Philippines Blog Entry Numero Uno
by Brianna Byers
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Hello all of my Adventure Followers! I am sitting in a tiny dark internet cafe in Cebu city after eating of lunch comprised of pancakes, lumpia (ie spring rolls; this one with carrots and ground pork), and fresh mangoes! I have only technicaly been here two days but so much has happened so here is a brief summary of my experience so far. The flights were not very fun; there was a good amount of turbulence and I felt nauseous for most of it. The first was a 12 hour flight to Seoul Korea which actually had lots of movie options so I watched The Tourist, Just Go With It, and The Green Hornet. The layover was only an hour long because our first flight was delayed so we had to rush through security to catch our next flight. The second flight to Cebu was only 4 hours long and I was finally able to sleep so it went by pretty fast. We landed in Cebu and met the three ladies we will be staying with at their airport at around 1230 am Cebu time. Then we went to a pension house where we would stay three nights, two of which have already passed. Our bathroom has around five geckos and 10 spiders and we even have our own gecko in our room – but thankfully it stays on the wall by the windows. The temperature and humidity here is insane! We are sweating all the time and there is no air conditioning at the club I will be staying at in Bacolod. We found out that we will not be spending the first 3 weeks together – instead it is only the first 10 days. This definately threw me off, but I am just tring to lift that uncomfortablness up to God. These first two days we have spent seeing some of the sights in Cebu city and starting on Sunday we will meet up with the team from Conneticut and begin our week of construction projects. We will construct 2 cabins in five days so prayers for that! The first day we visited the oldest church in Cebu, possibly all of the Philippines, known as Santa Nino. Mass was in service and it was so beautiful there! There were even ladies selling Avon outside Cathy :] Then we visited a museum of a reconstructed house from the 1880’s. Oh and all of this was after a breakfast of McDonalds which is everywhere in the Philippines. The only difference is that they sell rice and spaghetti there! We went to lunch at the largest mall in Cebu where we ate some lechon (aka pig meat straight off a whole cooked pig body) and other Philippino food. Then we went back to the pension house to take a nap and shower – much needed at the hottest time of the day. Oh and dinner was pizza lol – I am very excited to get to the YL camp where we will be eating more fresh fruit and real Phiippino food. At night we went to the N. Cebu Young Life center and met a lot of the YL leaders that Hannah will be working with in Cebu. All of the leaders are in college but here you start college at 16 or 17 so they are all pretty much younger than us. They were so amazing! They asked us all sorts of questions, taught us new words, and even with the semi-language barrier we were able to laugh and make a connection. Apparently my name is really hard to pronounce though. Bri is too short and the “i” sound is weird for them so I end up being called Braae? And brianna is too long for them so either way my name is causing some trouble :] Today we woke up at 6 am (saturday) aka 3 pm of yesterday(friday) for you all. We went to one of the largest markets in Cebu today and bought some mangoes and looked around. The smells are interesting to say the least – when the fish gets rotten they throw it out in the street and it sits there…so ya… Then we went to Eden’s house for the lunch I described at the beginning of the post. Here is a rundown of the people I have met here – they are all so warm and loving and genuinely amazing people. Mimi who I will be living with in Bacolod, Tata who will be living Amelia in San Carlos, Bebme who Hannah will be living with in Cebu city, Wilbur who is the director of YL Philippines, and Eden who is his executive assistant. We also met tons of YL leaders including Archie, Recca, Christian, Maw, “Dimples”, Juliet, and Hazel ( I apologize for any mispellings). I am kindof bummed because I should have brought a smaller camera. This one I can’t take a lot of places because it draws too much attention to me. Which is unneeded because my skin and height make me stand out enough as it is. Kids yell at us when we drive past saying ” I love you American” in Tagalog :] But it is okay because we will all share photos. Life is very different here than it is in the US. The streets are terrifying – people walking across traffic, “jeepies” everywhere you can run up to and hop on, horse driven carts, and overall just a melee of vehicles. And the poverty is definately more evident. There are SO many people sleeping on the streets – not just adults, but infants too. And there is a lot of garbage everywhere – we can only drink water out of the bottle and eat the foods our hosts give us because many things are contaminated. While some sights break my heart, most of them just make me feel extrodinarily blessed. Sorry if this post was sporadic – I am kindof overwhelmed and have never written a blog before. I encourage you to read Amelia and Hannah’s posts as well because they will probably go into detail on things I forgot to mention. I love you all – thank you so much fo your support – and I cannot wait to see you when I return :] Feel free to comment on these posts – it will let us know they are being read. -Brae