Special Moments with Filipino Host Families

By Liz, Chunxiao Han:

It has been one week since I arrived in Philippines. These days I spent with my host family must be a wonderful memory accompanying me in the rest of my life. To be honest, there are too many moments I’d like to record during this week. In this blog, I will tell you several short stories, trying to show a picture of my life in Philippines from special points of view.

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Story one – Waterfall, Saturday

It had been two hours since the students and their local friends arrived at the waterfall. As it was around twelve, the host families called back those Hong Kong guys to have lunch together.

The food had been prepared at home and brought here, stored in colorful lunch containers. Fried noodles, fried chicken, fried bananas, rice, and drinks like Miranda and Coke were there for us to choose. I felt as if I had come back to my elementary school life when my grandmother, aunt and mom took me to a park for picnicking. So at that time, I thought there would not be more delicious food in the world, and ate a lot by the waterfall. The feeling, the impression, can’t be wiped from my mind even now.

Story two — one the way back home from the waterfall, Saturday

The truck was on the way back to Jagna, carrying the tired students and their host families. Along the way, pop music came out from the audio on the truck. Each person, although exhausted after swimming in the waterfall pool, shook their bodies to the music. On both sides of the road, local residents waved their hands, smiling to the truck where passengers in weird clothes danced to a cheerful rhythm. The people on the truck also replied with large smiles. Interaction with strangers is always one of the reasons why traveling is so attractive.

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Story three – home, Saturday

Tonight we also had a good meal cooked by dear Paz, mama in my homestay. In each dinner, Paz will prepare fruits for us. Since I love mangoes so much, she cut half of a mango each day for me, and I am more than grateful to that. These days, the host family and we were getting more and more like a whole family.

After dinner, usually the whole family gather together watching TV, and tonight was no exception. I love watching TV – you needn’t move around but sitting there having a good rest! However, tonight, to my surprise, I discovered that watching TV could also tighten the bond between families and inspire intercultural communication. Tonight when I was using my phone with my roommate, Paz called me to the neighbor’s house to watch TV. It was because the travel channel in the TV was showing scenery in Anda, a beautiful place we planed to go to. I found that Lydia, Paz, and Noel were all there watching TV. After I took a seat in the living room, we talked about interesting things that happened in Anda last year, my school life, and my family. They taught me some Bisaya words, like “Maayong gabie” and “Maayong buntag”. Then they asked me what is “eat” in Chinese. I said “吃chi”. They were really surprised since in Bisaya, “chi” means “go away”!

How wonderful it is to become a part of local family while you are welcomed as a guest!

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In short, I really tried a lot of new things during the last one week. For example, I climbed to the waterfall and then swung down. I played basketball with local boys. Last Sunday, I experienced a Mass with my host family. The friendly Filipinos I met here were the biggest fortune I found in Philippines. But for them, I couldn’t have got so close to Filipino cultures. Thank you, my family.

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