Sorry for the lack of writing in the last few days. We had an eventful time with our friends.
Friday, june 29
Meeting nature at its purest form
At friday we visited the famous Underground River in Sabang, one oft the seven wonders of nature. We learned many interesting facts about the history and the really slow but ongoing evolution oft the Mountains and its river that is located deep inside. After that we performed another trip by boat, this time we drove through the local magrovee forest and our guide explained us the importance of it for the ecosystem in Palawan. We were also able to take another ride with the zipline, this time it was even longer than the one in Tagaytay! The day ended with the possibility to swim in the Pacific Ocean, the beach was clean, the nature beautiful as always and everyone was happy. Another ennoyable day within our journey was over :)
Saturday, june 30
On Saturday everyone of us spent the day with their own foster families. Coincidentally we met each other for serveral times. For example at the Crocodile farm, where we have seen local animals like the "Talking Mina" and of course the big and great saltwater crocodiles of Palawan. An other place that the most of us visited was "Baker´s Hill". It is a location with many restaurants and one bakery, that´s why it is called Baker´s Hill. We wondered at colourful butterflies in the Butterfly Eco Garden and got an impression of an alternative penal system in the IWAHIG prison & penal farm.
After these trips all of us met for our farewell-party on the roof top of the Sunlight Hotel with an gorgeous view along the coastline and the Bay Walk. Jonah and Marj, the two Filipino teachers, prepared some short, but nice team games for us and of corse the karaoke, so we had much fun in only three hours. It was one of the best experiences we made at our stay in Puerto Princesa.
The day before our journey back to Germany, we made an island hopping. But it wasn´t just this: In the morning all of us had to say good bye to our foster families. After all of us got gifts and greetings for home we went with a multicap to the harbour. There the journey for the day started: The first stop for the boats we used was Cowrie Island. Nearly all of us went into the water and swam. After some minutes just swimming in this warm water we made a short trip with a banana boat and ate at this island for lunch.
The next stop was Luli Island, where we tried snorkeling. It was so amazing to see so many corals and fish under the water. The same happened on our last stop of the island hopping in Honda Bay: On Artificial Island we saw bigger corals and fish. All of us got tired but this wasn´t the end of the day. At Faye´s home we got a snack and then the Germans went to Casa Linda Hotel. After a reflection round about staying in the Philippines and foster families we finished this amazing day with a dinner in a restaurant.
Monday, july 2
It's hard to say good-bye
After passing our last night in Casa Linda and eating breakfast we - the German group - went to San Miguel National High School. Once arrived we showed gratitude especially to the headmaster Ma'am Ong for the support in the exchange program and said good-bye to the headteachers and Sir Elmir - a teacher participating in the last batch. Right after we left our next and last destination in Palawan was the airport where the Filipinos awaited us. Then a time oft bidding farewell to our Filipino friends followed. Last photos were taken and tears appeared while we said good-bye. But there's also hope to see each other again. Subsequently our first flight to Manila departed and now - having six hours time before our next check in - we wait for our flight to Doha and further home to Germany.
The whole ISEP was an great experience for all of us. We learned a lot and take many impressions with us. Thanks to all involved people and special gratitude to:
- ENSA and Carpus e. V. (especially Nena, Franziska, Uwe)
- our two principals Ma'am Ong and Sir Exler
- the main orgenaizer Ma'am Maisie and Ma'am Kerstin
- our followers (particularly Eric Johne)
Hanggang Doha uling pagkikita (hopefully we will meet again)
We started our second day in Puerto Princesa with our last Workshop day. But before we had our Wup and we all sang together the Puerto Princesa song. Then we talked about our expectations and our feelings about our exchange program. All of us are really glad and thankful to be here in the ,Pphilippines, because we have seen and learned a lot.
Before eating for lunch we talked about our feelings with the circle of experiences 2018. There we chose our Highlight, Interesting thing, surprising thing and our difficulties or our challenges.
After a lunch break we talked about our wishes and expectations from the beginning of the exchange. We think all of the things that we wrote before were all fulfilled. After that all of us shared our ideas with the others on how do we plan to help the next batch of the exchange program. We want to make a video blog and we also want to talk to the new members of the following batch about our excperiences.
Right now were talking about our trip tomorrow to the Underground River at Sabang.
Paalam at Hanggang sa muli (Good bye and enjoy your day)
Tuesday, 26 June, 2018 --- Arrival in Puerto Princesa
Sorry for not reporting yesterday, we were so excited to see our host families so there was no space for the blog.
Filipino and German students travelled separately to Puerto Princesa so we had a really nice reunion there. It is an absolutely breathtaking place in the middle of the green heart of Palawan.
When we arrived at the airport a multicab fetched us and brought us directly to San Miguel National High School where the students had prepared a short program. The Germans were really surprised and shocked because of the warm welcome wherein the whole school was involved.
The Germans had a short presentation in different classes about their life, Germany and their hobbies and families. The students of San Miguel National High School took pictures and had an answer and question portion with the Germans which amazed them. Afterwards a break with different sorts of rice cakes followed. Around five o'clock our host families picked us up.
