Catch-up blog #2: Flight to Cebu

Trip Start Apr 26, 2010
Trip End Sep 17, 2010

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Where I stayed
Boyla diving hotel

Flag of Philippines  , Visayas,
Friday, July 16, 2010

So after two days of 'In-Country Orientation' training in Manila, we flew down to Cebu, an Island in the central Visayas region, which would be our home for the next 2 and a bit months! For the first night, we were staying in a diving hotel called Boyla on the neighbouring Mactan Island, for the finally part of our training, the 'In-Community Orientation', before we would be moving in to our various host homes scattered around Cebu!

First impressions of the Philippines (or what I have seen of it) is the massive disparities of wealth. The spanish influence has left sprawling shanty-town like slums right next to the skyscraping inner city. A few other things you should also know:
Instead of Buses, they have a system of 'Jeepneys'. These left over US military jeeps having been completely transformed into pimped out stretch hummer type contractions. Only without the health and safety! Its like a massive episode of pimp my ride! Instead of bus stops, these jeeps drive continuous loops around the city. To get on, you have to try and hail it down somewhere around its route, run alongside, jump and hope for the best! Getting off again is rather similar!
From your jeepney, you then have two choices; Trisikad or horse drawn carriage! Unlike the UK, horse drawn carriages are far from a luxury here, and operate mainly around the slum areas! Trisikads are interesting too! It is either a BMX or a small motorbike, with a side carriage quite literally duct-taped to the side! You get in this creaking, wobbling contraption and just pray for the best!
And then you arrive at your destination, in total the journey is unlikely to cost over 10p! Walking is a no-no!

Money has a totally different worth here. You can buy whole meals with a drink for under 50p. Clothes for little over a pound. University tuition fees can cost under 100pounds a year (they have no pound keys on the keyboards!).

And then there are the mosquitos. They are everywhere, and are on a campaign of hatred towards specifically me. I have bites everywhere. My toes (I wear shoes), ankles, legs, arms, hands, fingers, even one little blighter got me in the armpit! That was a week ago, and its still sore! Even the mosquito repellant just seems to be fuel to the fire! They love the stuff! Its like the icing on the cake! There are frogs, geckos, cockroached, stray dogs, but none of them compare to these bloody mosquitos!

There is a pretty heavy American influence too, from the brief US colonisation, and this has left massive spralling malls all over the country too. Shopping malls like you have never seen before. Malls that would take a week to explore! This is all well and good, but it has also meant that everyday I hear "Hey Joe!" yelled in my direction at least a hundred times. Im pretty sure im developing a psychosis.

Anyway, on Saturday we finally moved into our host home, in a village called tintay, in the talamban region of Cebu city. Cue the next entry. Seemless.
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eve on

entertaining stories and full of humor too. enjoyed reading your blog. cheers

Plypox on

Ah well, get ready for more jeepney techniques when you live in the Talamban area, because the driver will maneuver like guided missiles amongst the street, making Hollywood car chase scenes too stupid to comprehend on our streets.

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