We started the day nice and early with breakfast at the church. Pastor Gary gave a presentation about the culture of the Philippines and its people.
After breakfast, we visited a primary school where we were flooded with children wanting balloon swords, animals and flowers. Chasing bubbles brought them so much joy, leaving us to realise Bacolod was definitely the ‘City of Smiles’. Visiting welcoming, Filipinos houses’ was heart breaking., especially being told that eight people live in a small space no larger than a single bedroom. Despite their appalling living conditions, the people have positive outlook on life, always having a ready smile. We were given a ‘buddy’ who was a local Filipino student. They shared so much about themselves, their culture, their families and their country. Strong connections were developed. Two activities that were set up for us were “Abandon Ship” and fire fighting. Jumping off a two-story ship was frightening for some people but an exciting experience for most. Fighting a fire was awesome and a once in a lifetime opportunity. Dinner and karaoke followed which united the three schools with some old fashioned singing with the local people after a day of meeting, getting to know people and easing into a trip which will be mentally and physically challenging.
Lochlain and Maddison