My “Filipino” Fam Jam

It has come to my attention that I haven’t properly introduced you to some of my favourite people on this side of the world.


You’ve seen their names countless times I’m sure. BUT. Since I have very limited time left with them… *sobs quietly at desk*, I thought I would TRY to explain to you why I love them so much. To know how truly awesome they are, you’ll have to meet them yourself.

Each of these people have played a key role in my time in the Philippines and without them, my time here wouldn’t be what it’s been. I’m so glad I met them.


So… meet my “Filipino” family! Half of them actually are filipino, so this title isn’t totally untrue.

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This photo would sum up this post perfectly if only Mar & Meagan were in it!! These are all my most favourite people that I’ve met since living here… (Me, Cads, Tash, Jan, Conor, Matt & Riza in front)


Riza

Honestly… the reason I’m still in Iloilo. I met her the day I arrived and she’s been my rock throughout my attempts at integrating. She really has been my best friend here, more like my family. We both have a huge passion for the environment, especially the big blue sea. Riza influenced the way I saw this city. Because of her I see a community of creative, generous and welcoming people. She single-handedly, made Iloilo city my home. I appreciate her so much, it’ll be really hard to say goodbye to her once I leave. But she’s the reason I’ll come back to visit. Love ya girlie poo. xoxo

Where do you work/what do you do?

I work as a freelance online writer, and recently I co-founded EarthingPH – a social enterprise that aims for long-term environmental protection, preservation and rehabilitation through education and responsible tourism.

What is your favourite place that you’ve travelled?

My fave place is definitely Nepal and New Zealand.

What animal will you be in your next life?

Turtle.

You have a free ticket to anywhere in the world… Where would you go?

Chile.

*She loves their wine

*We have a million pictures together, it was very hard to narrow it down!

Meagan

Meagan… is awesome. We became good friends very quickly despite not even really formally meeting. Now, this chicky poo is someone I turn to when I need to complain, need advice or just need her to solve all my problems to be honest. She’s literally doing that right now as I type this. We’ve been travelling together a couple times now to other places in the Philippines (Bacolod & Cebu) and also to Singapore! I’ll also be hanging out on “her island” for a week (Palawan) before we leave for our live aboard dive trip too!! Meagan & I have talked about it before, and we both feel it’s weird we haven’t known each other for longer than we have. My gal pal & travel buddy! Love ya to bits. xoxo

Where do you work/what do you do?

I work at Western Philippines University in Palawan as the Leadership and Environmental Education Development Specialist except I’m not doing any work relating to that. My work is currently involving coral assessments, abalone farming, and community outreach. Like Christa, I’m involved with IYIP.

Favourite movie, currently.

CURRENT favourite movie is Star Wars Episode 7 (hilarious because I’m currently watching it). While being here my watch count has gone from maybe 3 times (2 being in theatres) to about 20. I’d bet money on Rey being related to a Kenobi…

*She’s seriously obsessed with Star Wars. I’ve considered an intervention, but like me, her parents have brainwashed her into this love… She’s shown me childhood pictures.

Favourite food? I know its nachos, never mind.

Hahah yes, fave food is nachos!!

*I knew it.

What is your favourite place you’ve ever travelled? (She’s been everywhere).

I’m pretty well travelled so it’s hard to choose!! I’d say My favourite countries are England, Germany and Italy. My favourite islands/cities are Prague, Bali and Hong Kong. BUT Singapore has the top spot right now because everything is awesomeeeeee

*See my video of Meagan & I’s trip to Singapore!!

Who is YOUR celebrity crush? 

Hugh Jackman, loved him since I saw the first xmen movie and he will forever hold my number 1 spot. Although currently, I equally love Luke Evans, Zac Efron, Chris Hemsworth and Sebastian Stan. Too hard a question, how can a girl choose?!

Matt

My favourite Australian (so far… But I’ve never met Chris Hemsworth, so). I met Matt in Bacolod city during Masskara Festival in October. We bonded over our weird sense of humour, our borderline alcoholism & the judgement of others. He honestly never fails to make me laugh… He truly does mix a mean Tanduay sugar poison drink. Thanks for the fun… and the hangovers that follow, ya jerk. Forever my little love crunch. xoxo

Where do you work/what do you do?

I work online…sounds dodgy but it’s legit, promise. And volunteer part time for Uygongco Foundation Inc.

What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?

I’m a mixologist. Basically means I mix Tanguay Rum with a variety of powered sugary ice tea flavors. I do this regularly.

*You can see Matt do this as what can only be described as a pure passionate performance in my new YouTube video.

What’s your favourite song?

Whistle – Flo Rida

Booze Cruise or GoMart?

How can one choose? They’re both so chill. Hmmm, Booze Cruise.

Bad… Or boujee? 

Bad.

 

Cadoy

This kid is crazy. So much energy ALL the time. This includes dancing like a lunatic after a 4 hour hike up a ridiculously steep climb up Mt. Napulak (he was wearing sandals and carrying his bag plus 2 other people’s bags by the way). You can see this behaviour in my most recent YouTube video as well. Unfortunately for me, I only got a really short time with Cads before he left for his 6 month rotation of work. Every time we hung out together, he made me laugh so hard, I cried. So happy I got to meet him! Miss you already! Be safe. xoxoxo

Where do you work/what do you do?

I work on a ship (carship to be exact and traveling worldwide). I’m a 4th engineer and I’m in charge of some machineries on board and also some of of the life saving and fire fighting equipment.

What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?

