I travelled to the Philippines in May 2012 as a chaperone for Carnegie Mellon University students on a service trip to Metro Manila. We stayed for a little over 2 weeks. Our tasks were mostly to rebuild houses and help people prepare for the upcoming rainy season, but we also distributed clothing and shoes to street children and spent time with local orphans.
I also randomly ran into 3 Deaf Filipinos in the area, which allowed me to use my signing skills in a cross cultural context – awesome! I don’t speak Filipino Sign Language, and the Deaf Filipinos didn’t speak American Sign Language, but we had enough mutual intelligibility that we could communicate pretty well. I was able to give the hearing Filipinos some good perspective on Deaf culture and begin to build bridges between these two groups.