Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Adventure Continues

It seems that over the past week we've been trying to fit all of the "we shouldda's" into our schedule.

So far this week I was able to ride through the Jollibee's drive-thru in a pedikab and tonight I ate goat meat.

I'd just like to add, goat meat does not taste like chicken and I was told it is the cleanest meat. Why is it the cleanest meat? Good question! I was told because pigs can get hoof/mouth disease and cows can get mad-cow disease, but what do goats ever get? Hm..... interesting point.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Big Fat Filipino Adventure

So, yesterday could be counted as probably the greatest day I've had so far in the Philippines.

Not only did I go to a cockfight, but I got to ride a carabao and visit a giant waterfall as well. First, the cockfight. I know it's illegal, and cruel to animals... but this is probably one of the biggest cultural events you can go to in the Philippines. First the roosters are brought into the ring so everybody can see them from the stands. This is when the most commotion happens, everybody starts standing up and shouting out their bets. Picture the New York Stock Exchange, and that's about what it's like. They make special hand signals; if the hand is pointed to the side or up it's the number they're showing meant in hundreds of pesos, a hand that is pointed down is representing thousands of pesos. Next they check and inspect the roosters, and finally they let them go at it. It's a fight to the death, and the loser takes dinner home.

Next on the agenda for the day was carabao riding. Ok, too cool! Willard, my host brother-in-law is from the country, so he arranged for my friend Loren and I to ride an actual carabao. They hosed it off for us, and basically let us ride it like you do a pony when you're a little kid; lead rope and all. His family all came to watch us, they said it was their first time seeing an American ride a carabao. We said it was our first time too :)

Lastly, we headed to the Casa Roco falls. It's this really tall waterfall, which required us to walk up the mountain, just so we could climb back down to get close to the fall. It was quite a hike... but the view was amazing.
It was a really good day.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I will be leaving Dumaguete on November 2, and I've finally decided why I am going to miss my host family so much. My host sister and brother-in-law were driving me to a seamstress so I could have a dress fixed, and the radio started to play Hanson. Willard asked me if I knew Hanson... and I laughed and said, "Um, Of course! I was in love with them in 5th grade!"

So instead of mocking me or making fun of me like the rest of America would do, they turned it up and started to sing along too. Yep, it was like the Key West roadtrip all over again. And this is why I'm going to miss Dumaguete.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mission: Success

well, I woke this morning with an intense want to go home. The mix of malaria pill, dreams of home, the extreme desire not to do our community project, and a headache last night followed by a brownout all made the desire to ET very real.

The headache went away, the power came back on, I talked to my parents and sister who talked some sense into me, and now the community project is officially done. A sense of relief has come, and the day is going to get better.

The community project went really well! Jasmine and I did an hour speech about the 5 Steps of Writing. We took turns presenting the steps and showcased many ideas that the teachers could use in their classrooms. I started with a mad lib, which got the teachers laughing and it just kept going. I didn't mispeak too much, and I didn't have another horrendous speech class disaster (when I actually said in mid-speech, in front of the entire class, "oh crap, i lost my place." None of that, it went better than I hoped for.

So what will be my award for such a great class? You can find me at the local McDonald's, enjoying french fries, Coke Light, Oreo McFlurry, and free WIFI. I know, I eat McDonald's more here than I ever did in the States... but trust me, it won't last once I get to my new site.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

this little piggy went to the market...

My sister once told me that the strangest thing she had ever eaten was a cockroach... I don't know if what I ate today is worse than that, but its gotta be close! One of the little girls in my host family was celebrating her fifth birthday, and I was able to go to her party. The had an entire table set, lechon pig and all. It was quite the fiesta. This is when it happened, I ate the most Filipino food I have ever eaten before...dinuguan. Yep, that's right, pig's blood. I swore I would never try it, and yet today it just didn't seem that bad.

As time goes on, I can't help but think of all the things I said I would never do because it would be too far out of my comfort zone. For example, snorkeling (I don't even like to swim in the deep end of the pool!) and eating pig's blood (um... I don't even eat ribs because it involves bones), and yet after only 2 months here I've overcome these things. No, I don't know if I'll be the first in line for dinuguan at the next fiesta, but at least I know what it's like now.

Time does a lot of amazing things... but will enough of it pass for me to try balut (fertilized duck eggs)? Well, I guess I've learned never to say never!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

...and you wouldn't even have to pay for a hotel!

