‚
  1. Be more personal- I know this is a bit out-of-the-box as well, but try to involve yourself in the community, remember, the more personal you are the more impact you will get-this thing is definitely my opinion no one is forced to follow it though. πŸ™‚

The list is a bit personal, as what I have always mentioned in my previous blog entries, it is a fulfilling experience to have a chat and gained the people’s trust rather than doing things because it is being told you to do- sort of for compliance purposes. – πŸ˜›