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The Philippines: volunteering and birthdays - Ellie Walton

Here we are, first week in the Philippines and we're already loving it, especially the chilled culture that the Filipinos have introduced to us. After a mad six weeks in Borneo, it's well needed/appreciated by all!

After our overnight flights, we arrived in Legazpi where we headed over to the Casa Simeon, a little bit of luxury for the troop before we endeavoured on to the next part of the trip. On the second evening, after a day of island hopping around the local area, Jessica (our new group leader) briefed us on what was to follow in the upcoming weeks, including the community projects.

First stop was a homestay in the National Park of Bulusan - home of the active Bulusan volcano. Philip and Angel made us feel more than welcome, in fact we felt like additional children to their clang. Our main project has been cleaning up and renovating a beach house in efforts to attract more tourism to the beach. We also spent some time painting at a local high school as they start to prepare for the fast approaching academic year.

In our spare time we've made the most of the surrounding area - beach days, a waterfall trip, kayaking in the national parks and a few karaoke nights. We were also lucky enough to catch and be invited to the mayors birthday party, from flame throwing to singing performances, it definitely trumped any 40th birthday party I've ever been to!?

As our time in Bulusan draws to a close, we spend our last day on beach clean-up followed by swimming and relaxing before we move on to Ticao island for our next project!

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