Embracing the community spirit
During our stay I lived with a Filipino family, along with two other students and our guide, which helped me to gain a perspective on what it means to be part of the trademark tight-knit Filipino rural community. Back in the busy city we were living in relative luxury, so it was nice to go back to basics and enjoy the simplicity of tribal village life.
We arrived at the village during the rainy season. There was a massive downpour that caused a power cut, which was actually quite exciting as Mama Lucy – our host – had cooked an amazing array of traditional snacks and lit candles for us to eat by. A particular favourite was sticky rice cooked in banana leaves with fresh coconut. This was the first taste of some of the best food I had during my time in the country. Mama Lucy dried our clothes, which was a relief after the journey from the mainland.
On our first morning, we awoke to an enormous, home-cooked breakfast. I can’t emphasise enough how delicious the food was during our week in the village. All the locals know how to cook the best, most authentic Filipino food from fresh, homegrown ingredients. Mama Lucy grew all her own fruits and vegetables at home, and the flavours were amazing.
In the evenings, we spent time with the family, playing games, chatting and relaxing. Learning from Mama Lucy’s family about what island life was like, and how they are treated as indigenous people, was fascinating.
We made jewellery, played basketball with the local children, learned to weave – and even though I was terrible at it, I did manage to weave a little purse to take home. One afternoon, we went to a beach and half the village came with us. On the drive home, we enjoyed stunning views of the island’s rolling hills.