Philippines 2018 – Part 2

Travel

The second part is here! I was on trips with different groups. Group travel was challenging for me because of an individual’s unique personality and preference. I am a risk taker and a very active person. I just realized that they are more like “city life”. They don’t have hiking experiences so I brought a little emergency kit for them. However, this taught me and I probably got to the next level of team leadership. lol

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The End

Philippines 2018 – Part 1

Travel

My Philippine trip was such amazing I have had in 2018 but I missed a few attractions due to bad weather. I, however, really enjoyed the trip.

The reasons why I wanted to visit the Philippines again are to spend Christmas time with my family and to learn more about geography & indigenous people of the Philippines. My stay was for 5 weeks. I was a solo traveller for a few days. I hanged out with my family and went on trips with my friends. I had the places and activities on my bucket list. These were marked off successfully.

Part 1 of 2: The photos are like my favourite valuable memories.

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Filipino and Canadian Cultures

Life, Travel

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I immigrated to Vancouver, Canada after growing up in the Philippines for almost 20 years. I hardly miss my own country so much. 5 years passed by, I once visited to Manila and stayed there for two months. Filipino culture which I almost forgot shocked me. The comparison of two cultures are obviously different.

People

There are many customer service/retail workers in the clothing/stuff stores. I was a bit annoyed and frightened by two or three workers. They kept their eyes on me if I were a thief. I know it’s their jobs but they are friendly. In Canada, do they do the same way? No, they welcome and ask the customers if they need help or not.

It’s common for people to look over their shoulder and to hold the open door for the people following them. But in the Philippines, most security guards check people’s bag at the doors before they enter. Sometimes I got ignored by someone who didn’t hold the open door for me. One time, I did that for a lady. She seemed blushed and shy. She guessed I liked her. No way! haha!

The people in Canada always smile at each other every time they pass. In the Philippines, I felt awkward as soon as I glanced and smiled at Filipinos. We lost the eye contacts since they thought I was a stranger. Weeee! Maybe they are shy, aren’t they? haha!

Laughing

Don’t forget to laugh. Filipinos always laugh because they are friendly people. They feel less afraid and nervous. Every time they do something awkward or terrible, they still laugh. Of course, laughing is the best medicine and happiness! In Canada, I hardly handle myself not to laugh whenever I listen to someone talking about serious things or something. I know some people will suspect why I laugh so loud. haha!

Party

The families prepare and set up dishes on a big table and invite their relatives and even unfamiliar friends. In Canada, the visitors are invited to a family’s house and they bring their food. It’s different, isn’t it?

Jaywalking

Almost all of the roads where people jaywalk across scared me. However, jaywalking is prohibited in some areas which prevents the heavy traffic. The footbridges are also there. Can you imagine that people go ahead to jaywalk through and vehicles don’t stop running at the same time? In Canada, not all of the people jaywalk but some people do if there are no vehicles on the roads.

Riding in the vehicles

I was at the airport. I noticed my brother’s car was full. I was told to sit on my sister’s seat even though she still sat. I was like “Oh what?!”. It completely shocked me. Yes, I forgot for a long time. A person sits on other’s hips or two people sit on one seat. They don’t wear the seat belts. In Canada, the passengers must take their own seat and wear seat belts or they will have fine for no seat belts.

Public Transporation

Jeepney and motorized tricycle are popular for the public transportation in the Philippines. The jeepneys are full of crowded seats. They have kitsch decorations, which have become a ubiquitous symbol of Philippine culture and art. The tricycles contain only limited seats (3~5 passengers). But a few passengers often stand in the back of both, not only all. The tricycles transport everywhere, except for on busy major highways and very busy city streets. Also, the buses transport on the highways, including the jeepneys. EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) in Metro Manila is the heaviest traffic due to a large number of the buses.

The first week of my vacation, I didn’t get used to the jeepney because I usually take the bus in Canada. There are no spaces on the seats in the jeepney. (see the second picture) I was stuck between people. haha!

It’s about fares. When you pay a fare, you have to hand cash to a driver and to say “bayad mo” which means “you pay”. The driver returns you the change. If you need to get down, say “para mo” which means “you stop”. The jeepney then stops running.

For Deaf culture, how can I say “bayad mo” or “para mo” even I can’t speak? It’s an easy way. I can hand cash (only exact price) to a driver and point to a place. I can get down when I knock the metallic ceiling to stop the driver. But if the ceiling is soft and not a metal, the other way is that I can knock the pole with a coin to stop the driver. Some jeepneys contain loud speakers under the seats in order to knock very hard the pole.

In Canada, I stand at a bus stop and wait for the bus every 5~15 minutes for the day and every 30 minutes for the night. The bus schedules are various in the areas. Unlike stopping the jeepney driver, I have to get down at the next bus stop after I pull a string or press “stop” button to let the bus driver know.