Wednesday, 27 June, 2018 --- Second day in Puerto Princesa
After having breakfast in the host families we met altogether at Sunlight Hotel for our Evaluation. Our works were posted on the wall to remind us what we worked on in Tagaytay and Manila in the past days.
In the beginning we reflected our first night in the foster families. An activity followed wherein we are tasked to plan what we will do with the information the guests speakers discussed to us during the workshops.
Before taking lunch we went on the wet market of Puerto Princesa where we saw lots of different foods. A delicious lunch in the hotel and a view on the Puerto Princesa Bay from above followed before we continued our Evaluation.
As a way of waking us up because of the time, we danced Zumba with the music Girl in the Mirror. It was funny! An individual activity followed where we picked one image and explained it to the group. Another one was tasked to us where we drew our hand and wrote our answers on it.
In the late afternoon we will take some time to go to the bay of Puerto Princesa, before it was all water, but now it is covered with land.
Today was an exciting day yet sad because we left Los Baños, Laguna where we used to stay, enjoy and unwind especially when we visited Mount Makiling where we discovered a lot of things about nature. After taking our breakfast we took some group photo outside the hostel for some new memories to hold.
Then we ride the bus going to Manila, during our ride it was very quiet in the bus, because the most of us were tired. We conducted our last talk and workshop at Kabayan Hotel, which we met some representative members of NGO (non-government-organization) of PhilRights (baby-organization of PAHRA) and they tackled a lot of things about human rights specifically about Philippines and their mission to help others in need and make the youth as the instrument to spread out the information about the importance of the human rights in every individual. Because of the young representatives from PhilRights, we could easily follow their presentation. After the presentation our last task was "Sloganeering" - we felt like little demonstrators for human rights.
After our workshop most of us went to the mall Alaya Center to buy a "Hardrock Café" T-shirt. We took the MRT (Metro-rail-transit). It was completely overfilled, because it is one of the main transportation in Manila also the fastest and affordable for the citizens living in Manila. As we arrived at the mall, we were disappointed to recognize that the "Hardrock Café" got out the mall since January.
In the evening all of us went to bed immediately, because we have to get up early in the morning to catch our flight to Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.
Bati mula sa (greetings from) Manila <3
PS: Tomorrow it could be difficult to write the blog, because of our presentation in San Miquel High School. And we will stay in our host families.
Today in the morning we've been feeling both excited and nervous because we knew we would perform a long and tiring trip to the mud spring deep inside the forest of Mount Makiling, the "green heart" of the Mountain.
Our two tourguides Alexis and Rowell led us safely across the streets and paths and told us additional facts about the local plants + endangered species and were always there for us if we got a question (...or tired hahaha.)
We had to pass seven stations and the wet air plus the high elevation were our strongest enemies and brought us definitely to our limits - but eventually we made it to our chosen destination
,...also because of the always motivating spirit of ma'am Jonah...,
and got rewarded with an overwhelming green abundance of exotic plants and the wonderful sounds and scenes of the rainforests nature. While our break at a shop on our way uphill we also ate local grown coconuts (it's called buko) which tasted really good and refreshed us for our tour.
When we had finally arrived at the mud spring which is a leftover of the inactive vulcano inside Mount Makiling we were able to take some nice pictures of the green scenery. Ma'am Marjorie also encountered a leech but luckily we could calm her down and everything was fine again.
So eventually after our lunch break we went back downhill to our hostel and some of us decided to perform another short trip to the so called "flat stones", some kind of a waterfall with a connected river down the mountain. Once there, we also took many pictures and spontaniously started a climbing trip over the widespreaded rocks inside the floating water, by far one of the most wonderful and enjoyable moments during our stay at the Philippines.
^ a short video that shows what we've got to see at this place ^
So eventually everybody returned back to our hostel and another amazing day full of experiences will last in our memories.
Magingat sa mga Linta! (Watch out for the Leeches!) (Passt auf die Blutegel auf!)
We were starting the day with celebrating Benedict's birthday.
The group left the hostel in that morning and started their travel to Los Banos at 10:00. By 12:30 in the afternoon we arrived at Trees Hostel which is near to the one of the most prestigious university in Manila - University of the Philippines. After the lunch, the students of ISEP batch 5 (together with our teachers) walked to go to Makiling Botanical Garden. The tour started with a short video presentation which talked about the history of the place.
Abby Grace, our tour guide, mentioned the rules and regulations inside. First, she introduced us to the "Tree World" which contains flowering and non-flowering trees. Some of it are - Molave, Saraka, Bagtikan, Date Palms, Mangkono, Champakang Puti, and Traveller's Palm. Some of them were made to be papers, chairs, tables, roofs for the houses, and even perfumes.
For our second stop Abby introduced us the Philippinensis row, inside were the trees and plants which can only be seen here in the Philippines. Candle tree, Ungo and Molawin tree are the most common inside. She also said that these trees are too "hot" when it comes to the eyes of illegal loggers because they have these unique characteristics, which is when they are sold they came in higher prices.
Third stop was the Diterocarp which is the home to raptors like eagles, owls, snakes and rats. The trees inside are planted 30 years ago but their height didn't say it all. They are too small for their age because these trees are NOT FAST GROWERS!
