Cult Members

Sep 26, 2014

Purpose of this AIESEC experience

Its been almost a month since I have arrived in the Philippines. My family and friends are still confused of my purpose here. Every time they ask, my quick reply would always be "social work".That's partly true. Their quick reply would then be,"but why go all the way to Philippines?".I have never put so much thought on the purpose until yesterday. Coming here has always been on my personal bucket list. 

My trip here is with AIESEC. Its an international youth organization run by students. My eldest brother and my best friend from highschool was purely devoted to being an AIESEC-er. It was as if they could not stop talking about it and how life changing it was for them. Now you must remember my brother and this particular best friend have never met one another. Their stories told on separate accounts of being part of AIESEC fired curiosity in me to be part of it too. 

Early this year, the local committee (LC) in my area announced that they are recruiting people for a global exchange.I passed the first interview and attended a workshop with them. It really felt like being part of multi-level marketing seminar. Basically the workshop explains that you have to bear all the expenses and work for free in a duration of 6-weeks. It was the ultimate voluntarism. Contribute economic growth (by renting a house and by organizing backpacking trips) in a country and devoting all your energy and time with no pay whatsoever. Now that I think about it, I must have been loose screw in the brain to have signed up such things. 

Yesterday everything changed after a LEAD session. 

LEAD stands for Learn, Engage, Activate and Deliver. Its basically a session that is conducted for the foreign students who are also part of the project. The session is to rethink your purpose of doing the exchange and realizing what can you do better to enhance your experience. It was a slide presentation for a group of seven people. I think we really needed it. 

Questions like: Who's story affected you most?; What did you learn about yourself during this experience?; How has your course helped you? and other questions that make you think. Everyone then had to answer and shared their opinion. It was an amazing experience because everyone was honest and shared interesting things relating to their project. 

They were moments when people compared their country of origin with Philippines, there was tears of empathy about people living in proverty-sticken areas and there was a economic view point on a better tax system. It felt so surreal to be there. I think one common fear that most of the participants shared was that it would all be just talk and no action. The fear of pity and then when they return to their respective country, they would return to the old way of comfort and luxury. 

I think that we had a great facilitator for the session. She talk the very least and ask the most question in the group. It was the exact duty of a facilitator. Her presentation was simple and straight-forward. There was no need to be funny or add jokes. It was a good session. It really made all of us  think. Then she got us to write down the highlights of our activity so far. She told us to create a Facebook timeline of things we would like to share with "the world".

I would share with you how my masterpiece looks like but I lost my USB cable that connects my phone to the laptop. The bluetooth setting is also not working. No worries I will update again in the future including "masterpiece" from other participants. 

My trip here was not in vain. I realized that you cannot change the world in 6 weeks but there are many ways and opportunity to help others. It has definitely reset my thoughts on the term " helping others" into being a catalyst for positive change. 

Does that make sense to you?

Sep 17, 2014

My Philippines Eating Habits

I eat everything. Its like a mantra that has fuel me to try anything once. As long as it looks good and smells heavenly, count me in. Here I am in the Philippines. I do have a guideline in my head of what to eat and what not to eat which is applicable anywhere around the world.

  • cost less than what you would get in your country 
  • just cooked (especially for fried food)
  • everyone is eating it*
  • the person who is selling is super cute
  • recommended by Lonely Planet 
  • halal/kosher**


  • cost more than your budget can afford 
  • even the locals do not eat it
  • purple in colour 
  • anything fast food 
  • dirty 
  • smells bad (except for durian)

*general rule- need not apply if you think it is unnecessary
**for the Muslims and Jews of the world 

Yesterday I tried the  


Best eaten with vinegar
It usually refers to fried pork rinds but I had the chicken skin version. I have always love eating chicken skin but to munch on it all day long is heaven for me. We had it after lunch at a warong-style place. The aunty who cooked it recommended vinegar as a dip. I am so glad we stumble on the little shop along Olive Street in Marikina City 

Owner of the restaurant in her kitchen

Deep fried 

Sep 2, 2014

Is having fun expensive?

Someone once told me that if you don't have fun while travelling, than you're doing it all wrong. I used to think that this friend of mine is crazy. How can you have fun all the time? Fun is when you go backpacking and try new things. Fun is when you do whatever your heart desires without any care in the world. Fun sounds expensive.Everything cost money when you are in a foreign place. In my mind, people who travel are either very  rich or have just won the lottery . Here I am in the suburban area of Quezon City and fearing that my pile of money would run dry soon.

I paused and wonder why money is such a big problem for me. I was a college student for god's sake and survived my three years on barely peanuts amount. I suppose fear got the best of me - fear of something new. Can you relate to that?

Yesterday I was offered to go backpacking with a couple of girls from the house. They asked me many times but I could not bring myself to say yes. My hands was on my pocket the entire time. It was great fear to think about spending on something I consider "unnecessary". Then the more I think about it the greater regret I have about saying no to the offer. Backpacking is not just about going to a place, its a time to bond and give value to friendship. Plus backpacking in groups means that there is someone to watch your bag while you go to the loo. 

Last night, I decided that something need to be done and I want to make space and time to travel Philippines with people who actually enjoy travelling. I felt that my old system of allocating a fix amount for every week was not effective. I realized that some days you would spend  more while there are days when you don't leave the house. Counted all my money and budget it properly. 

Now my financial budget is no longer allocated by weeks but by type of activities that I want to carry out throughout my stay. Here is my new way of diving the money: 

Percentage (%)
Taxi Money for Airport Ride
Weekly Allowance
Travel / Backpacking

After this I hope to start travelling and see places because what's the point of coming all this way to stay in house with WiFi. I could do that at home too. Thank you Mr.Common Sense ( Mr.Common Sense lives in my brain ) for helping me with this budget strategy. I love you.