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The last week in the Philippines by Ellie Walton

This week we waved goodbye to island tranquillity as we jumped over to the urban buzz! This last stretch of the trip has focused on tourism within the province and city of Sorsogon.

The group have volunteered at the local museum where we have been guided through some of the history of the province, including the Spanish and American influence that is ever so apparent in their culture and literature. Through the tour we came close up to some of the artefacts that we'd be restoring. After the tour we restored some silverware, brass irons and domestic utensils and some of the books from their library. Following some of the more conventional restoration, we all took part in cleaning and de-magotting some whale carcasses which was definitely harder to stomach then polishing spoons, however the job needed to be done and that we did!

Emersion in the city meant that we were able to meet the governor of Sorsogon and understand more about tourism in the city and what it has to offer, we also explained what the leap did as an organisation which was later depicted by Fia in an interview which was shown on a Filipino news channel!

Another day another leaper, we said our goodbyes to Felix and wished him well on his own travels around south east Asia, can safely say that I'm extremely jealous! Our tour guides: Kimberly and Shaloma wanted to show us some of the things you can get up to just outside of the centre. So we headed to the beach in Barcelona- Sorsogon. However, there were no waves good enough for surfing, so we made our way to the cold springs for a different kind of water activity. (Which should be called freezing springs might I add). Despite the extremely cold water temperature, the natural springs were really refreshing!

Our last full day in Sorsogon arrived and we spent the afternoon finally seeing how some of the local goods are made (that we have seen so often in the markets). We learnt to weave leaves in a plait fashion which was the basics before making something like a bag or a trinket box. It however did not come easy to some of us including me, so we left it to Katie and Hal (the naturals)! To fuel our weaving, we were given homemade lemongrass and ginger juice with some local chocolates and nuts. The morning was over and we had left with some homemade Filipino handicrafts to take home! Later that day we went on river cruise before dinner where were lucky enough to be greeted by many fireflies on our journey, it was such a lovely way to spend our last night in Sorsogon city!

With limited days in the Philippines left, It was nearly home time for the remaining leapers! Back to where we started, we headed on to Casa Simeon, where we were able to touch base as we made the most of our time. We explored Legazpi further which meant doing an ATV tour around the Mayon volcano, it was such an amazing way to finish what has been an even more amazing trip! I can't quite believe how fast it has flown by, but for some of us it is time to finally head home and for the lucky few who are able to carry on their travels, I wish you the best of times (I'm extremely jealous)!

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