It was a strange experience departing from Perth Airport; many of us were going to a completely foreign country with certain people that we knew, but many that we didn’t. Some of us haven’t even been out of the country before, let alone without any family to accompany us.
The first flight was about five hours long and many of us tried to sleep on the plane, but simply couldn’t because of the excitement of the trip. We stopped in Singapore to refuel on coffee and bananas; some of us managed to fit in a shower before we were off again on our way to Manila. Some of us enjoyed a walk around the butterfly emporium, which if you have ever had the pleasure of seeing it, is spectacular.
The next leg of our journey was three hours, which many took advantage of to catch up on sleep, as the initial excitement had started to wear off. When we landed it was apparent that we were in a different culture; everything from the people to the security was different. We then started the long process of picking up our luggage and checking into the domestic flight to the island of Negros. Some of us were lucky enough to find ourselves at the front of the queue. When we landed the tiredness was evident in everyone from having spent most of the past twenty-four hours awake. We collected our luggage, strapped it to the roof of our buses and went to for a “chicken on a stick” dinner. On our way we saw the mishmash of the American and Filipino cultures. Every motorbike had a sidecar and was absolutely crammed with people, and the waft of side street barbecues was constantly filling the bus.
Dinner was our first impression of the staple Filipino cuisine: rice, barbecue pork and chicken on a stick, which we all enjoyed thoroughly. Pastor Gary hosted this meal while his family provided karaoke entertainment. He also spoke about the culture and gave us bits advice and tips on interacting with the locals.
We then made our way to the hotel where we had our long awaited showers and debriefed for the night.