Mi Ultimo Adios…1,2.&3

root - Posted on 08 November 2003

An insider journey to the Philippine Islands

by Mariluna/PNN Youth in the Media report

My first 72 horas.

Tue, 24 Jun 2003.

Wow!!!! Is the word of the moment…. I am living in Manila City in the district of Makati…. I stay in the Elizabeth home (which happens to be my sister name). This is a home for girls between the ages of 12-22 years old who have a common history of sexual exploitation, drugs, and physical, emotional, and sexual abuse… These girls are so sweet and beautiful and friendly. They are so respectful and all call me Ate Marissa (Ate means older sister) They have truly welcomed me into their family. During the day I work at SIBUHI, which is a rehabilitative arts center. They teach origami, Tae Kwondo, drawing, and other activities. I am going to be starting up the preschool there. I will be working on curriculum, lesson plans, designing the space, and training the other volunteers… It will open in mid july… I have already attended a Filipino University Baseball game. They had music while the whole game was playing, and the announcer was more like a DJ… I have spent much time with the youth and trying to learn more about them. The latest songs over here is called the "Spaghetti Song", which once you hear you will not be able to get out of your head. The radio over here plays Filipino music as well as American artists, and get all the latest songs.
Like Sean Paul, Jennifer Lopez, and other mainstream artists.

Things that are hard is eating. Since I am a vegetarian, I am constantly filling myself up with rice…I don’t know if this is good…. Also I miss you all…. It is very hard not being able to see anyone of you… I hold each of you deep in a special place in my heart, and cannot wait to see you all when I get back…. 55 days to go.

Week #1 in the Philippines

Wow, a week already passed by it feels like two weeks. I have done so much so far| I am getting to know the girls at Elizabeth home more and more| We joke and laugh, and they are constantly amazed that I am not married, engaged, or
basically attached to anyone. I tell them I am not worried about things of that nature, that I have my whole life to be with someone I wanna be with. Actually the majority of people here are surprised when I tell them No, I do not have a
boyfriend._* These girls have truly consumed my heart and soul. It will be so weird to leave when I have too. So, I have been to the shoe capital of the world. I took a picture of the worlds biggest shoe, which looks like a platform boot.

I also have visited Rizal Park. This is home to Jose Rizal’s body, and where he was killed off by the Spanish. (Side Note: Today is Philippine-Spanish Friendship day.) He is the most remembered national hero of the Philippines. I read the letter
he wrote before his death, Mi Ultimo Adios. It is very heart-jerking. I started shedding tears. I stood where he was shot by the Spaniards. I also rode a kalesa, which is a one-horse buggy. I rode this around Rizal park. If anyone one of you come to
the Philippines, you must go to Rizal Park.

I have also seen the Manila Hotel, former president Clinton stay here twice. I have also gone to the biggest mall in Las Filipinas. It is called Mega Mall. This mall closes everyday at Midnight. I have
been to four malls already since last Saturday. The Malls out here are way better than the states. Not only cuz it is usually cheaper, but there is so much to chose from. I have already met two relatives, and thank goodness one of them is a
vegetarian! So I got to eat more than just rice.

I notice that I am barely hungry over here, I am just always thirsty. My favorite thing to eat over here is pancit canton. It is like ramen noodles. I still miss everyone, and cant wait to see, talk, or
just plain email you all when I get back. Please keep sending me emails so what is going on over there, and what is going on with your lives. I love reading each one of them.

Well, I hope you recognize me when I do get back. Just look for the
girl with all the mosquito bites on her legs

Now I must go because I am at the cyber cafe and can spend only so much for internet|.but before this letra ends I will leave you with Jose Rizals last farewell, first the way he wrote it, and the translation in English..
Goodbye..for now!


Week #2

Wow, so its been two weeks already_|. So that means my vaccine shots are working, no more jet lag, and my body is basically adjusting to the weather. I can even stand the heat sometimes without a fan. Over here, its not summer, its basically
the rainy season_| It rains off and on_|. One thing I notice that is a difference between Filipinos and Americans is that we are scared of rain_|. How many times you see people running in the streets to get away from the rain_| How many times have you ran from the rain? It is not like that here in Manila_| People are playing basketball, taking showers in the rain, playing tag in streets, selling food, riding bikes_|. And also they are wearing sandals_|.

While this was happening I was
trying to get the girls inside the homes, but they were laughing at me because I was scared to get wet_|. In other news, I went to Patayas, which is in Quezon City, which is in Metro Manila_|. Patayas is a landfill dumping ground, basically a
mountain full of trash, and a whole community live on this trash their houses are made of trash and they walk on trash. They get their source of living from the trash. Their clothes, shoes, toys, whatever all comes from the landfill. I have never
seen poverty live this before_| It was crazy_| I feel very blessed for what I have_| The kids I worked with were the sweetest and also hungry. I helped served lunch and I never served like 30 to 40 kids in less than a few minutes_| I had to keep
repeating to the kids â_œla mesa_* (which means the table in Filipino), because they kept on getting up from their seats_|. I must have had said la mesa like fifty times_

|So I just happen to walk into a mall the other day, see I was getting off
the LRT (imagine a subway) and the train stop is at a mall, which is called Metropoint Mall (this is in Pasay City), go figure_|. Also on the LRT, they have a car that is designated only for women. The women can sit in the manas section
but the men cant sit in the womens’ section_|. I also have attended my first despedida party in the Philippines. This party celebrates someone leaving. One of our volunteers is leaving to China, so we had a despedida party in their honor.
It was lots of fun. There was lots of food, Karaoke, and dancing. We danced hip-hop and the cha-cha. The youth and kids all know how to C Walk (a dance in the states), they can actually dance better than most people I see at the clubs in the
States. Right now, the most popular American song is â_œIgnitionâ_* by R. Kelly. I am also getting to know Malate, Manila better;

I am taking more jeepneys (one of the main forms of public transportation here), walking around more, and speaking Filipino moreâ_|. Don’t worry though even though I am getting more comfortable with Manila, I still miss each one of you dearly. Even though it seems I am so far away from everyone, just look up at the sky and think of me,
because I always look up at the sky and think of all of you well until next week_|.

Don t ever give up. Pray. It works_" painted on the side of an overpass in Quezon City, while I was going to Payatas.


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