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Tonielle's European Adventure "It's always better on holiday, so much better on holiday. That's why we only work when... we need the money." - Franz Ferdinand

Settling In

PHILIPPINES | Saturday, 15 December 2007 | Views [958] | Comments [5]

Hi Everyone!

Thanks for all the comments...its great to hear from everyone and that you aren't getting too bored with my drivel! :)

Well, since my last update we've been pretty busy. On the 11th we went right into town - the "rich area" and visited the Australian Embassy. It was such a contrast to what I've been experiencing in the Philippines so far (high rises, people in suits) I forgot that those things are here too.

The embassy visit was more of a courtasy call than anything - aparently the Ambassador wanted us to know we were important enough for his time. Anyway, so we met the Ambassador and his security assistant (or something like that) and they gave us a country and security briefing. It was interesting to hear it from a diplomatic point of view - the problems the country is facing, and also what is improving. When we came to talking about the government and all the corruption (The Philippines is the 2nd most corrupt government in the world) the disheartening thing was that the Ambassador didn't think it was possible to change in our lifetime. This means that the worst of the countries problems (poverty, disease, life expectancy, high employment rate) wasn't likely to change in a long time.

I guess this does give our project heart because the chance to change is in the youth, and if we can help and protect the youth to become great individuals - then the country will one day have hope.

Jess, one of our team mates got a chest infection that morning, so Sibella (our team leader) took her to the hospital. She's fine now, full recovery!

For the rest of the day we had our first free afternoon. I didn't know what to do with myself! Erin and I ended up getting a manicure and pedicure for the total of P355 - about $10 and it was REALLY good. The pedicure girl laughed at me, because she was massaging my foot and my lower leg and she said that my leg was too long for her!

I've also noticed that in the Philippines they have SO MANY STAFF! They are just standing around everywhere - I guess because they don't get paid much, so they can afford more staff than company's can in Australia.

We then had a free morning to hang around and then we were off in the jeepney to Laguna, Victoria to check out the center. A three hour drive wasn't that fun, but it was nice to see some of the country. Was great to get out into the country and breathe in fresh air! It is a beautiful spot with rice fields and grass and trees! :)

We met some of the girls at the center there and then jumped back into the jeepney and drove another 1.5 hrs to San Antonio, Quezon Provence. This center is like a resort! Lush rainforest and birds in the trees. The center is also for the boys - Victoria for the girls, so it was fun to hang out a little with them.

We stayed here for 3 days for UNCRC training (United Nations Conventions of the Rights of the Child). Was really interesting to learn all about the convention that all but 2 countries in the world have signed (one of these was America). It is what Bahay Tuluyan works by and the only power they have to tell the government what it is doing is wrong.

The sad part is though - a lot of the rights are not being applied and we learnt all about what has been going wrong.

We also talked about 'miniature earth' - a flash presentation all about how the world would look if there were only 100 people (I'll put it up here if I can find it). It really brought home how lucky we are in Australia and how much we take it for granted.

Living with a refrigerator, bed, with a roof over our heads, a job and a college degree - we are in the top 1% wealthiest people in the world!

So after all of that (yesterday we finished), we had finally finished all of our orientation! And we have finally started planning our projects.

We drove back to Victoria last night and have now settled in to our new home. Our group has now split up and I think the 6 of us is the best group - very easy going and I don't think we'll have many problems. I can see the other group having a few bitch fights.

We took the public jeepney into Los Banyos (where I am now) to buy supplies so we can live off something other than meat and rice! :)

The girls at the center are all excited for us to be there and I can't wait to finally start working with them!

Thats about it for now... I'm sleeping in a bed now, with the pink mosquito net I bought - which is good, but I'm going to have to perfect the art of cold bucket showers. :)

Physically I've been doing great - most of the girls have gotten sick at some point and I've been fine, I just have to get my bowel to agree with me!

Love you all lots...and I've got great phone reception now - there is a SUN tower in the center's yard!


Tags: Culture



Wow, the video is very powerful.
Still waiting for the medical list


  Mum Dec 15, 2007 6:06 PM


Glad things are going well. We love reading your stories. Sounds like you don't have time to scratch yourself. You'll be an authority on the Phillipines by the time you finish. Have fun. Love Dad

  Dad Dec 15, 2007 7:16 PM


tonille guess wat that means im richer than you at the moment haha
its no a laughing matter
oh by the way you do not do a smilely face like this :) you do this =] or this =) jeez you should know better lol
keep having fun and dont get sick on me now other wise there will be some hell to pay
love you

  Rebecca Krisanski Dec 15, 2007 7:37 PM


So in an average day, what types of projects are you working on w/ the kids? Are you actually going out on the streets and trying to get them to come to centers? Or are they already there, living there? Are most of them orphans, or they have just left home due to the poverty, etc? Update us in your next blog entry! :-)
Take care Sweetie - we are thinking of you long and often. *hugs*
L & C

  Lori Dec 17, 2007 9:41 AM


Love reading the stories. This will be an experience you will never forget. I'm with you on the cold shower bit - I am not a lover of them either.
Take Care
Love you Heaps,
Aunty Jan xxx
P.S. Jess got an OP2 - She is really pleased, but is now hanging out to see if she gets her first offer. Our fingers are crossed for her.

  AUNTY JAN Dec 17, 2007 10:41 AM



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