Going around the place is not that easy because we had to deal with the steepness of the way to be able to get to another place. It was a pity that we hadn´t seen all of the Makiling Botanical Garden because of the dangerous snakes.
Nevertheless, during and after lunch we had and have a lot of fun with singing karaoke in the evening. And for sure: some of us are really good and talented singers!
Halina at makisaya sa amin (= Come and join our party)
After a delicious more european breakfast, because there were more bread than the other days we got full and walked into the seminar-room. Because we all felt a little bit sleepy this morning, so Micah (one of the female filipino students) leads the todays energizer: which was Zumba. So the Filipinos stood in the first line to show us some dancesteps. After the enjoyable warm-up-dance, we presented our posters about human rights and we heard the personal meanings of the other groups, which was an informative experience. Our second task was to draw and prepare some posters that represented the situation in Mindanao, because of the martial law there. For example: we got to know that more than 10000 families are now displaced. Before we took lunch, we had a short explanation about solutions for the human right conflicts.
In the afternoon we continued the seminar. Today two man from the PAHRA-group (Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates) showed us some shocking examples of the brutal killing of drug addicts. We realized that the situation is very complicated and after their representation, we took part in a discussion about the drug addicts and dealers of the Philippines. Our last task was to answer the following questions: how you become a drug addict/dealer and which possibilities you should take by your own way to prevent this situation. As our conclusion of the day we had a short reflection-round in the plenum. We want to say THANK YOU! to our fan-community and especially to Erik Johne :)
*Good day to everyone!* *magandang araw sa inyong lahat!* *Wir wünschen jedem noch einen schönen Tag*
PS: On this picture you can see the filipino root Ube, when you see it you can't imagine that it tastes so good.
Most of us had a short night without much sleep, so we started the day with a warm up game "Ninja" to become more energize for the following activities. Later we built groups, mixed by Filipinos and Germans, to discuss different issues about our personal opinions regarding with the human rights like others didn't respect our rights. We have one guest from BALAY Rehabilitation Center to give us more information about the human rights, she also gave some todays situation for us to understand the topic more. She - Josephine Lascano - is the executive director of BALAY rehabilition center. BALAY means house in different languages, it's a house where torture survivors and political prisoners can stay, find support and protection. Their mission is to have a psychosocial rehabilitation center.
We talked about some situation in the Philippines like the Marawi crisis where some ISIS inspired groups started a war in Marawi. In dominant muslim areas, martial law restricts people movement that creates fear to the people especially children and limits trading time which affects people income. Human Rights are now pushed aside there and the civilians are afraid to say something bad.
After the shocking facts in the morning, we had to do something fun in the second part of the day, too. It was a surprise trip. First we ride a jeepney going to picnic grove where we enjoyed the beautiful view of Taal volcano and some cities like Batangas. For the highlight of the day we rode a zipline to see more the unique beauty of the nature. Most of us had to overcome our fears in height but in the end it was a great memory that will last forever.
"Sweet dreams", "Sana ay magkaroon kayo ng magandang panaginip", "Süße Träume"
Another exciting day came to us. We started our day with breakfast and then we had our first workshop about human rights. The group learned more and gained knowlegde about the implementing of human rights or how one country protected their people by the power of human rights we all started to express ourselves by sharing different thoughts about our topic. Also we dealed with the history of the human rights and after this we had to find 5 rights that are most important for us. It was amazing to see how similar the opinions of the Filipinos and Germans are.
In our lunchbreak we drove with the tricycle to the Ayala Mall and there we bought dried fruits like mangos or pineapples.
After this we continued with our workshops and we analysed four countries concerning their respect of the human rights. Even Canada, a symbol of respect and equality, cannot fullfill all the human rights.
Before our dinner we needed to refresh ourselves in a break or "pahinga" in tagalog. Nearly all of us went to our swimming pool to have a great time and lots of fun together.
And now to your question: We´re coming along with the heat really good (for the most of us) and today evening it was raining a bit.
matulog ng mahimbing (sleep well)
This day is so fun for all of us. After we got a breakfast - meanwhile Franziska joined us - we ride a bus and relished the fifty kilometers to the city Tagaytay. During the way to Tagaytay we really enjoyed the different amazing views that first time to be seen with our eyes that we passed by. After this time of about two hours we finally arrived at Tagaytay where we instantly realized that we are at a more pleasant place now - for instance concerning vegetation, clean air and density of population. From now on, the Angel's Hills Foundation would be our new home for the next days.
First we explored our places to sleep and the area around before we took a rest. Right after we had lunch at a local restaurant called Zen's Bulalo & Garden Grill. The highlight was a really delicious sweet dessert named "Ube Halaya".
On the way to the restaurant we learned about the local flora like mango tree, egg plant, jackfruit and pineapple.
Back at Angel's Hills we started our seminar with wup (warmup) to fresh up the experiences of the first part of this exchange in Germany. Further we figured out our wishes and expectations but also fears and challenges and discussed the rules of the group and the house here. Now, after dinner a feedback round follows...
Kita tayo bukas (See you tomorrow)