Archiv für den Monat: November 2009

Somewhere in Paradise

The island with no electricity and glooming water

After I spend two weeks in Manila it was time for me to get out of the city and enjoy the beautiful nature of the Philippines again.

After a struggle where to go – surfing, diving – I decided to join ten other foreign students to a trip to a simple island with no electricity.

We left on Friday evening by bus in direction Zambales and made a stop-over in Angeles. Angeles has a huge entertainment district, which means – strip clubs and whore houses. And for sure we went to one of the strip clubs. But it was not at all what we expected : no naked girls, no pole dancing, nothing. It was actually really boring because there were more than fifty girls, wearing sexy clothes in combination with sometimes sneakers or flip-flops, but noone of them could actually dance. There was no show, no entertainment at all and no striptease. But still white old guys were lingering around with young and petite Filipinas in short skirts.

Afterwards we went to 7-eleven (supermarket) to equip ourselves with food and water for the island and finally we were on our way their, just one more ride by van and boat.

The island is like paradise. There is actually only one family living by the beach and that’s it. There is no electricity, no running water, no cell phone reception (Handyempfang), nothing – back to nature. We were so lucky to go there, cos usually we would not be able to go there. A Filipino local friends arranged this trip to this hidden place for us.

We were sleeping under the sky on the beach. The wood for the fire at night we had to get from the forest by our own. We got some fish and rice from the family there and cooked it over fire and eat it with just our bare hands. And we were swimming a lot in the lonely bay.

The bay of the island is surrounded by huge green mountains and wild nature.

On Sunday we made our way with the help of two local women to some waterfalls. It was so good to take a bath in the natural pool, because we didn’t have a shower in a while and skin and hair felt stiff and sticky because of the salty Sea water. Then we climbed up the rocks of the several waterfalls there ans enjoyed a beautiful view over the bay.

At night the sky was so full of stars, such a stary sky you would never see in a city. And there were fireflies (Glühwürmchen) all over and when you were looking up to the sky it seemed like the stars were moving, but it actually were fireflies.

But the most exciting thing about this trip to the island was THE GLOOMING WATER (leuchtendes Wasser). One night we went swimming under the dark sky. The Sea was black at night, one could just see some reflection of the moon in the water. But when we went into the water and moved ourselves, little spots in the water were starting to gloom. It was like there were stars or fireflys in the water. I have never seen something like that before and it was probably the most impressing and exciting thing I have seen so far in the Philippines! This is something one cannot describe, it is just amazing! Lately on Sunday we had to go back to civilization.

After a little research one the Internet today, Martin found out that what we saw in the bay at night is called ‘Biolumineszenz’. (siehe Wikipedia: ‘Das so genannte Meeresleuchten wird durch Plankton hervorgerufen, zum Beispiel von einzelligen Dinoflagellaten (Noctiluca miliaris), die auf Strömungsveränderungen mit der Aussendung von Licht reagieren. Meeresleuchten lässt sich an zahlreichen Küsten beobachten.’)

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First week since university started

I just dunno what to say. I had a great great great week. Actually it feels like there have been weeks since we got to know the other exchange students last friday.
Since then those days we defined by lots of activities and parties besides school. The first party was already on Monday and the party marathon wouldn’t come to an end. I had less sleep this week, esecially because I have classes in the morning. But I survived.

At the moment everyone is in the mood of socializing and finding friends. So we did a lot of things together these days. One of the highlights for me was the tour on Pasig River, the river which is floating through Manila. One has a beautiful view over Makati business district but one can also see the slums and kids are running besides the ferries waving towards the tourists. In some areas the Pasig River is really dirty and lots of rubbish is floating in the water. But still this is kind of interesting for me, because I never saw something like that before.
We are hanging around with some fun exchange students and I can’t remember since when I have laughed so much. For example there is Charlie, a French guy, and he has this really funny French accent when he is talking in English. Well, sometimes he makes funny mistakes, e.g. he pronounces the word ‘beach’ like ‘bitch’ and stuff like that.
Today after a lazy and long breakfast at our place, Josef (Austrian), Yvonne (Austrian), Kathi (German), Charlie (French) and me spend our time in the pool in our condominium (Wohnhaus) watching the sunset. We decided to do that every evening.Next weekend we are probably going to Batangas to make our open water diving license.

