To tell the truth, I feel very lucky to be in Guimaras with Lala, the host of our team.
I met her on the boat from Iloilo to Guimaras, where she greeted the whole team with one of her daughters. Once I saw this sweet lady, I already hoped that I could stay with her, which could possible due to her approachability, or just because there had already been a connection between us set by God.
She is a very talkative lady. She’s always talking to us, trying to eliminate our strangeness towards the new environment. During our talk, she told me that her husband unluckily died last year in a shipwreck, leaving 6 immature daughters to her. However, I can see that the accident didn’t really drag her down, as she is still a very outgoing, friendly, caring and strong lady.
She is a very good cook while is also a very caring mom. She cooked several special local dishes which are all very delicious for us while still worrying about whether we like the flavors of those local dishes (of course we like it!). Because of my personal interest in cooking, I sometimes wake up early to watch her cooking (I learned how to cook a soup called Sinigang from her, in order to cook for my families after I get back home). She sometimes also tries to get us some Chinese food from Iloilo city to make us feel like being home. But actually I already feel like being home because her care and love.
She is also a very friendly guide. She recommended a lot of nice places to visit in the Iloilo city, never forgetting to tell us to be careful and to get back early (Although sometimes she brings us to the city for band show and stay till late night). She also brought us to a lot of nice places in Guimaras. For example, we went to a hill called Balaan Bukid together with a huge cross on the top. On the road, she introduced a lot of local culture to us, such as religion, resources of income, and so on. We also went to a beach near Nueva Valencia, where she introduced some of her family members to us, making me feel like I’m already part of her big family. With her, you will never feel lonely or sad, because she’s the one who will always cheer you up.
The other very impressing part of my memory here about my host family is Lala’s 6 daughters. They’re all very beautiful with big eyes and long lashes. Same as their mom Lala, they are also very approachable and friendly. At night after diner, they, as 6 horrible movie fans, always ask us to join a movie. It’s always a great experience that 10 girls (Lala and her 6 daughters and we 3 visitors) scream together and laugh at each other.
Also as most of us are in the same age, we love the same type of things. For example, we sometimes dance to the music from Korea together (they’re all fans of Bigbang while I also like Korean culture). One interesting fact about this is that because I have whiter skin compared to the others, I am thought to be Korean at first. (The same situation also happens several times when I’m downtown.) We share our cosmetics together sometimes after dinner while also share some make up skills. At the same time, although the youngest girl is only 8, but she likes staying together with us, always sitting on my legs and asking whether we can play together (and you can never say no to such a cute girl like her). It will never get boring when we are together.
I’m the only child in my family, but I learned a lot from my stay here with them about how to get along with your sisters and how to care about the others. Because Lala has to work a lot to earn enough money to cover the life expense of 6 girls, the elder sisters can always take good care of the youngest sister Junifer, who is 8 and in grade 3. While also for most of the time, they share household duties from Lala to let her rest more. Lala once told me that even Junifer, the youngest girl, is very tough and even comforted her mother when knowing her father was gone, which is not common for an 8-year girl. What also impressed me is that once we had an electricity burn out, the girls gave us their only emergency light instead of a candle at night, because they thought we might be afraid. These qualities like sharing, caring might not be common in children who are the only one in their family, but common in these girls who get matured earlier than they others. At here, I also learnt to text Lala to not worry about us when it’s late and we’re still at outside, learnt to share all my best to the girls in our host family, learnt to think about the others first.
Even I’ve been here for less than 10 days, I already feel like being part of the home. They make me never feel lonely and always care about me. To tell the truth, I sometimes just do not want to leave them and want to stay with them forever. Dear buddy, please tell me, how could I leave this place which is full of sincere hearts and everyone’s caring?