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Before coming I knew very little of the Philippines, except that it was dangerous, people will rob you, the water is contaminated, and there was no toilet paper. Needless to say, many of that is untrue. People were often friendly, especially the young people who were never hesitant to want to practice their English with me, along with sparking their curiosity of who I am, a Filipino who was born and raised in the states?? That idea was crazy to them Crazy to me too. Each interaction with my native people made me wish I was born and raised in the Islands. However, as my trip went on, and each second passed driving along the roads of Pampanga where my family was from, I could see the poverty and lack of resources that was given to the villagers there. People living off their business or barely nothing at all. I immediately felt the urge to do something, anything to help. However, I can only do so much with my time here, therefore I took on the role of an observer taking pictures and writing down things that can be better. Children without supervision, medical resources, discipline, starvation, unpaved roads, etc., the list goes on. I could finally see why my cousins from the states left their comfortable lifestyle to run an orphanage in Baguio where I spent a day in.

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My experience with the natives ranged from Palaweños to Native Manilas. They were some of the most friendly people I have every met. My first experience was when my family and I reached Port Barton after a long drive around Palawan, it was about 6-7pm when sun was going down, it was amazing. sunset, clear waters and boats swaying back and forth along the beach. My family was exhausted and sleepy, but I was excited to see what this place was all about. I put on my swimming trunks and said fuck it, I went down to the beach and dove straight into the fresh clear Philippine water, feeling alive and free as ever. When I came up for air, there were people on top of a boat looking down at my asking in their tough Filipino accent if I wanted a shot of alcohol, I was like “hell yeah” they helped me climb up on to their boat and to my surprise, it was filled with people passing around drinks, smoking cigs and eating snacks I felt at home. Most of them knew little to no English except this one girl who was university educated and wanted so bad to practice her English with me. Everyone was so friendly, after I introduced myself to all 12 people on the tourist boat that they owned. I learned one very important Tagalog Word called “tagay” it means your turn to drink! which was awesome because I kept saying it all night and they kept saying it to me too

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Apparently the drinking culture among the youth is vastly different than from the US for one, they do not drink to get as fucked up as the youth in the US, which is similar to my experience in Spain. Also, drinking cups are shared, there is two cups, one for chaser and one for alcohol, both are passed around, also you pour your own cup of alcohol and can control how much you want, I usually pour half to 1 quarter of a shot because I am a lightweight in addition , the chaser consists of just water, which is terrible but at least you get to stay hydrated when you drink.