Philippines

Jesuit Brotherhood

June 17, 2013

Packing up and heading to the airport. My time in The Philippines has sadly came to an end. I am overwhelmed with gratitude as I leave this beautiful county. It’s been wonderful. Each part/city had a significant role in the overall experience. My last stop was here in Cebu. Most of you know I went to a Jesuit Prep School for high school. They always told us that we all were “brothers” for life which I took as a grain of salt at time. It’s been proven true over time and once again was proven when an old classmate, Shawn Harvey (Harvey O’Neil), opened up his apartment to me and invited me into his amazing life here in The Philippines. I got taste of culture from someone who has been living here. He and his wonderful girlfriend JoAnn took me on some great excursions. It started with food from a street vendor Friday night. We got two chickens which were cooked right there near the street. We then went to another vendor and got Liempo which is mainly pork (fat) and surprisingly tasty (just watch out for bones). Some rice and few beers were also picked up along the way. Then Saturday night Shawn took us to a fish market. We got off the Jeepney (a communal taxi; we rode hanging on the back. We also took a motorbike where you hop on the back and hold on tight as as you zip through traffic).. So we took this Jeepney to a port where as a traveler I would never think to go in; it was intimidating if you were not familiar with the town. There were roughly 5 places to eat, all fighting for your business as you walk in. “Sir, special price here”.. “No Sir, here is the best fish in town”. It was interesting to see unfold but we had to choose one. All were similar, thirty types of fish along w squid, shrimp, scallops, etc. and you chose which ones you wanted, how you would like it cooked, and BAM, out comes a fresh meal. Probably the healthiest meal I’ve had here.. No time for preservatives and all that other junk we eat in the States. I expanded my food horizons as I ate a hermit crab (sorry), fish eyes, and fish brain! Oh, and it didn’t stop there. Still on my experimental high I decided to try Balut. Ill spare you the image but please feel free to Google it. It is a developing chicken/duck embryo in an egg (with feet and often feathers). Yes. I ate it. A pretty funny video will follow as we filmed the whole thing. We took an evening stroll to a memorial park in town that was a popular hang out for all the teenagers. Cebu had a city feel but we still made it to the beach a couple times (I have a sunburn to prove it). Today I woke up and watched the Spurs/Heat game. It comes on around 9:00 am here. As I sit here eating my lunch and reflecting on my time here in Philippines I realize that’s haven’t been this healthy and happy in years. I’m in complete bliss. I am eternally grateful for the sights I have seen, culture I have experienced and the things I have already discovered about myself as a person. There’s a lot of room for advancement but I think is am on the right track. So onward to Vietnam I go. Love you all thanks for reading.

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Boracay, Philippines

June 12, 2013

Good Afternoon! I made it to Boracay on Monday morning and have really been enjoying this place. I landed a room at a hostel called the Treehouse and have been having a great time picking the minds of other travelers. The first night I accidentally stood in an ant bed which definitely was the low point of the trip this far lol. My circle of friends here in Boracay consist of a Canadian, an Israeli, two English, and a Chilean. It’s been really interesting hearing about their customs. Boracay is a tourist hot spot so it’s a melting pot for many different cultures. My body is finally getting SEMI used to this overwhelming heat but still I have a long way to go. It’s embarrassing always sweating so much lol. Last night we went to get some drinks and then heard music bumping down the beach and we slowly made our way there. It ended up being a wedding party with a big group from Hong Kong. They were FUN and invited us in right away and out came the Absinthe. So basically I attended a wedding shower here in Boracay hah. It was nice of them to invite us in. We all went for a swim in the early hours of the morning and the stars were indescribable. It was comparable to the skies in Moab. The Milky Way was extremely bright and my friend Ben from England was pointing out constellations. The sunsets here are pretty amazing and I am thankful for last night the clouds parted giving us an incredible sunset. Pictures will follow soon! Hope all is well take care.

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Local Interactions in El Nido

June 7, 2013

Just had a local come up and sit down w me during dinner. He was born here in El Nido. I asked him if he has been to Sabong, where I go next. It is only a bus ride. No flight needed and it’s on the same island here. He said he has never been there but it’s his “dream” and that he has heard stories. He is well spoken, well clothed and a waiter here. But still his dream to go five hours by van south. I wish I could buy him a trip. I told him one day he will make it there. I told him about our dog Duke and explained what a pound was and how we saved him from the pound. He was dumbfounded that a pound existed. The convo was sparked by a dog coming to our table and he mentioned how he likes dogs. We then started talking about cats and when I made the purrr noise he started laughing going “your cats do that too?!” So today I am thankful for the opportunity to travel, even if its something as easy as Dallas to Austin. Just the ability to leave my hometown I didn’t realize was such a luxury.

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Gang Family Instagram Meet Up

June 3, 2013

Good Morning! Last night I was finally able to put the faces to the photographers I have interacted with on Instagram for years. They were nice enough to come down from their different locations in an effort to show me their country of which they are so proud. Some took a two plus hour cab ride.. I felt honored and welcomed. It was a great way to end my stay in Manila as I hop a flight to the island of Palawan tonight. Time to escape the city and get to those beautiful beaches everyone thinks of when they picture the Philippines. Thanks again to @duhbomb21_gf @louie427_gf @sellie_gf @valerievino_gf @lunieee_gf for showing me around.

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