‘Hey Cindy, are we getting lost?’ After settling down and freshening up in our homestay, what immediately concerned kids coming from the town was getting access to Wi-Fi. On the way that we were walking downhill to find someone with data, we had to rely on the flasher as the village was just being too dark after sunset. Hardly can you believe that it was just around 7pm when people living in Hong Kong are probably still working over time in their office.
Having the first trial staying at somewhere without wifi, hot water supply and flushing system, you may feel like being isolated from the world. But is it tough? I can tell you ‘’‘DEFINITELY NOT’’’. As long as we have been living here, I seem like understanding more about the true meaning of happiness of simplicity. Every day at around 5am, we can hear the cock crow and you will know that it’s nearly the time for you to wake up and give a warm welcome to the dawn. After having a hearty breakfast prepared by the host, you will be energetic, refreshed and well prepared to overcome all challenges ahead. In Tubod Mar (the village that we are going to live in throughout the course), you can never know how much good a simple smile can do. Due to the difference in culture and language, communication barrier is a commonplace that majority of villagers do not even know a word in English. But it doesn’t a big deal. Whenever we are walking down hill to take a tricycle or heading back after working for whole day, there are always many locals sitting at front of their house. Just to say ‘Hello’ and you will realize that they can’t wait to give you a big smile, to talk to you and to invite you playing basketball and card games together at the basketball court.
Reading until now, you may be curious why I do not tell much about the moment I spent on playing with the kids!!!! Unlike other classmates hosted by the locals with big family size, there are only FOUR family members including Nelly (our host), granny (Nelly’s mother), Cindy and I. As for Nelly, she is a graceful single lady being self-employed. Therefore, after getting back to our house and dining together, instead of going downhill to watch basketball match or singing karaoke like the other family usually do, we used to sit outside the house catching a chill with a casual chat together. In particular, the neighbors’ love is extremely impressive. Most often, they would come over to our house and be so generous to share the seafood that they had freshly caught from the sea. Some of them would also bring their guitar and beat box along with them. You know, I just can’t tell how great and relaxing it is when you can spend a busking night chilling and learning to sing love songs in Visaya in such an exotic country. It is no wonder why the old saying goes that music can always be an useful tool to break the barriers among people from all walks of lives regardless the nationality.
So far as I have been staying in Philippine, I have been reminded of the importance of staying positive, worrying less and building faith. All these words seem to be platitude, but they are indeed the path to happiness. As for the villagers who are born and bred in Tubod Mar, people do have to worry about money, work from dawn to dusk and struggle for a better living. When comparing with them, people in Hong Kong are privileged enough in having more chance to get a well-paid job. Yet, happiness is comprised of contentment. Even the people living here are less wealthy, they emphasize their work-life balance of which Hong Kongers are lacking. Now, I just can’t wait to immerse myself into this lovely place.