Do you remember your first time traveling outside the country? How did it feel to eat the local cuisine, ride a new form of transportation, or hear a new language? This is my first time in the Philippines and I have experienced a few things I may have never done otherwise. I would like to share those "firsts" with you. In chronological order here are the top 10 things I have done for the very first time.
1. Experience a typhoon
The second week, we experienced typhoon Glenda. This is when some of us realized what type of damage wind and rain can do and the reality of it happening in the Philippines so frequently. "Welcome to the Philippines" said Glenda.
2. Eat Balut
Would you eat a hard boiled duck embryo? Yea, me either but how could I spend two years in this country where it is a common street food? I checked this off my list early on and I don't plan to do it ever again. This video proves that one time is enough!
3. Ride a Jeepney
What was once a United States military jeep from World War II is now a popular form of transportation in the Philippines. Flag down the Jeep like a taxi, pay the driver your fare and just knock on the overhead rails or make a kiss noise to signal the driver to stop.
4. Jump from a boat
Part of our initial orientation was a water safety training. We were all issued life jackets for our service and were required to jump out of a "banca" made from wood and bamboo. Then we had to maneuver our way back into this boat.
5. Take a bucket bath
Typhoon Glenda, oriented us very quickly into Filippino culture, one practice is the use of the Timba and the Tabo (bucket & dipper). We ran low on water and we were left with the Timba and Tabo. Once I arrived at my training site I was made aware that this practice was not a special circumstance but the norm.
6. Ride a Tricycle (Trike)
Another popular means of transportation. The Tricycle or Trike, is a motorcycle with a side car. It takes you to a few neighboring Barangays but not too far. For a country with limited private vehicles, the trike is perfect for getting around. 8 Pesos lang!
7. Lead a Zumba Class
Ok this picture is a bit misleading. My Zumba sessions don't always look like this the average is 10-20 people. Most of the time people wait to hear the music bumping in the gym to decide if they will attend or not. This picture was taken at a special event for one of the local high schools.
8. Watch a chicken slaughtering
You buy a new house and you have a house warming. You build a house in the Philippines and you have a ceremonial killing. The men that completed our dirty kitchen killed and cooked a chicken in celebration. More details HERE
9. Climb in a window
One day my room key snapped into two pieces and I could not enter my room. My host mother and myself had adjoining rooms but she was not home. I remembered that my back window was unlocked. So I used the bench below my window to climb in. I've climbed out of windows but never in.
10. Climb a mountain
As part of my assignment, I have to travel to Barangays (small towns) to conduct Family Development Sessions. This particular barangay required me to hike up a unpaved mountain for an hour and a half and returning to my house in the rain. Luckily there was a beautiful to make my trek worthwhile
Other first that did not make the Top Ten list:
- Eat Canned Meat (Spam/Corned Beef/Sardines)
- Celebrate a holiday abroad
- Attend a Catholic mass
- Wash clothes by hand
- Eat Durian
- The Natural Travelista