Return to the Philippines has been long awaited since leaving in 2008 and it has not disappointed compared to memories. Feeling the heat, smelling the smells, and seeing the sights. Wandering (with an estimated sense of direction) for an hour through Manila from hotel to bus station served as a reminder how distinctive, vibrant and friendly this place actually is. Leaving the big city behind and reaching Aninuan, locals are ready to greet you with calls of ‘Tricycle?’ as they offer you a ride nearly anywhere you wish in their custom made motorbikes and sidecars. Accommodation boasts running (cold) water AND shower though others are not so lucky and require the bucket and scoop technique that has been so familiar before.
A short weekend and some refresher diving later and we are straight into the Experience Program; full steam ahead and suddenly we are diving, once again, into a whole new world. Despite having a varied education history, I am suddenly surrounded by like minded people to an extent I have not particularly experienced before. Knowledge, experience and passion knows no bounds, unless we are trying to stop our water tank from overflowing, ordering drinking water for delivery because we don’t have an address or walking the cultural back streets of Sabang. Everything that makes life that little bit more enjoyable, while learning to cope in rather irregular situations when coming from England!
As we now progress into the second week of our adventure, learning and enjoyment have both taken exponential increases. High pressure assignments, personal studying and the odd bit of socialising all round into one great experience that I know I am going to greatly benefit from.