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Monday, November 14, 2011

SSEAYP Homestay Program

Day 1, November 11 (Friday)

It was the day devoted to the matching. Sir Choy, Pete and I went to the GSIS Gym to meet the two Participating Youths (PYs). Since Sir Choy was busy talking to a lot of people most especially the people from the National Youth Commission Program, he asked me to look for the PYs. Our number was D07 so I went to the area where I should meet the two delegates. I was expecting two females since it was indicated in the information card that the PYs that we would be meeting were two females, one from Lao PDR and Brunei Darussalam.

But when I went to the area where I should meet them, I was surprised for I saw two guys. Later on, I found out that there was something wrong with the numbering. According to the master list a staff was holding, the name of Sir Choy was under the number D05.

Finally, I went to D05 and there, I met Norizan Binti Mohd Yacob, Alya for short. She was from Brunei Darussalam. Right then and there, we started talking and I immediately learned a lot of things about her. Alya is already 30. She teaches English to kids aging 6-7 years old. After a while, the second PY arrived. It was Phouthamaly Sengphaathith, Onny for short. She was from LAO PDR. Onny is an Environmental Science Graduate. She just graduated last August. She is 22 years old. After the matching, the two PYs also met Pete and of course, Sir Choy, their foster father for three days.

From GSIS, we went to our office in Makati and we introduced our new friends to the entire Creative Team. Alya and Onny just had a rest for a while and we took them to the Mall of Asia after. We were with Sir Choy, Pete, Jela, and Aaron.

At the Mall of Asia, we watched the sunset at the Bay Side. After that, we ate French Fries from Potato Corner and we also had Scramble. Right after having our snacks, we went inside the mall and we strolled. It was already 7pm when we went out and exactly on our way to the parking lot, there was a fireworks show outside and we watched it.

Then we went back to the Creative Center again, the last stop for the day before Onny and Alya went to the house of Sir Choy where they would be staying for two nights.

Day 2, November 12 (Saturday)

Sir Choy and his family took Onny and Alya to the Enchanted Kingdom in the morning until the afternoon. After the ultimate EK experience, they went to the Creative Center where we saw them again. We were asked to tour them in the Makati CBD and Bonifacio Global City since Sir Choy was going to Pier 13 for an onboard alumni reunion.

After we finished our office works, we left the office with Alya and Onny. We took a jeep to Crispa and we started walking along Ayala Avenue. When we saw The Philippine Stock Exchange Building and Ayala Triangle, we decided to stay there for a while to take some photographs. We were so amazed because of the hanging lights on the trees.

Malling was our next activity that night. We went to Greenbelt first then we went to Landmark and Glorietta where we had our dinner. We ate at Jollibee. During the dinner, we talked about a lot of things including what they have in their own countries. Also, it was a great chance for me to talk to Alya about the education system in Brunei and in the Philippines.

After dinner, we went to SM. After we had enough, we crossed EDSA through the MRT Ayala Station. At the MRT station, we saw some stalls. In fact, Alya bought two pairs of shoes there.

After crossing EDSA, we went to the terminal of the shuttles to the Global City. The line in the terminal was long and since it was already past 10pm, there were limited shuttles. That is why, when a shuttle arrived, we were advised to just ride on them even if we would need to stand. According to the driver, it would take long for another shuttle to come.

So, as advised, we get on the shuttle even if it was crowded. We stood during our travel to Taguig but even though it was a bit haggard, we had fun.

When we reached Global City, we went to different shops and we even had some photos taken at the beautiful spots there. We also went to Fully Booked where we spent more time to look at the books and other items.

At past 11, Sir Choy arrived to pick up Alya and Onny while we took a cab back to our office.

Day 3, November 13 (Sunday)

It was the last day of the Homestay program. Pete, Bob, and I waited for Sir Choy who was with Alya and Onny at our office in Makati. When they arrived past 11am, we drove to MMDA Workers’ Inn in Manila, the meeting place for the send-off and open ship.

Since there was still an extra space at the back of Sir Choy’s Car, we were able to accommodate one more delegate since we were already going to the Pier 13. Boso, also from Lao PDR and a friend of Onny occupied the space.

At Pier 13, we saw Fuji Maru, the Ship of the Southeast Asian Youth. After taking photos, the delegates were asked to get on board so they could all leave their things there.

It was almost 2pm when we got on board for the open ship. Through this, we were able to find out how beautiful Fuji Maru is even inside. We were able to see its different facilities.

After the open ship was the closing program of the SSEAYP in the Philippines for this year. Each delegation was presented to the public.

However, unfortunately, we were no longer able to finish the program. Yet in some ways, I think it is still for the good. Surely, if we stayed until the Fuji Maru left, surely, we could have cried.

In fact, even before the program began, I have already seen a lot of people crying most especially the PYs as they said goodbye to their foster families. Most especially, it was never impossible for anyone to be attached to the PYs despite the shortness of the time given for them to stay here.

Of course, saying goodbye to Onny and Alya was not easy at all. We only stayed with them for three days but it was very easy for us to be attached to them. In truth, even up to now, we cannot still move on with the entire experience.

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