My favorite thing to do when I’m not working is travelling? Lol. Hmmm. If I’m at home I love to watch movies, cooking, and drinking (lol, just kidding)

*He’s not kidding about the drinking. I’ve witnessed it firsthand.

Do you have any siblings?

I have 2 siblings, an older brother who works in the military and an older sister and she is an elementary teacher.

Who is your favourite Canadian intern? You don’t have to answer this, I know it’s me. 

Hahahah. This is a tricky question. Well I can say you guys are unique. You have different personality that I like. But yeah I can say you’re my fave Canadian intern in a way that you are funny and you really want to try stuff.

*BOOM. Lol Conor & Jan xoxoxoxo

Mhar

Mhar is my supervisor within my host organization of John B. Lacson Maritime University. Though, whenever we tell people that she corrects us and says “co-worker”. Mhar is such a hilarious and adventurous soul that really helped shape my work and life experience in the Philippines. She has been there to help me at every turn and makes it clear that she loves her job. Despite the amount of projects and events she always has on the go, she never fails to get it all done. Outdoor junkie, you’re awesome & I’ll miss you!

Where do you work/what do you do?

Presently I am working at John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University as a Community Extension Services Officer and Event Organizer.

*Mhar gave me a giant list of her responsibilities. But basically… She does everything. She’s a kickers project organizer and leader. Personally, I have been working with Mhar on marine based projects like reef assessments and coral gardening. But she is majorly involved in annual bike events which require a crazy amount of work! She’s the hardest worker I’ve ever seen!

What is your favourite food?

Hmmm… anything except beef and goat. 🙂 hahahah

What is your favourite thing to do outside of work/the office?

….. a lot! 🙂 but to mention a few… I love travel and adventures (backpacking), mountain biking, trekking, scuba diving (fun dive)., camping and mountaineering – anything under the sun . 🙂

If you could go any place in the world where would it be?

Here’s my bucket lists! 🙂
1. United kingdom
2. Japan
3. Taiwan
4. Thailand
5. Cambodia
6. Vietman
7. Canada *(7th Mar?? Really?! Come on…)
8. Australia
9. Santorini
10… etc etc

Conor

This guy has been one of my colleagues and roomies for the past 6 months! Parties harder than anyone I’ve met so far and makes for a pretty good intimidation factor to unwanted guests when we go out drinking.

Where do you work?

I work at JBLFMU in Iloilo city as youth Environmental education development intern. Will be going back to Thunder Bay to work as a crew leader fores fire fighter for the Ontario government.

What is your favourite basketball team?

Toronto Raptors “We the North”…. Fav player DeMar DeRozan.

What is your favourite thing to do outside of work?

Hanging with the fellas enjoying some cold beverages and some blessed herb.

England or Norway? (hahahahaha – inside joke)

I’m thinking Spain 😉

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Me & Conor… after we got attacked by all the jellyfish. ALL THE.

Jan

Jan was my travel buddy getting to the Philippines and has been my other colleague and roomie during my internship here. Upon our first arrival, Jan played a huge role in making me feel comfortable in this country! He helped me get over the language barrier and made sure I didn’t get poisoned by any Filipino food (that I had no idea what it was). Thanks for making the transition easier for me buddy!

Where do you work/what do you do?

I work at John B Lacson Foundation Maritime University, doing various stuff such as, but not limited to, researching, community organizing, killing time and making friends. FUNSIES! Haha in all honesty, that’s the one thing I am trying to figure out.

What is your favourite song to sing on videoke?

Favourite videoke song (s): Torn by Natalie Imbruglua, Basang-basa sa ulan by Aegis, Diary by Bread, Zombie by the Cranberries, LoveFool by the Cardigans, Part-time Lover by Stevie Wonder

What is your favourite filipino food/meal?

Favourite food/meal: sisig meal, or anything that has chrorizo in it!

What has been your favourite thing about working in the Philippine with the IYIP?

Probably… The connections that I have made with different people and it allowed me to go back to my roots and to appreciate the culture that I grew up in.

Tash

My all time favourite Brit. I met Tash during only the second week I was in the Philippines. She shows up in Guimaras with two other awesome divers from Cebu to help us with a marine survey. I learned she moved to the Philippines soon after finishing her Divermaster certification in Turkey and is now teaching marine biology at a university in Dumagete. So it’s safe to say I immediately idolized her and I still think she might be the coolest chick on the planet. She is the definition of “It’s more fun in the Philippines”. She got me to see the true meaning behind this phrase right before we did a cliff entry for a reef assessment. Tash soothed my soul by telling me “…sometimes the Philippines just wins. But tomorrow, you’ll win.” I appreciate everything you taught me Tash. I can’t wait to swim with you and some sea turtles. xoxoxo

*I’ll post the answers to her questions once she answers. Can’t bug a girl on vacay!

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At the height of our happiness during the Dinagyang booz cruise!


I hope this makes things a little clearer… Now you can put some faces to the names I’ve mentioned, or that you’ve seen in my videos. I also hope that you can now see why I’ve been having so much fun and have been on so many adventures!

These people are the reason that this experience has been so worth it for me. I’ve gained such valuable work and life experience from living in this incredible country.

BUT. These people? Are the reason that I’ve smiled, laughed and have spent so much time under the sun & better yet? In the water!

I’ll never forget these beautiful faces, and you’d better believe I’m coming back to see them at the first chance I get! They’re hard workers, world travellers and adventurers. All my favourite things, wrapped up into one amazing group of people!

I honestly do not know what I would have done without them… xoxo

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