Actually besides the parties and the trips there is also university. And I can tell that I really like the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) so far. The campus is really nice and crowded the whole day. The stundents are lingering around in the green spots, the hallways, the cafeterias. It’s a very nice atmosphere and actually the food in the cafeteria is surprisingly good.
I am attending four courses now, which last for three hours each: Performance and Presentation, Feature Film Directing, Visual Thinking for Communication Managers and Basic Video and TV Production. I have a lot of practical things to do, e.g. I have to shoot a short film and an advertisement and I am really looking forward to this.
Hopefully I am going to attend a Tagalog course, the Filipino language, too. But there is no course at ADMU that I could attend. But Sheena, our nice lady from the Office for International Programs is looking for a teacher from the University of the Philippines to give some private lessons for the exchange students.
In one courses, which Judi is also attending, we have to fulfill a personal challenge and document it. I am not sure yet what my personal challenge will be, but I am joining Judith’ challenge: Try as much Filipino food as you can. So we are eating traditional Filipino food and try something new every single day. As far as I can tell the traditional Filipino cuisine is not that bad, but actually there are some things that are really strange to me.
For example this breakfast we ate salted egg with five other exchange students. Salted egg is buried in mudd (Schlamm) and Salt for more than two weeks.

After that it is ready to eat. The taste was so disgusting (eklig) that I could not stand it and had to spit it out. Judi and Charlie we the brave ones to swallow (runterschlucken) the whole bite of the egg.
Tomorrow there are classes again and I have to present my first homework for performance and presentation: I have to introduce somebody else of my class and for sure somebody else will introduce me. So I am really excited what this will be like.

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First day in school

Today was the day classes should start and we should have been given our class schedule on the weekend, but unfortuneatly there was no class schedule there. – Business as usual, everything is a little lazy here in the Philippines. So the bad thing about it was, that I have a class on Monday morning 7.30am if my first prefence courses were confirmed. But since I had no confirmation of my class schedule I had to go their by chance. Fortuneatly there was class and I was assigned.

The class on Monday is about ‘Performance and Presentation’ and I really liked, especially because it is a very small class of only eleven people, which offers a very good learing atmosphere.

I had chosen only courses on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. But when I went to the Office for International Programs to ask for my schedule I got to know that my schedule actually has changed and now I have courses Monday to Thursday. This is a pity, cos this means less time for travelling. I thought about skipping the course on Monday, cos on Thursday there are two courses, but since I really liked this special class today I decided to last it as it is for now.

I am really excited for the next courses cos actually the class on Monday is relatively lean back, but usually one has to do a lot (!) of homework. Let’s see.

Now that I have classes from Monday to Thursday I have to choose my cuts ((Schwänzen) wisely, cos there are only three cuts for each class in a whole semester. I think I will have to get used to this kind of school-like system. But actually I am convinced to learn a lot, cos I am forced to work a lot for university during the semester.

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An exciting weekend

After a great start into the weekend with the Orientation Seminar on Friday the last weekend would end very nice too.

On Saturday morning I met Ines, a German graduate student who is doing her interviews for her diplome thesis in the Phillies, in Pasay to go to Tagaytay again. We took a bus to Tagaytay and during the whole ride there was a horribly loud and really bad action movie.

In Tagaytay we bargained for a triclycle and rode to Talisay. The route down the hill was wonderful and we had a beautiful view of Lake Taal and the Volcano on the Island inside the lake. Having arrived in Talisay we took a boat to take over to the Taal Island. The lake is so big (3rd big one ine the Philippines) that it feels like one is out on the Sea and there are waves, so that we got wet all over right until our underwear when we arrived at the Island of Taal.

Actually we were told that we could find some nice restaurants over there but apparently there was none. But fortuneatly we found a small hut in the village there, where they sold some rice and meat sticks. And – surprisingly it tasted delicious.

Then the actual trip started – our hike up the smallest volcano of the world. It was great to hike through the nature and to have this beautiful view over Lake Taal. On our way up the hill we saw like hot condensation come out of some wholes of the ground and the sometimes sandy tracks were black from the ash. Some rocks on the hills were like reddish and blue and also sometimes there hot condensation came out.

The hike in the midday sun was it worth. At the top of the volcano one was able to look inside the volcano and the see the beautiful crater lake whereas another island was to see inside the crater lake.

I arrived in Manila after a huge traffic jam on the way back. It was already after nine o’clock and we were invited to a party and I had to hurry taking a shower, getting dressed and having at least some dinner.

The party took place in the houseof the Bask students. Everyone brought some drinks and we put the, all in the kitchen and everyone was free to take whatever he wanted. The Basks knew some great party games and quickly the ice was broken and we had a lot of fun. It were those kind of games which you can only play with some disinhibition of alcoholic drinks. Still things are embarassing but funny and everone was not afraid to take part in the games which I really enjoyed. It was really fun night which would come to an end around 6am. Afterwards we had some scrambled eggs with an Austrian guy in our place – and he came up with some yummy homemade ham!

