Today was eventful in so many ways. After waking up at an early hour, we had breakfast and left for Sum-Ag High School. We were greeted by an awesome group of cultural dancers in great costumes and 4,000 students cheering with excitement. In groups we toured the school, observing classrooms unlike anything we see at home. At the high school we signed our names on a poster signifying our allegiance with the locals and we sang each of our nations’ national anthems. The Filipino students lived up to their national reputation as the greatest “selfie” opportunists in the world, bombarding us with photos and their cheeky nature. We had the opportunity to connect with their teachers over lunch about their careers, experiences and their commitment to educating their thousands of students.
We were allocated a buddy who gave each of us a beautiful handmade necklace. Throughout the day, the bond with our buddies grew stronger and the relationships are some we will cherish for the rest of our lives. Being bombarded with requests for selfies, group photos and their incredible hospitality showed us that the Filipinos are really welcoming.
After lunch we went to an orphanage where we were met by the teachers in charge of the young children, many of them under the age of 5. It brought us so much joy to see these toddlers, some of them babies. We all sat down and the children put on a performance; singing their favorite nursery rhymes. We were privileged to hand out donated books and toys, which were well received. We made bracelets, tiaras and balloon animals, which lit up their faces. Bacolod, the city where we are staying, is known as the ‘City of Smiles’ and we certainly experienced that here.
Today was a real eye-opener and really showed us how appreciative we should be for the resources we have back home.
By the way, we may or may not have adopted a couple of the Filipino children!
Christina Koutsoukos and Katelyn Towie.