Embracing Village Life in the Philippines: Palawan
The most rewarding experience of my life in the Philippines; helping build a more sustainable future for a local farming community in Palawan by helping with tasks that earn them an income. The volunteer project in Palawan is perfect for those wanting to fully immerse themselves in Filipino culture by living with and assisting a local farming community. The Palawan Experience is a project in which participants engage in community life by offering their help and support to villagers; learning about their lifestyle through helping the community.
“This unique experience made me rethink various aspects of life that I was taking for granted; appreciate the hard work, diversity, become more humble and seek similar experiences.”
2 Weeks in Palawan!
When I arrived in the Philippines, I was met at the airport by my project co-ordinator who drove me to the home of the host family I was staying with. My transfer was hassle-free and everything had been taken care of for me. My host family were incredibly kind and helped me feel so welcome in their home. Some of the facilities took a bit of getting used to though! But I quickly became aware of how important it was to use less resources (like toilet paper and water). The family cooked traditional Filipino food which I’d never tried before – this was a great opportunity to sample the local cuisine.
Each day I was assigned two tasks. My tasks were always varied and included activities such as: cooking, cleaning, sowing, farming, tending to animals and gardening. I worked closely with the locals who showed me the best techniques for my task as well as educating me on their culture and way of life as we worked. The locals were so welcoming and from day one they helped me feel like part of this close knit community.
Life in the Philippines
On an evening, the participants would come together at local cafes and mingle with one another. It was great to meet like-minded people that share a passion for helping developing communities. Our co-ordinators kindly arranged for the participants to complete activities on an evening designed to help us get to know one another.
During the night’s activities, the participants all had a great time, we played games, sang karaoke, lit a bonfire and learned cultural dances. On the weekend, we got to explore more of Palawan’s amazing places such as Puerto Princesa, El Nido, Port Barton and Coron. The weekends were the best as they provided us with some well deserved rest and relaxation from the project.
This unique experience made me rethink various aspects of life that I was taking for granted. To appreciate the hard work, diversity, become more humble and seek similar experiences. By the end of the program I felt as if I discovered a new part of myself and, as I’m leaving this place, the memories will stay with me forever.