Sunday, June 1, 2014

Hello Tagbilaran!

CEVI Office
Flying back from the U.S. to Bangkok, Thailand and then making it through to Tagbilaran, the Philippines is such a long ride. Even though feeling quite jet lagged, I am very excited that it is time to start experiencing the new place and new culture. Tagbilaran is the capital city in the island province of Bohol, Philippines. It is also where Community Economic Ventures, Inc. (CEVI), a non-profit microfinance organization, the Philippine arm of VisionFund International (VFI) and World Vision, is located. CEVI is where I will soon to be part of its family.

Tagbilaran is quiet and peaceful town to stay. The transportation that is most commonly used here are tricycles and jeepneys. There is a very limited number of taxis. Most taxis are only found at the Tagbilaran pier and airport. Thus, tricycles are vehicles that I usually take to go to the office and anywhere else. It is my first experience taking this kind of tricycles and it is quite fun if you are taking it on a rough road surface. After getting to the apartment, Hyacinth, my first Filipino friend and my future coworker took me to the office to start an orientation. As their Roman Catholic ritual, CEVI staff will have daily life devotion for half an hour every day in the morning. I could not miss the opportunity to participate in devotion even though I am not a Christian. In devotion, they usually sing praise and worship songs, discuss passages in the bible, and share their opinions and experience related to those passages. However, this weekend is when people here celebrated Tagbilaran's fiesta day, which falls on the 1st of May in honor of Saint Joseph, the husband of Mother Mary and the foster father of Jesus Christ. Most people, including Hyacinth, therefore went back to their hometown for a celebration.

My shared apartment,
on the right block
Thus, for my first weekend in Tagbilaran, I chose to take a tricycle to go to the Island City Mall (ICM), the biggest shopping mall in Bohol (Do not expect it to be as large as one in the U.S.). Apart from doing my grocery shopping, I decided to go watch a movie. What I am amazed here is that it is very cheap! For 3D, it cost only 150 PHP or 4 USD. Watching movie would then be another thing I recommend to do here. Unfortunately, on Sunday there was no water and no electricity on my apartment due to the maintenance.  Thus, to run away from such a hot weather, there is surely no any other place better than shopping malls. I then decided to kill my time at ICM again. 

That’s it! My first week in Tagbilaran, Philippines: being familiar with the place, getting to know people around, and doing some shopping therapy. Hopefully, more exciting things will come soon.

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