(Re)Visit: Philippines

At Cultural Vistas, immersive international experiences are everything; even after they’re over, we continue to learn from them. While new international experiences are not possible right now, we can still learn from our past experiences abroad.

Over two weeks, Cultural Vistas is sharing photos and reflections from our alumni through our (Re)Visit series. Each day, we will focus on a different country or U.S. state that transformed them. These photos stay the same, but our perspectives continue to change.

Thank you to our alumni for allowing us to highlight their stunning photography. We hope these photos inspire you to reflect, remember, and #ReVisit your own experiences abroad.

Philippines

Smith Volcano in the Philippines

Smith Volcano

Gab Mejia
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2016)

“It was an expedition to one of the most remote places in the Philippines. A 6-day land and sea voyage to the unexplored volcanoes of the northernmost part of my country surrounded by nothing but an endless sea. This crazy experience transformed me by teaching me that the greatest adventures in life are made from the hardest struggles- may it be being scorched by the sun for hours, to getting drenched by the waves of the ocean, to climbing the tallest mountains for days, because with all that I’ve experienced here I learned that the difference between adversity and adventure is attitude. And I have only one life to make the most out of it all, no matter how difficult it may be.”

 

Babuyan Claro Ridge Trekking Philippines

Babuyan Claro Ridge Trekking

Gab Mejia
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2016)

Man climbing down Calayan Island

Calayan Island Expedition

Gab Mejia
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2016)

Silhouette standing on a mountain looking at the sunset

Edge of Glory

Gab Mejia
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2016)

“Traveling to the edge of the Philippines, I’ve come to realize that sunsets are the living existence that even endings can still be beautiful. Travel has taught me to remain hopeful in life, because like the sun that never fails to rise- so can we.”

Girl holding trash on a beach in the Philippines

Beach Cleanup

Bryan Madera
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2016)

Bohol, Philippines

Bohol

Mi-An Joy Taglucop
International Visitor Leadership Program (2016)

“My first time to do beginners diving session at Panglao Island Bohol. Before the dive, there are a lot of things that popped up in my mind, what if I will panic under the water…what if a big fish will catch me…what if I will get lost under…and all the what ifs. But on the other hand, I also thought of when will I try? When will I face my fears? If not now, when? I have to conquer my fears. I need to do something I never did before. There will always be first time in life. So I took the courage and trust the instructor together with my cousins who were with me during the dive that he will help me through as a first timer. To enjoy the new experience.”

Mat-i Davao Oriental

Mat-i Davao Oriental

Mi-An Joy Taglucop
International Visitor Leadership Program (2016)

“I joined my brothers family on a roadtrip in Eastern part of Mindanao Island, Philippines. On the third day of the travel I thought of just doing site seeing and never planned to go swimming as we already had swimming in the previous day. The amazing beach at Dahican, Mat-i, Davao Oriental with the white sands and crystal clear water tempted me to swim and enjoy the wonderful creation of God. Even my little niece who’s not feeling well wanted to dip into the crystal clear water. One can be in awe of its beauty. Unexploited beach should be taken care of. To take care of our sea and the environment is everyone’s concern and not just of a few so that the future generation may still enjoy of its beauty.”

 

Woman standing in front of a waterfall

Waterfall

Nadiah Farhana Binti Zainuddin
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2016)

“My trip to the Philippines has been something that I have been planning for months. Not only for the short getaway to the beautiful Island in the South but also to meet and engage with hopeful youth leaders to discuss the issue of gender equality. Having met so many people from different backgrounds and from all walks of life during my stay there, I was exposed to personal stories and accounts that are different from those reported in the media. Issues ranging from discrimination due to religion and sexual orientation, to the first-hand experience of violence in the household. Things that I would never have learned had I not burst my comfortable bubble.

My 15-day journey in the Philippines, from Manila to Quezon City to Cagayan De Oro has taught me so many valuable life lessons; the value of humility and humbleness when I am placed in a foreign environment; the importance of curiosity, tolerance and the sincere effort to understand when I meet new friends from the other side of the world.

When I was in my last week in the Philippines, I ran out of money due to my own carelessness and when I confided this to my dad, his only advice was “The only way for you to not make mistakes is if you sat at home and did nothing. Going places and experiencing these things make you learn. I’m glad that you’re it learning now.” When I read that, I realized the misfortune that happened to me is in fact a blessing in disguise.