I thought about sending out Filipino Tourism spam to everyone I know, but then I figured this might do the job too:

And I know it's like a 20 hour flight over here, so here are also the links to several discounted airfare search engines (you will want to fill in Manila for place of arrival):

So... who wants to come visit me in the Philippines? :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Community Project

Our training groups are preparing for our community project. The community project is something that we have been planning for over a month, and is basically our opportunity to put everything we've learned so far into practice and give back to the schools that have been letting us come into their classrooms and work. After doing this assessment called PACA (which is quickly replacing the ESOL binder I had to do in college, in regards to how much I don't like to learn about it) we learned more about the school and its needs.

The project our school decided on was to do a teacher worshop about the top three priorities they expressed: reading, writing, and drama. We've broken it up so that each topic gets about an hour and a half, two mariendas (snack time), an hour lunch, and then we're out of there. I'm working on the writing componen. I've been pulling out all my old resources from college and all the tips I ever learned from Florida Writes. The big presentation is on October 21st, so we still have a little time to finish everything up. I hope it all goes well. That would be a good start and motivator for all the other projects we'll be working on during the next two years.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"thank you, thank you, thank you" said like Gran

Alright, today was better than Christmas! I went to tech training hoping they would have mail for us because they haven't delivered any in over two weeks, and when I got there not only did I get mail, but there were 3 packages and even more letters! WAHOO! Thank you for all the fun birthday surprises, and Halloween treats, and everything else. All the pictures are hanging up in my room, (yes Nick, even your jungle baby song), and every time I look at all the cards and drawings I can't help but smile. Ya'll definitely made it a birthday to remember.

The day got even better and better after that. Class ended short, which is good no matter what continent you're on, and I got some new books from the packages, so I went down to the Boulevard and read. I love days like that.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

conjunction, junction, what's your function?

I rely heavily on School House Rock for my English grammar. That seems like that's a large majority of what I do in the classroom; teach grammar. I have to say, this may not be very beneficial to the Filipino children I come into contact with. I mean I'm somebody who still lets a word like 'funner' come out of my mouth. I may need more than cartoons to get me through this!

Today was a great lesson however. We reviewed 8 different types of sentence structures, most of which I hadn't heard about since 9th grade English. The class had about 30 kids in it and they all paid attention. It was great! For practice I cut pictures out of a magazine I had so the kids could write the different sentence structures about the pictures. I think they really liked it because I had pictures of Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift, etc... I mean come on, everybody loves a Jonas Brother! :)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

"Rocky Road"- said like Chunk from The Goonies

We got back last night (Saturday night) from our site debriefing with the leaders from Peace Corps. It takes six hours to drive from Bacolod to Dumaguete on a bus... and oh my goodness was it the bumpiest ride ever. It didn't help the situation that I had to go to the bathroom after the first hour, and the scheduled stop wasn't for another hour and a half. A full bladder on a rocky road is not a good situation!

Buses are a big means for long distance transportation, but they're slightly different than the ones in America. The bus will begin it's trip at a terminal, but it will make unscheduled stops along the way if it sees people just standing on the side of the road. So in that way, it's almost just like a taxi service as well. There is a conductor type guy who comes through the bus and that is when you pay, it cost 250 pesos for our trip back to Dumaguete. Some things are the same as in America, like this bus had an airconditioner on it that could reverse Global Warming, and I was glad that this is the one time I had my rain jacket with me. There was however, one big difference, the bus coming back had videokee on it. Yep, kareokee with a bus full of people, bumping along the rocky road; can't get much better than that!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Alright, So I'm an Addict

Some people's drug of choice is marijuana, others prefer crack, I however choose to use and abuse the Internet. I admit, my use of the Internet is getting way out of hand, like it's my lifeline to what I've known in the past and without it I might loose everything. I know it's kind of irrational and I'm really never going to loose my past, but all the same, it's really nice to be able to log-on and get instant information and communicate to everyone I love.

Some people give up their choice drugs cold turkey, others go through intense rehabilitation programs, I however will be put in a Filipino town that doesn't have Internet. Yeah, I don't know quite what to say. I'm trying to decide if I should wean myself off the Internet while I'm still in training, or live it up while I can.

Some people cannot overcome their addictions, I however am determined to. I'm trying to think of all the other things I can do: write letters seems to be on the top of my list, read (maybe I'll finally get to read all 2 billion pages of the Harry Potter's series), visit the beautiful area in and around my site, grade papers, actually practice my Cebuano language materials, meet the great new students and citizens of the site I'll be at. The possibilities are endless, I just need to get over this small hurdle in this big adventure! But I can't help but wonder... do they have a 12 step program for this? :)