When I arrived in the Philippines on April 1st, and made my first trip into the bowels of Dumaguete City, I said to myself, “What the f*&^ did I do.”
I’ll never forget that first afternoon the trike (that’s me in one in the pic above) dropped me off at the public market.
- Motorbikes, trikes, and cars negotiating the streets without stop lights
- Odors in the air I had never smelled before
- 90F degree heat encased in humidity you could cut with a knife
- People of all ages begging for money
- A public market where meat, poultry, pork, and fish are on display for sale without refrigeration
The feelings of uncertainty, despair, and fear rushed up and down my 6’5″ frame while standing among the much shorter ( mostly 5’2″ and under) Dumaguetians.
Syracuse has been my home for the last three decades. A few years ago I had reached a point where my life was on auto pilot, Walking around almost lifeless in a coma. I had squeezed everything I could out of the beautiful environment of Central NY.
I was grateful and blessed with everything I had achieved and experienced thus far. I simply wasn’t completely happy.
I was looking for a change. Looking to step outside my comfort zone.
Arriving in a place where everything was unknown. A place where I once again could experience beginner’s mind.
After several days the culture shock wore off and I said to myself, “Heh Borek, you wanted to play to the edges of your comfort zone.. This is exactly what you asked for!”
Having said that, nothing can prepare you for the cultural confusion you feel when you immerse yourself in a foreign country 8,800 miles away.
My biggest takeaway so far? Even though they have very little and live a minimalist life, the Philippine people are the most caring, giving and happiest people I’ve ever met.
Over the coming weeks I’ll write about my adventures here in the province of Negros Oriental and the lessons learned along the way.
What I can say at this point in time, I’m so glad I took that scary leap of faith. I’ve been changed for good.
Here’s a short clip of me and my new found friend Bud Brown, one of the vloggers I’ve followed over the last few years. Bud’s videos, as well as others, schooled me on Dumaguete and Philippine life. Enjoy.