My experience has transformed me into a different person with brand new eyes. When I view people now, my first instinct is to empathize even if, as individuals, we might be worlds apart due to our different upbringings. However, I believe that at the end of the day, as humans, we will always be able to find more things in common than the things that set us apart.

I’m glad that I have had the privilege to meet new people and create new families in the parts of the world that I traveled to. I have learned how to “besos” people when I greet them, I have learned how to great people more politely in the Philippines just by adding the word “po” at the end of the sentence and all these things I would not have known if I did not step outside of my comfort zone. The journey has given me small virtual windows to peek through the life of others and in turn, it helps put my life into perspective.”

Boy standing on the side of a boat

Boy

Nadiah Farhana Binti Zainuddin
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2016)

 

Swimming around a boat

Swimming by a boat

Bryan Madera
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2016)

“Traveling to different coastal communities in the Philippines maybe it be a tourism destination or a fishing village it is always a new learning experience for me. It is an opportunity to learn how tourism impacted the socioeconomic or environment of the community or to learn the fishing practice in the coastal fishing village. These learning are essential to my career and approach to my advocacies.”

 

Couple walking down a beach at sunset

Sunset

Bryan Madera
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2016)

 

Bajao, Surigao Norte

Coastal Community of Bajao, Surigao Norte

Bryan Madera
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2016)

“Traveling is like a phoenix bird. You burn yourself into ashes to let go of the stress and burden yet you born again to learn how to fly, explore, and be wiser again.”

 

Marantao, Lanao del Sur, Mindanao

Marantao, Lanao del Sur, Mindanao

Abubakar De Juan Basman
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2017)

“This was when I was given the opportunity to represent our province Lanao del Sur in the February 2017 – Spring 2017 YSEALI Academic Fellowship. As I immerse with my fellow ASEAN together we learn the culture of America and the best success stories of the guest speakers we meet, organizations and places we visit around America. As I joined and represent my province which is known to be one of the poorest and conflicted area all I have in mind is to have a community project that will help the challenge communities of our province to gradually grow out of poverty and conflict through livelihood programs, youth empowerment and the like and the program is known as “Project Ogop” the term ogop is a M’ranaw term for help. As I go back to my hometown bringing all the learnings and excitement on implementing my program an unexpected tragedy occurred to my hometown Marawi City.

It was on the 23rd Day of May 2018 when an exchange of gunfire between the Military and the local terrorist group “Maute Group”, resulting to mass evacuation of the Citizen of Marawi. The fight took five (5) months before it was successfully liberated and it damages almost 90 percent of the city; people have suffered in the evacuation center in the nearby places starving from food, water and affected health. Children, Women, Men and Adult were all suffering in the evacuation Center. Today there were still some of the Displaced family who stayed in the Evacuation Center, Some took refuge with their relative and others were already in a Temporary Shelter.

As I was sharing with my Project Ogop which is supposed to jump-off last May 25, 2017 in the Municipality of Picong Lanao del Sur a 6th class Municipality, unfortunately with the tragedy happened all my partners and I don’t know how to implement it as much as I wanted to. I as the siege is going on I was invited by my former Boss Mr. Rajiv Ramos to volunteer as a rescue team now known to be as “SUICIDE SQUAD” and after 3 attempts of volunteering finally I was able to go to Marawi and started volunteering as a member of the group last JUNE 26, 2017 a month after the Siege Started.

As I started volunteering and was assigned to doing the documentation (Database Management) of all the rescued civilians and retrieved civilians; I also join in the operation such as on the rescue, fire brigade, retrieval of the dead, relief operation and the like. Aside from that here I was Able to implement my program Project Ogop; I was able to conduct a psychosocial intervention, youth empowerment camp, livelihood programs, and the like. Today I’m still in Marawi City and now working as a Humanitarian aid under a Non-Government Organization and still on going with my program. If given the chance, I would like to share more of my story on how I was Transformed by Travel as 500 words is not enough.”

 

 

Are you remembering, reflecting, and (re)visiting your own experiences abroad? Share your story with us.

Latest posts by Anthony Naglieri (see all)

Anthony Naglieri

For more than 15 years, Anthony has stewarded integrated communications for a diverse set of institutions – spanning everything from a major U.S. military academy and professional/collegiate sports entities to higher education and internally-minded NGOs and causes. Connect on LinkedIn

View all posts by Anthony Naglieri

One thought on “(Re)Visit: Philippines”

  1. Thank you Cultural Vistas for including me in your blog and featuring the Philippines. Proud pinay here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.