After two very long years, I was finally able to return to the Philippines! I got to return to the same area (San Pedro in Landayan, Metro Manila) and to the same people. It was great to be able to see the growth that has happened in these communities in the time I had been gone. I was even able to understand and use more Tagalog!
Like last time, our group spent time helping some people in the poorer areas of San Pedro prepare for the upcoming rainy season, reaching out to street children, and tutoring children at the local orphanage to help them catch up on schooling. This was the 4th time that our group returned to this area. I was struck by the change in the village over the years, especially how empowered they had become.
I again saw some of the same Deaf I met two years ago; reconnecting with them was a joyous occasion. We have very little in common, but we do share the same Deaf cultural bonds that transcend race and nationality – the immediate strength of such a bond in a foreign country is such a refreshing and relaxing feeling of “home” to experience.
My second trip here meant that I was more adventurous with local food and plants – I tried balut, duhat, malunggay, alateris, ashitaba, buko, and other foods for which I didn’t get the names. I also got to hold lots of puppies and babies!