(clockwise from 12 o’clock: Judith, Tim, Kathi, Elene, Charlie, Maite, me, Josef)
Sunday after only three hours of sleep we spend the whole day with our Filipino friend Shieg, had some Brunch at our place, lingering around in the living room chatting and going out for some sushi in the evening.

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Orientation Seminar – school is about to start

After a long period of travelling and laziness finally we had our orientation seminar at Ateneo de Manila University to be prepared for classes, which start on Monday of next week.
Typically German we overestimated the time we’d need to go to the school of management, where the orientation seminar took place, and were the first ones to arrive there overly punctual.
When the orientation semninar started first we were introduced to the other International students of this semester, who are from Spain, France, Japan, China, Korea, Austria and Germany.
Then we got to know stuff about Ateneo University, its institutions, rules, grading system, history and many more.
There was a lunch break at which we explored the big caféteria and surprisingly the foos was quite well and as usual really really cheap. Also at that zime in the caféteria we got to know for the first time some of the ‘buddies’. The buddies are students from Ateneo who made it their business to be companions for the incoming students of Ateneo. Everyone has its ‘personal buddy’ who is guidung you to ur academic and also your sparetime life.
After Lunch we had again a lecture on the Filipine culture which was quite interesting and sometimes funny. Subsequently we went in groups together with our buddies on a campus tour. This was also the time, where we could not only get to know our buddies, but also get to know the other International students. There are quite some nice ones among them and tomorrow there is going to be the first party at the Spaniards house in Quezon City. I am really looking forward to this.

Officially school starts on Monday – and actually it feels like school here!
There are strict rules here at the (Catholic) university besides a dresscode whereby violations (Verstöße) are fined (bestraft) with e.g. apology letters. Furthermore it is not like most German lectures are where one is only writing a final exam and the end of the term – no, there are regular quizzez and midterm exams. I will have to get used to this again. But thank God this depends always on the teacher and I am really hoping for some nice ones with no unannounced quizzes during ther term ;)
Judi, Nina and me have only classes from Monday to Wednesday, but actually those days are quite full. Mostly classes endure 3h, so that means if you have three classes a day you spend nine hours at school – breaks are axcluded – so in the end one spends more than 12h on Campus.

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Tagaytay with Tita Jenny

Last monday we were invited by the owner of our apartment, we call her Tita Jenny (Tante Jenny) to go on a trip with her to Tagaytay.
But before the actual trip started we were invited to have a filipino breakfast at her place in Makati. Tita Jenny and Tito Santi (her husband) have a really nice house in which two house maids are caring for our breakfast. They serve rice, a pork dish, beef omelette, fried eggs and coffee, but also a fruit salad and an ube pie.

After finishing our breakfast, we went to Tagaytay 1,5h away from Manila – the personal driver (!) was already waiting for us in the Mercedes van. We had some drinks on the trip to Tagaytay and Tita Jenny told us a lot of things about the Philippines – its food, its people and nice places to go to.

Tagaytay is a really nice place in the Mountains of Central Luzon. From the hilltops of Tagaytay one has a beautiful view over the huge Lake Taal and its Volcano. First we went to a huge Resort and it must have been really expensive their!! The area was huge and every place

was even nicer than the other one and from all over the place one had that nice view to the Taal Volcano.
We asked Tita Jenny for some Filipino food, so we ate dinner in a nice restaurant. We had lots of filipino dishes and they all were really tasteful. We had different kinds of fish, some you eat the whole with bones, vegetables, shrimps, rice and a banana desert.

We spent the whole day in different places of Tagaytay and got to know so much about the Filipino way of living.

In the evening we had Filipino dinner again at Santis and Jennys house. And then they took us round the city to show us the nice places to go especially in the evening. What would we just do without Tita Jenny and Tito Santi! I guess we would need so much time to find nice spots in Manila and now we kniw them all! Thank You Tita and Tito!

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Katipunan Ave

An Evening with Side A in Hard Rock Café

I read on the Internet about this rock band – Side A – that is highly succesful in the Philippines and sold platinum records. Well, no question that we went to their concert in Hard Rock Café last Friday. Actually we, that was only Janina and me, Judith wanted to save her money.
So Nina and me dressed up and took a taxi to Makati.
The evening already began promising. Yet we had to pay no entrance, probably because the staff was so happy to see some foreigner, who want to listen to the most famous band in the Philippines.
Side A was actually really good, they played their own songs, as well as covered ones, to which we could sing along. And yes, the lead singer was flirting with. Haha. After a while the crowd got up from the tables and started dancing – and so we did. After Side A had finished the concert some Filipninoes from the neighboring table invited us to spend the evening with’em. And so we spend a fun night with more live music, free drinks and food, a save ride home with fun company.
In the end we spend no more than our taxi ride and our first beer. What a cheap night. And what a pity for Judi.

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