There are three train transit systems in Metro Manila. The operators are in the trains’ head and tail. All the time, the trains are packed with crowded passengers as they’re off to work and schools. As for two of three train transits, female and male are required to separate in the trains (a half train for male and female). The families and disabled people also include the female. It’s because of the safety. They wouldn’t steal anything from each other. However, one of three train transits allows the combination of the passengers to get in.

In Canada, the operators are in a main office and are responsible for tracking the trains through the monitors and CCTV cameras. The trains appear in every 2~3 minutes or it depends on them to arrive earlier. Unlike Philippine trains, the trains are full of passengers in the early morning and late afternoon. It normally takes an hour or so.

While traveling

I wear nice clothes but don’t show off the valuable and gadgets — Flashing jewelry, electronic items and other valuable may attract the attention of criminal. I hid my DSLR camera in my backpack, instead of a camera bag. People didn’t think I was not a traveler. In Canada, I am in a food court or restaurant. I leave my bag on a seat next to me and my smartphone on a table beside my dish. But in the Philippines, I had to hide my things while I ate.

Seasons

There are three seasons in the Philippines — Cold Dry (December – February), Hot Dry (March – May), and Rainy (June – November). Canada has four seasons — Spring (March – May), Summer (June – August), Fall (September – November) and Winter (December – February).

Hours of the sunlight

In British Columbia where I live, the sunlight is by far longer in the summer than winter. The sun is down by 10PM and up at 4:30AM. In winter, the sunset is by 3:30PM and the sunrise is at 8AM. In the Philippines, the sun is down and up by 5 or 6 o’clock. It’s year-round.

Respect

I am the youngest member of my family. I always call my big sisters, “Ate” which means “sister”. For example, my big sister’s nickname is Cocoon. I call her, “Ate Cocoon”. Kuya – brother, Tita – aunt and Tito – uncle.

For the elders, the gesture is almost similar to kissing a hand. Saying “Mano or Mano po”. Mano po means “your hand, please”. You have to say that to an elder and put the back of his/her hand on your forehead.

Eating

“Kamayan” means eating with the bare hands. Filipinos traditionally use eating with their hands. Coconut leaves are served as the plates. It’s cool, isn’t it? In Canada, the people use forks and knives, except for the spoons (of course, it’s for the soups).

Food Court/FastFood/Restaurant

After the people are done with eating their dishes, they leave the tables without taking the trays to the trash areas. The cleaning workers only work on cleaning the tables and taking the trays. In Canada, most of the people are responsible for taking their trays to the trash areas, especially recycle bins.

Sending a big box

A great deal of the foreigners at the airports notice Filipinos usually bring pasalubong boxes (balikbayan boxes). “Pasalubong” means the Filipino tradition of travellers bringing gifts from their destination to people back home.

Karaoke

Filipinos mostly love the music. They love to sing loud and even LOUDER. I know it’s kind of annoying but still so much fun. As for me, I’m not interested in this. I am Deaf. However, I can hear very little and love to feel the vibrations of the music.


That’s all what I visualized. If you feel you don’t agree with these cultures, please let me know or comment. I would be happy to hear from you. Anyway, hope you have enjoyed reading it. 🙂

July 2013 – The Philippines

Travel

I have been staying in the Philippines for two months. I definitely enjoyed a lot but saying goodbye was bittersweet. I left for Canada on July 11th after my birthday on 9th. My relatives and sister’s family headed back to Hawaii and Texas.

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My brother told me to dress up in the last minute. I didn’t know that he brought my sister to her boyfriend’s house in Blue Ridge. My old school is in there! I wanted to visit there!!! But I was totally anxious if I lost my voice or forgot to speak… Then, I arrived there and I felt relieved that I can speak, yet just okay. It was very glad to see everyone in the school.

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These are the teachers. T. Norman (middle) and T. Gigi (right – blue dress) are my favorite teachers!

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This is when I was in nursery. This place is never gone in my brain.

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This is the principal. I miss her so much!

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TAHO!

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I visited Maria Lena again since my former band teacher, T. Norman desperately needed me and some former members of our band to gather and to play the instruments. It was a very long time after high school graduation. We would continue our band to support our old school (It would be probably expanded.)

In the beginning, I pioneered our band when I was in grade 4. I played the first song entitled “Jingle Bells” and xylophone. Since 1998, T. Norman has never stopped continuing the band; nevertheless, another band named “DEAFusion” is established after our old band.  Our old band is finally named “MA.LENA BUHAY FOUNDATION RHYTHM BAND” which is now popularly known as DEAFusion. In fact, all of us would love to play together in the future! You can watch videos on YouTube. — DEAFusion

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I played “Sing”.

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This is the batch reunion. (we studied in Miriam College.)

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After Korean buffet, I was unexpectedly told to join my big family’s dinner. I only ate this soup. ha ha! I was totally full!

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Hawaiian Shave Ice!

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I was requested to draw the sneakers for my sister’s daughter.

