Philippines: 2013

So, it’s been well over two months since my return from the Philippines. After many hours sorting through all the photos I’m so excited to finally get this blog post up.
Even though it was my third time traveling to the Philippines, I never get tired of looking out of my small airplane window and seeing the familiar Filipino welcome sign, ‘Mabuhay!’, painted in huge letters on the side of the airport terminal. It feels like home.
I met so many wonderful and generous people on this trip. From people in the streets, to families in restaurants, to kids playing at basketball courts. We saw life in the villages, and the chaos in the city. I saw people dancing to Gangnam Style, heard Taylor Swift on the radio one-too-many times and even had snippets of a strange 80s rock song sung to me followed by a marriage proposal. We met women making graduation garlands, men in fish markets and whole communities who had recently just lost their homes and their loved-ones after Typhoon Sendong swept through two years before. Despite the time that had passed since, the pain was still so evident in the eyes of the families who had lost everything. These people, without knowing it, taught me so much about what it means to be a community, and what it means to be a family.
One thing that I did learn though, is that a smile is a universal language. Despite my (bad) attempts at the local language and occasionally being understood – nothing can beat a smile. No matter where you go, that speaks louder than words.
I don’t think there could be enough space in this blog to mention all the beautiful families that I met or all the moving experiences that I had, but I do hope in a way that the photos are able to fill in some of the blanks that words aren’t able to do justice. I hope you like them.

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