"this is where is all goes down, down down..."

    there are many reasons i love the phillipines, but all of them have to do with the people.
    i've only been there once, a few weeks ago, on my senior trip. every year, the senior class at my high school (from which i have finally graduated, woo hoo!) participates in the philanthropic habitat for humanity organization, which gathers volunteers to build houses for the needy. most classes choose to go to the phillippines, and this year we decided to go to naga city in bicol. bicol is pretty rural, and i think that enriched the experience even more.
    the city was very crowded. the traffic was horrible (there were no lights) and noisy and you had to go indoors to find fresh air. the concept of personal space did not exist, especially when thirteen students and two adults packed themselves into a single jeep-knee. each of your elbows would scrape two different people. but, upod returning to japan, that is one of the things you miss - the inevitability of human contact. in the phillippines, people are always awake. they roam the streets at night, sing and talking. and even though you know you will never see someone again and you have never seen them before you smile and mean it, because that is what happens to you in the phillpines. everyone smiles, at it comes from their hearts.
    it's funny. the fifteen of us, we were obviously foreigners. everyone knew we had a relatively large amount of money and we knew they knew but - it was never an issue. "no matter where you from, tonight your from right here" whatever else the people saw about us in the end we were accept as human beings. we were welcomed as human beings, and i think that is what impacted me the most.
    on the last day of our trip, we stayed in manila and delivered wheelchairs to a community center in the poorest part of the city. this part is hard to relate. it is hard to write about, because it was hard to see - but it is important. i had expected our wheelchairs would go to friendly, happy, smiling children like all the others we had seen. but the children we met were carried out in the arms of the nuns. they were skin and bone, with no meat in between, no muscle. they couldn't even hold their bodies up. it was exactly like what you see in magazine and on news stations, but it was real, they were right in front of us. my friend went to the bathroom and shed tears, but i couldn't cry. it wasn't until later, remembering it, that it hit me. it makes you sick to the stomach.
    while we were still in naga, a women came up to me and my friend in a convienent store. she told us we were beautiful, and asked for our addresses. but the funny thing is, it is not us who are beautiful, it is the fillippinos. they are beautiful because of their spirit, their openess, their honesty, their humanity. the phillippines i saw was dirty, noisy, and sticky, but all i could think of when i came back to japan was how sterile it is here.
Fahrenheit Fahrenheit
22-25, F
2 Responses Jun 30, 2007

your a Filipino? where do you live? anywhere near Bicol? or do you even live there at all? the Philippines is *such* a beautiful country, i would *love* to go back sometime. i think those of us in "developed" nations could learn so much from people in the Philippines - i know i did. ^^

I love the Philippines no matter how hard it is to live here, how traffic it may get during rush hours, how chaotic it may be with politics, and how many people experience poverty. <br />
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There may be a lot of things I could write about how much I hate it here but I could write more about how much I love living in the Philippines and being a Filipino.<br />
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You're right. It's basically the Filipinos that makes the Philippines a lovable and happy country.<br />
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I am really touched with what you wrote and made me even more proud of being a Filipino.