Helga Sierra
Helga Sierra

Journal: Stories on Creativity & Adventure

Learn about the artist's process, photo stories, traveling & more. 

Helga Travels to Asia: Part 4

Remember click on any one picture and a lightbox will appear. For spanish visit: translate.google.com.

It's crazy for me to think that one month ago I was hanging out in the Philippines, coming back from the beach to be exact.  

The Philippines was quite different than Hong Kong and Guangzhou.  From the moment we arrived at the airport I was almost instantly transported back home, or to Mexico or any other Latin American country you would like to name.  WHY?

  •  Because the disparity between poverty and development/wealth was really evident.  Also, they had these little buses everywhere: The Jeepny.   Equivalent to the Honduran rapidito, or a bigger moto-taxis: they reminded me of my dad and uncles who would have loved to see them.
  • Because people drive crazy, just like home.
  • Because kids hold on to the back of the buses to try to get a ride.  
  • Because Catholicism is the predominant religion, and because the Spanish colonized the Philippines so there is similar heritage.  

My friend Sue & I decided to go on a little adventure while in Asia.  We chose the Philippines (correctly pronounced Pilippines, as the "H" is silent there) because you would not know how much trouble it would have been for both of us to get visas to travel to different places (Sue is from Madagascar, although everyone in the Philippines thought she was a native).  Not only did Cebu, the island we were in, look like Latin America it sounded like it also.  Cebuano is a mix of English, Spanish and a native tongue; I think if I was there for a couple of months I would quickly learn the language.  

While we did not do a lot of touristy things, besides go to the beach, we did get to spend sometime with a sweet family who hosted us: the Quillatons' and their friends. You see, I made many friends in college, many of them from all around the world.  My friend Veronica and her sister Vanesa are from the Philippines, so why not go visit their land? They both now live in the States but have some friends that remain in the Philippines and that's how Veronica introduced us to Caidy and Ronald.  Caidy and Ronald have two babies under the age of 2, so we were so grateful they agreed to take us in when their babies need constant attention: they're babies.  The Quillatons' also work with ministry called 818 ministry, and have started a place called the Jesan Center, where kids who live on the streets have a place to be at and receive a meal to eat.  


We didn't spend a lot of time at the center, at least as much as I would have liked due to various reasons; but the work Caidy and Ronald do is good.  It provides a home and education to kids who otherwise would not have one. 

The kids were going to a VBS (vacation Bible School) with a group and we got to meet some of their friends, literally for 5 minutes. Something you must know about the Philippines and Cebu in particular is that it does not matter what the circumstances in life are: you always smile, because it could be worse and why note enjoy the moment you have.  So here are a couple of smiles of the kiddos. 

Sue and I also got to a resort: Alegre (in Spanish that means happy), and boy was I happy.  The ocean was spectacular.  The resort was spectacular too and it was pretty much empty so we had everything to ourselves, and even though I got an allergy while I was there, that was not going to stop me from being in the water all day long.  Twenty feet from the shore there was coral reef, and if you've ever been around me when I'm at the beach you know I will be in the water looking at the fishes all day.  In the middle of the ocean there was a floating dock, where I stopped to think one of the days.  I heard some splashing and of course my mind goes to: SHARK!! so I jumped back in the water with the bright idea to swim as fast as I can to the shore (that was a dumb idea, as the shark would have probably gotten to me, and usually sharks aren't close to the reefs...).  As I am swimming I see a beautiful turtle swimming in front of me, something that I had been wanting to see since I got there.  I indeed was happy, I wish my mom would have been there, she would have loved to see the fishes, star fishes, and turtle too. 

Also, I had never been at a beach where the tide is low at night.  Instead of the tide going up, the tide went down.  Once again a reminder that I was on the other side of the world.

Cebu, Philippines: you were good to me. 

You really want to watch this video, because if you've read all of my different posts, this video sums up my experience, and hopefully it's just like you were there too!

Thanks for following my journey.  Enjoy!


Hasta la próxima Asia!

Until next time!