Sparkle IV trip to Batad, Iloilo + Exciting updates!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hello guys!!!!

Guess who's back?!?! Tadaaaaa~~
For those of you who didn't know, I was away over the past 3 weeks for an OCSP trip, to the Philippines. First 14 days was real work, where we went to a small town in Iloilo, called Batad.
We were there to teach elementary english, as well as to build a library for the people residing in Batad.
I was a little apprehensive about this trip (as many of you have already noticed from how reluctant I was to go). I initially thought that I wouldn't be enjoying the trip because we'd be going to a faraway place, with no internet connection, no Facebook, no instagram or twitter! That thought scared me enough, really.
Besides that, it also meant less time to enjoy after finals, because I had to fly off 2 days after my last paper :( and less time with my family, friends and Matt. The thought about having to travel all the way there to do "saikang", build libraries, saw wooden planks into shelves etc. It was a pretty scary thought for a girl like me who's got absolutely no experience in building things, FROM SCRATCH.
The idea of being a mosquito bait didn't help either, just saying. haha!

However, I'd like to proudly say that after everything, I was all wrong! Sparkle IV have certainly made me see how lucky I am, or rather, we singaporeans are. And how the people in Batad can be so happy, despite having so little. Looking at how tightly-knitted the entire town was, and their hospitality... I took my hats of them, and have since looked at the country in a different light.
Everyone there gave us the best they could offer. We were housed within the Nipsy College Campus in a house that had one room, a kitchen and a toilet. Yes, one toilet and one room.
However, this was already the best this tiny town could offer. The municipality used all forms of transport they had to ferry us to our different schools and destination points because they knew we singaporeans wouldn't get used to walking such long distances everyday, to and fro.
We had Police cars driving us to the lakeside to sight-see, ambulances fetching us to and fro from the elementary schools, and even rubbish trucks (YESSSS..... I KNOW, I KNOW).

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining anymore. At first, everyone laughed at how we had to go to school in ambulances and rubbish trucks. But after realizing how much this municipality have gone through to arrange any form of transport for us so that we'd be able to escape the crazy weather, we started to appreciate things more.
They don't have buses, nor trains. Most people walk under the 38-40 degree Celsius to the market/school. And they do that, everyday.

What puzzled me most was how everyone in the country was so happy, and contented. They wore dirty and stained clothing, they walked barefooted, and they go hungry. Yet, they face every single day with a smile. Singing at the top of their voices every morning, chasing chickens and chicks around the house, attending church on weekends and meeting up with friends to do absolutely nothing. Life was absolutely carefree, and simple.
Staying in a place like that allowed me to throw the urges of checking my social media apps at the back of my mind and enjoy simple things like cooking, star gazing, or even doing absolutely nothing.

All these photos are not in order, so sorry! Please pardon all the messy hair, bare face and ugly clothes you're about to see. I couldnt care less bout dressing up and looking good! Haha
Project Sparkle IV

Mangrove planting in progress

With Gen and becca, my home-stay buddies

Sight-seeing at some randoom beach. Look at the sky! No filter needed

With Joey and Mich

Riding in the rubbish truck
The police car I mentioned!

On our last night, there was a Cultural Night, where the students from Batad and singapore would perform the unique cultures of each country on stage. I played the role of the Tour guide in our Skit, and performed Chinese dance too. HAHA
Dont. Judge

Chinese Dance
After leaving batad, we had a few stop overs before heading to Boracay for our R&R on the 15th day! We stopped over at another mangrove plantation and we were made to try fresh, and raw wood worms.

The staff would use his parang to chop off a part of tree trunk/branch that has been submerged in the water. He split the tree trunk open with his parang and all the gooeeeeeyyyy wood worms started sliding out. As gross as it looked, we were made to try it. And surprisingly, it did not taste too bad!

I guess most of the time, it'll be the works of our minds.
Trying the wood worm

I met so many awesome people there in Batad, especially the kids who we hung out most with. Having these kids come to you, telling you that you're their inspiration is a feeling one can never describe. I feel so happy, that i've made an impact in someone else's life.

18 people, 18 days. We made it Sparklers!

Stay tuned for Part 2, Boracay!


Anyhow, i've got an exciting news to share with all of you precious readers out there! Hehe
If you guys have been following my instagram and facebook lately, you will know Matthias & I are official now.
Im so grateful to every single one of you who encouraged and supported us along the way, and especially to the ones that left sweet and heartwarming comments on my
Just wanted to share this piece of awesome good news with all of my readers out there :) 

Lastly, to those that are reading this right now, thank you so much for not abandoning Smilelikeidiots and mongabong!
I promise I'll be blogging more often now that im back!:) heheh


Meanwhile, hit me a question at :)

Love you all loads! Stay tuned for the next post that's coming your way!

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