The trio from Prince Albert, Jaclyn, Shawn, and Chantelle, arrived in Manila Philippines on December 31st, 2011. We were forewarned that we would experience culture shock. “This term expresses the lack of direction, the feeling of not knowing what to do or how to do things in a new environment, and not knowing what is appropriate or inappropriate” (Guanipa, 1998). Leaving the airport we were immediately shocked by our new surroundings and unsure of what was yet to come. It was hot, humid, congested, busy, and loud; we instantly knew that we were a long way from home. After spending a relaxing first evening at the Diamond Hotel on Manila Bay and witnessing the famous New Years fireworks we moved to a hotel in the inner city, the Tropicana. During this week we had the opportunity to explore and experience Metro Manila with its crowded streets and unfamiliar surroundings. We could describe Manila as having character and never boring; the city never sleeps. The city appeared to have two extremes, the very poor and run down and very beautiful and wealthy. We experienced developing country characteristics such as children unclothed, begging, alone, and homeless, which opened our eyes to lack of social justice. Also, the living conditions for a large portion of the population are far below that of which we have ever seen. We can summarize our perspective using the cliche, ignorance is bliss. On the contrary, we were fortunate to visit the beautiful sites including Tagaytay’s Taal Volcano and Pagsanjan falls with lush surroundings, which left us speechless.

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