Great Place with Great People!

By Chunyu

Time past so quickly that it has already been over one week since we arrived Jagna. This week, I have experienced so much more fun than I was in Hong Kong this summer.

The first day with uncertainty

IMG_20160729_143919The gloomy, cloudy sky

But back to the first day of the trip, I was not as elevated as I thought I should be. Suffering from serious insomnia the night before, I slept in and was late for the gathering time. Everything was so hurry but luckily I packed my things last night. Not even managed to say proper farewell to my family since I was too rushed, I have already been on my way to airport. Muddling along the way to airport, all I could feel was tiredness and unsureness about myself and the trip. Questions about my capability and ability kept popping up in my mind. This is the first time I leave home and spend time with such a diverse group of students for so long. In fact, I was quite nervous, not only about immersing myself in a new culture, but also also about in the new group.

It took a long way to fly from Hong Kong and Manila, from Manila to Tagilaran, and then finally another ride from Tagilaran to Jagna. The weather was not as hot and wet as expected since it had just rained. The sky was gloomy and cloudy, and so was my mind. I just looked outside the window, feeling the strong wind blew against my face mindlessly and pondering over the doubts without answer. Our bus finally got to Tubod Mar, a small village in Jagna, where we will be staying for the remaining there weeks. After a tough walk up to the very steep hill, we finally got there. I could feel the curious gazes from the villagers, because this might be the first time to have so many foreign visitors.

Kasper and I were assigned to Rebecca’s house in the first night. Rebecca is a very cheerful lady. After dinner, we had a little chat with Rino, Reanie and Rebecca and I started to feel better. But sooner, unfortunately I needed to switch to another homestay since Kasper and I, as teammates were not supposed to stay in the same homestay. That meant the next day, I would have to visit a new family with a new roommate. To be honest, during the night, I started missing everything in Hong Kong, family, friends, my bed, AC and shower…etc., because all the things seemed much harder than I expected and I didn’t feel myself really enjoying. The first day ended with loads of questions and uncertainty.

My Lovely Filipino Parents

On the second day, I quickly met with my roommate Sharu and the old lady in the house named Adelfa before we went out for a walk. Adelfa lives with her husband, Teodoro. They have 3 sons and 1 daughters. All of them are grown-ups and working in other areas in the Philippines, except their daughter Ren Ren, who is currently living with her husband and children in another house in the village.

In the very beginning, I was worrying whether I could get along well with Adelfa, Teodoro and Sharu. But the worries were chucked out after we had our first dinner. Adelfa is very welcoming and motherly. Although she is not very good at speaking English, Sharu and I can always get what she means by looking at her facial expressions and gestures. She always speak with her lovely giggles. Teodoro is comparatively quieter to Adelfa but he is also friendly and nice. Sharu, although younger than me, is mature. Strangely, he can always guess what Adelfa and Teodoro’s meaning even though sometimes they speak in Bisaya (the local language here). So I called him the “ Adelfa translator”.

One day when we were dining, Adelfa suddenly paused and spoke with her cute smile, “Sharu, Chun, your mama and papa is in Hong Kong and Sri Lanka, far far away. But you can tell your mama and papa don’t worry. You have your Filipino parents here.” Since then, every time when they hear me and Sharu calling them mama and papa, they just laugh out so loud as if we were their biological children. We went to market together and we have little chat after dinner every night. They always try to teach us Bisaya, but I am just too stupid with that. Here I can really feel the family warmth and love from my host parents. And language barrier doesn’t seem to be a big problem.

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The family dinner

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heading to market with Adelfa

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From L to R: Adelfa, me, Sharu and Zishi

The First Times

Life here in the village is simple but definitely unusual. Unlike the life in Hong Kong, we don’t have much entertainment or activities at night. So, we enjoy the very primitive form of life, sleeping when getting dark and getting up once the sun rises. This is nearly impossible in Hong Kong since there are too many distractions out there. But life here is simple and relaxing. We have limited internet. We no longer stick with the electronic gadgets but the real face-to-face communication. We have our breakfasts and dinners together with our family, but back in Hong Kong, this is a rare practice. And every morning, I try to wake up at 430am to join the morning training with my buddies (though most of the time I failed haha). All these are my first times and rather unusual in Hong Kong.

Here I met so many amazing people, both the Filipinos and my course mates. People here are just so cheerful and friendly. Every time I meet anyone in the village. The first I see and hear must be their big smiley face and warm greeting. We can just randomly go into someone’s house when they are singing Karaoke without feeling strange, because all of them treat you as friend from their heart (One day on the beach, I just ran into a group of Filipinos and sang Happy Birthday with them. That’s hilarious!). And our team is also wonderful. For example, Sharu, my roommate, is very helpful. We talk about the difficulties faced in the business every night and he can always provides me with practical suggestions based on his experience. Suhail is very energetic and funny. He can always initiate things and motivate others to do together. And tomorrow, I will be going to diving with him and Johnny.

If I have to summarise my first week here with one sentence, it would be great place with great people. This definitely made up my week!

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Morning run with training buddies

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Singing happy birthday on the beach!

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