It has been nearly two weeks since I began my 29+ hour travel experience from London Heathrow to my eventual destination of Dumaguete in the Visayas region of the Philippines. The journey was surprisingly pleasant and incident free.
It began, like I said in a busy and multi-cultural Heathrow airport. With trepidation over the increased security a direct result of the current global situation, I breezed through security with no mention of the rather alien looking Regulators in my hand luggage that are so often questioned. After a rather amusing exchange with a particularly jolly security official regarding my lack of sleep and general lack of common sense, as well as a lot of British style ‘pleases’ and ‘thank you sirs’, I was home free.
I struggle to sleep on planes, especially planes that provide me with endless movies and TV shows, beer and endless food, and 9 short hours later I found myself in Oman. With barely enough time to blink before my connecting flight to Manila, I audibly groaned at the thought of another security check. This time I wasn’t so lucky. In full view and in the way of everyone’s progress, a guard asked me to empty my bag. With various clothes splayed across a conveyor belt he stared perplexed at the set of hoses looking back at him. Thankfully, a co-worker with the largest assault rifle i’ve ever seen reassured everyone that he’d seen it before and I was free to go. PHEW!
Another 8 hours of limited sleep later I arrived at Manila airport, with a change to sleep in my favourite dark spot of terminal 3. It wasn’t meant to be however, with a few grumbles about change and ‘the man’ I walked away in my defeat as my favourite sleeping place was now a Starbucks.
With a final push and an hour and a half long flight I finally made it to Dumaguete. With 24 hours of spare time ahead of me I familiarised myself with the sights and sounds of the city. Sampling food, and various modes of transport with varying levels of success. FYI if you have the option of a tricycle but they’re charging 10 pesos more than the correct rate and won’t budge, take it! The walk across Dumaguete city in midday sun is not worth that 20 pence you manage to save.
Thus began life at MCP. Where do I begin? The food, the people and the setting were all fantastic. Not to mention the amazing bunch of doggos all with differing personalities and quirks. My favourite had to be the regal and majestic compass though, a delight to be around! The unforgettable two weeks I spent here have been truly great. Exploring the area, in particular Casaroro Falls, learning about all the different projects and internships happening in one place and meeting so many different people from all walks of life. I cannot think of a better place to complete the training for the Zoox programme. I only hope I can go back again one day. Hopefully to do some serious stats, but even just for the infamous Saturday nights, great trees, and the basketball hoop.