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We visited my grandparents’ grave (my father’s side). I haven’t visited there since 2000 or so.

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I visited Miriam College to see my former interpreters, teachers, and friends.

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This is the computer classroom. It looks more different than before.

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I am proud of the officers to decorate this bulletin board. I was an assistant treasurer and secretary before.

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After Miriam College, I was surprised to have birthday dinner at home instead of a restaurant.

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My sister’s family left for Texas.

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I departed for Vancouver with my parents.

Even though I have some bad days, there are so many magnificent and enjoyable moments I have ever in my life. I really thank to many friends and families who never stop making me ecstatic. I know they actually miss me. I am looking forward to visiting the Philippines again and exploring more places.

“I’ve always enjoyed traveling and having experience with different cultures and different people. But it’s also a wonderful thing to be able to benefit and enable research, not only in our country but around the world.”

~Laurel Clark Read

June 2013 – The Philippines

Travel

I got a hang of the crowded people and places after May. I figured out a way to bring my DSLR camera safely. It went well. Luckily, it wasn’t stolen. I wish I could drive anywhere; however, I will learn to drive one day. I had so many plans that I met old friends and travelled. My big family and relatives landed from the countries. There is the best day of June for my sister’s wedding. The time flew so fast!

I actually have a ton of pictures, yet I chose only good ones that I posted here.

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I rode in the tricycle.

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I passed to a train station from other station and I viewed the poor neighborhood through the footbridge.

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My close friend, Kaycee and I strolled around Intramus where Jose Rizal was in the jail. He was a Filipino nationalist and reformist.

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Unfortunately, this church is under contraction.

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Horse drawn carriage

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1981 or 1861

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We arrived at SM Mall of Asia after. It was the hottest day in Intramus. We felt like we were toasted. ha ha!

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We headed to Ayala on other trip.

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I was invited to Little Quiapo restaurant with my friend’s parents. We ate palabok and halo-halo in the late afternoon.

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This is my niece Gabby’s first day of her school. After her dismissal class, I fetched her to home for the first time.

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Wacky Photo! ha ha! These are my beautiful cousins from Hawaii. They are the best dancers!

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Balut (a boiled duck egg with a small embryo inside)

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My uncle Jose’s family and I went on the long trip to Laoag City, Ilocos Norte where my grandma lived in. We arrived there after 13 hours.

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This adorable dog wanted me to take a walk with him. ha ha!

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Coconuts!

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Paoay Church

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This is Malacanang palace of the north. It is where a former president lived.

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We went to Hannah’s Beach Resort in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.

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This is the cemetery. We visited my uncle’s grave and grandma’s.

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inasal chicken! Hmmmm!!!

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My relatives and family helped to prepare wedding props. It was so exhausting! But at least, I received Fisheye lens for phone that I ordered online in the Philippines. It got rid of my crazy stress. There were a few days left before my sister’s wedding came!

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All of my relatives and family went to Fort Mykonos Hot Spring Resort in Laguna. I have been stuck in the hot spring for almost a day. ha ha! This day was totally relaxing after the wedding day.

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I love the aroma of these flowers!

May 2013 – The Philippines

Travel

I had so many butterflies in my stomach and was crazily stressful at packing stuff before flying to the Philippines. My big sister instructed me so much information about what to do properly and safely at the airport. It was kind of overwhelming for me. I haven’t been in there for 5 years! It was such a long time. I didn’t tell all of my old friends from the Philippines, except for some of my close friends. I wanted to surprise them on Facebook after I arrived there.

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This is where my father and I stayed and we waited for going on board.

After landing in the Philippines, I felt warm in the airport. When I got out of the airport, it suddenly got too hot as the hell.

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Next day, it was the early morning. I had jetlag and got up by 3AM.

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I went to the 4th floor as the rooftop. The view is different between the past and present.

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Finally, I met my new first goddaughter, Zoe. In fact, she is my niece.

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My niece, Donut enjoyed drawing.

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One of my close friends helped me commute by jeepney. Because I didn’t want to get lost if the directions are changed or not. She also helped me get my old memories back. Now I can remember the places. The buildings are a BIG CHANGE in 5 years.

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We had a long conversation. It was so much fun. *Our hands were dancing.*

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HALO-HALO!!!

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These are my big sisters.

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Whoa! Filipino foooood. I was totally full! ha ha!

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This is my niece, Gabby.

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I was busy on making wedding props for my sister.

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This is my big sister, Venus’ birthday dinner!

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This small stool is made by my uncle George. He is amazing at craving and painting typography.

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This is a funny sign. My niece, Donut showed this to me. She said that her uncle (my big brother), Vengil wasn’t allowed to be in her room. ha ha

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The giant flower is for wedding photobooth.

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The train was packed with many passengers.

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This is where I always read after school during high school years. I miss this!

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This is my father’s workspace. He is the best repairman! Uncle George is, too. *Rainy day*

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Fishball

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