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2015

Market Morning

By 2015, All Things Travel, Asia No Comments

We’re in Laoag city. Walking to the market this morning, the air’s warmth hugs my body. It’s eight a.m. and the sun’s rays are delicate but assuring. Getting anywhere requires the utmost alertness of the senses since the vehicular and pedestrian traffic are off the hook and sometimes indistinguishable one from the other.   People just hang off the sides of buses, bikes and jeepneys, jumping on and off as they please. To cross the street is to risk being run down by a swarm of tricycles or a big truck carrying boxes of fruit or cases of glass bottles of…

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Movements

By 2015, All Things Travel, Asia No Comments

The sound of the tires reminds me of the speed and power around me. This bus is moving us towards our goal. Dimly it is lit, with red lights beckoning for attention. Headphones are in, and we are engaged with tones. Twenty-two of us. Sitting and waiting for movement. This grey tube whining in the darkness, saying, ‘here I am, here I come.’ Screaming with energy and force, its hundreds of working parts are placed together to form a solid, automation of movement. Here I sit amongst it all. An impermeable membrane that tends to sweat in heat. A mass…

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Mr. And Ms. University 2015

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Never in my life have I known what attending a beauty pageant is like. After this experience I cannot say the same. Northwestern University put on a “Mr. And Ms. University” beauty pageant. Why? I will never know, but I can speculate! Filipinos love to perform in the spotlight. Normally, they are modest and shy but they love to put on a show when given the correct outlet. Naturally they are attracted to the glitz and glamour of a beauty pageant. It allows them to dress-up in rolls of sparkly sequins and seven-inch heels. They have the confidence to strut…

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The Ocean

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From the road that I stood on, I could see the ocean. With sweat beading on my forehead and rolling into my eyes, nothing could have stopped me from making the trek toward that break. I stepped off of the pavement and onto the faded dirt path that entered into the foliage. It zigzagged, mimicking the river that flowed to my right. I stepped over a decaying tree and took a sharp turn to my left where a skinny cow blocked my way. Shocked by the beast, I froze. Then I laughed. I scooted around her and found my way…

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Two Extremes

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There are two sides to everything, two extremes to every situation. Coming to the Philippines was a great example of that. Before coming here we talked about how there is not much of a middle class in the Philippines. It is one extreme or the other. Rich or poor. Driving through the Philippines, on the way to Laoag city, we would pass slum communities where houses were made out of plywood and tin roofs. In the middle of the slums there were huge beautiful palaces. They seemed so out of place. It made me realize just how huge the difference…

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Reflections on the Philippines

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It’s hard to believe that two weeks have passed already and that our time in the Philippines is drawing to a close. We end our time in the capital, Manila, where we began. My first impression was that, aside from the heat it wasn’t all that different from back home, from Calgary. The streets were plastered with huge ads (and to my surprise, most of them were in English too), and filled with Filipinos. My high school experience consisted largely in building relationships with Filipinos, the majority ethnicity of my school. On the long drive to Laoag my impression began…

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The City

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  I came into this world of small alleys and busy streets. The ways are littered with tricycles and jeepneys. The hustle and bustle of this strange world seems like a reflection of myself. Laoag city is very confusing at the first glance, but it becomes a system of confusion and a strange order within itself. For such a small town boy, realizing all of this so soon was weird. Overwhelming. There is a strange phenomenon that happens when one enters the city. The crazy buzzing and humming of the motorcycles becomes something you count on, and becomes quiet, just…

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Finding Balance

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Journeys: you either have too much time on your hands or not enough. But what do we do in those periods of waiting? The way I see it, there are only a couple of options: 1) converse with others, 2) mindlessly look at a screen of some sort, 3) adventure of any kind, or, 4) take the opportunity of silence and just sit with your thoughts. (Most times I choose the 4th option). As an introvert I have always understood the value of being alone. It not only recharges me, it gives me time to collect myself and my thoughts. Though,…

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Lizard Diary

By 2015, Asia One Comment

Something you may not know about me is that I am an avid lizard watcher. I love the way they scurry around from place to place, displaying their impressive dexterity and agility. Throughout our stay here in Laoag, I have had ample time to pursue this obsession. One hot afternoon I found myself down by the river, underneath the bridge, drinking a less than cold beer and chewing on some dried mangoes when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. It was motionless, about four inches long, blended in with the pillar it was sitting on. In the…

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