Hey guys! We are on our way home! I'm typing this from the plane from Dumaguete to Manila, but who knows when I'll get good enough wifi to actually post it.
My last post was about our homestay with the Lumad, which simultaneously feels like a month ago and five minutes ago! After our night with them, we spent a day learning about the Moro community in Mindanao- Muslims that continue to be ostracized in Philippine society. Since then, we headed to Dumaguete and Apo Island! You're about to get a photo dump and be super jelly of the last few days!
After our arrival in Dumaguete, we headed straight to a night on Apo Island- truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. This was my third trip to Apo and it truly never gets old. We took a boat across the waterway to Apo and then spent a full 24 hours relaxing, snorkeling with HUGE sea turtles & beautiful coral reefs, hiking, and spending some much needed quality time together. It was blissful to say the least.
On the Dumaguete side, about to get on the boat to Apo!
There is a bit of a time gap in the photos since I spent a good 48 hours under the weather with an awful stomach bug. Unfortunately, I missed a few lectures- climagration, the LGBT "situation" (lol), and a lecture on the theology of struggle in the Philippines.
I've likened this experience to introducing your friends to your boyfriend for the first time. Iknow that I like my boyfriend (the Philippines), but you never really know what others will think of him. So hearing my teammates say things like "I love Dumaguete! Cobbie is so great! It's so beautiful here!" was both a reassurance and a deeply treasured gift.
As is always the case when one returns to a place, it was both very different and very familiar. Seeing my friends in Dumaguete was AMAZING. It felt so normal to laag (chill) with them and be a part of my family again. I learned so much on this whole immersion trip- about the Philippines, about myself, about social justice, and my team members as well. This experience has already bonded us forever- I know we will be friends for a lifetime because of this trip in the Philippines.
This might surprise you as much as it surprises me, but I am very ready to get back to San Francisco. I have a wonderful life there (and in the States in general) and it is calling me back. Until next time, my beloved Philippines. Mubalik ra ko.