Saturday, June 20, 2009


Left Singapore with not the best taste of the city. It wasn't bad at all, but it's like the place is confused on whether or not it's a country or a city. Its VERY different from the rest of Asia (country), but it's so small its hard to consider is governing itself...just seems to easy!

The first day in Singapore I was determined to figure out how to use the MRT...Mass Rail Transit. Since we basically don't have anything like it in the US I wanted to get a feel for it. Sweet. Coolest thing ever. So easy to use, I figured my way around half of the country/city using it. How's that for sense of direction Dad! :) I even got a little EZ link card, so I really felt like a Singaporean as I squished myself through the entry gate.

If this isn't already known, Singaporeans main hobby is shopping, so when in Rome do as the Romans do; I headed to Orchard Road and checked out the literal retail madness that insues there. Seriously-its was unbelieavable. There were literally like 12 malls on one side of the street. That is just part of the shopping! You could seriously put your credit card in a coma in this place. Don't worry though, my debit card didn't come out once. I payed with cash.

After that I headed back to Little India where I thought I would save some money and eat on a budget; had some Indian food on a little side street for S$2.50 (about USD$1.75). It was good for about 2 hours untill I had debilitating stomach cramps and headache that wouldn't quit. Not to mention others things; that I won't mention.
I mean c'mon, I was in the Philippines; a developing country for almost 3 months. Ate fish head and blood soaked pig intestine. Ate at every dirty corner hawker station in even the most remote places, hell I even drank the water, and never got sick once. Then I come to Singapore, suppose to be a breath of fresh air (ha!) if you're a western traveling in Asia, and the second day I'm there I'm layed up, literally sleeping alllllll day. Oh the irony.

After I recovered, I had to fill my day a bit and headed over the the Colonial District to do some sight seeing and go the the Asian Civilizations Museum. Very state of the art and pretty fasinating, you could spend half a day looking through the galleries, so that's what I did. It was great. Later I was visited by some ferries who told me to go to Clark Quay for a River Festival, so I did, and some some Cirque De Soile-esqe acts and sat people watching the cultural mix that defines Singapore.

Made it safely to Thailand and am about to start my day, just walking around, seeing some temples and browsing the shops. Super excited to pick up Halli tomorrow night, it will be nice to see someone from home. I am definetly starting to miss the fam.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Final day in the Philippines

Although I had a wonderful time traveling around the islands for the last couple of weeks, I wanted to spend my last day in Ormoc to visit the boys and say good bye to some friends I've made volunteering with. They have been such wonderful people, I know that it is a group that I will remember for the rest of my life, even though I know that there will be new volunteers in and out, and soon I may just be another volunteer that they had some time ago. I plan to keep in touch and not even let them think about forgetting me. Such great people, I have been so lucky to meet and them and become friends, even if only for 10 weeks. I'm off to Singapore tomorrow morning, wish me luck...Some of the boys on my last dayWater fight!Sunset in Bohol
Tricycle ride with one of my favorite people
Beautiful day in Ormoc!
Goodbye Valencia, my home for the last 8 weeks...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Since I've been gone...from Ormoc that is

It hasn't really been that long since I've last posted something, but then again maybe it has...I have no sense of time here. Yesterday I had to ask my dive instructor twice what day it was, opps.

I finished volunteering on Saturday, it was so hard to say good bye to all the boys! I know I am going to stop in at least one more time before I leave the country to say goodbye to them. Vanessa and I put together a little photo album of our time with the boys and gave it to them as a going away present and they loved it. They almost never see pictures of themselves, so it was pretty cool for them to see all the memories we made in the last few months.

So I left Ormoc on Sunday morning and spent a night in Cebu where I did some sight seeing. A huge Taoist temple, Fort San Pedro, and a beautiful old church. In Cebu is where the Spaniards came in to claim the land and brought along Catechism with it. Needless to say, many bloody battles were fought on the land there.

Now since Monday I have been in Bohol, on Panglao Island, Alona Beach which is absolutely stunning, and if you can believe it, I actually get (almost) zero extra attention here for being a foreigner. It's great. There are many Koreans, Germans, Aussies and various other nationalities visiting also. I can walk along the beach and literally hear about 4 different languages being spoken in the span of 10 minutes. Surprisingly though, it isn't at all swamped with tourists and there is plenty of beach space and privacy you can have here. There is also some of the best dive sights in the world.

Yes that is the newest, I am getting Open Water Dive Certified. That means that I am legally allowed to dive 18 meters off a boat in the ocean. The last 2 days I've been taking tests, and today I got to do my first dive off a boat!! It was amazing, and I stayed under for 70 min, which is rare and almost unheard of for a beginning diver. My instructor couldn't believe it, and of course I don't even know the difference. Saw some beautiful fish, amazing corals, very different from what I've ever seen at the surface. I did have a little bit of trouble equalizing, but that comes easier with practice I'm told. I love it so far, it feel so weird to breath underwater. Part of it kinda freaks me out because It's like being somewhere that humans weren't made to be, and seeing things we are not suppose to see. It's pretty exhilarating. I think Sunday I will get to go on my first certified open water dive. But before that I have a final exam to pass....and I thought my schooling was over. Never!

So everything is great here, the Philippines and all its natural beauty really makes me appreciate the spectacular beauty of the northwest, as weird as that sounds. It has just made me realize how incredible 2 places that are literally polar opposites can be. Hopefully I'll be back to experience some wonderful western Washington summer...or hopefully not... :)