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The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines

last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.
Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.
These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.
The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit


By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.
‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.
What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.
Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.
And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.
I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.
One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.
Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.
These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.
The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit


By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.
‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.
What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.
Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.
And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.
I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.
One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.
Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.
These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.
The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit


By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.
‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.
What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.
Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.
And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.
I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.
One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.
Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.
These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.
The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit


By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.
‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.

Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.
What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.
The author, a student of Business Administration in the University of Macau, was sent to the Philippines
last 20-24 May 2013 under the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchangessponsored by the
Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR.
The following essay describes the author’s experience in the Philippines where she had the opportunity to
attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila University and to travel within and outside Manila.
The essay has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

The Philippines – More Than Just a Place to Visit

By Choi Tong I

Clear blue skies with clouds formed into different pictures; a jolly sun, with the most brilliant sunshine that
lights up nature; grateful and pleasant people, with the brightest smiles that build up their unique culture.
These form the Philippines, a place where you can learn the real meaning of life, and how to appreciate
things around. A week’s exchange program, a lifetime’s awakening. This is the most amazing and fruitful
trip that I have ever had.
Attitude is one of the most profound lessons I have learnt throughout my trip in the Philippines. Wherever
you are and whomever you are with, you can feel the Filipinos’ passion towards their jobs and country. No
matter what they are–sales staff, taxi drivers, security guards or simply strangers passing—Filipinos wear
lovely smiles on their faces. Even when they are stuck in traffic or in a long queue, they are still happy
enjoying music, or chatting with friends.

The students and staff in my host university, the Ateneo de Manila University, were all very nice and
enthusiastic in introducing us their campus and culture; they even used their spare time to bring us around
Manila, and they cared about us a lot. Their love and care had really touched me deeply.

One organization that I must mention is the Gawad Kalinga in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The
organization helps in building houses for the poor and helping them to legally own their homes. Houses in
the Gawad Kalinga village are colorfully painted like a theme park, and the reason behind it is simple – they
want to cheer up the poor families with beautiful colors.

What the organization builds are not only houses, but homes and shelters. Under the strong heat of the
sun, I couldn’t hear them grumble. Instead, I could hear cheers and laughter. The people there owned the
brightest smiles I have ever seen. Children had the simplest toys and they played the simplest games with
their neighbors, yet, you could see how grateful they were through their eyes.

These led me to a deep reflection: What was I grumbling about when I was sitting in a room with air-
conditioning, studying for my exams? These children didn’t even have a proper chair. Life can be simple.
The more we desire, the farther we are away from real happiness.

I really appreciate the heart of Gawad Kalinga. Real charity should be done in this way-- a direct help to the
poor, an influential step toward solving the problem of poverty.

Through the two lessons in Ateneo and the visit to the National Museum, I understood more about the
history and culture of the Philippines. How the Spanish and the Americans have influenced the culture of
the Philippines was really worth knowing since I hadn’t had any idea on this before. Sharing different
cultures and information with the staff in Ateneo was one of the activities that I enjoyed the most. I felt great
when they learned more about Macau.

Last but not the least, the trip to Tagaytay provided a perfect full stop to our one-week journey in the
Philippines. There, I could feel the nature of the Philippines, which again, brought me to the feeling that life
can really be simple and easy. Nature is the best gift from God, and what more do we have to desire for?
‘To live at all is miracle enough,’ reminds Richard Dawkins.

And, as Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and
remember more than I have seen’. The journey has taught me a lot, and I experienced more than I expected.
Every minute was enjoyable, even when we were stuck in traffic; the lights from the ‘sea of cars’ was so
beautiful, with pleasant background music from the radio. Without a visit, one can never truly know how the
Philippines looks like. The sky is blue even when it is raining; the people are joyful even when they are
sweating. You just can’t think of any reason to complain about your life. I really have to say a real ‘salamat’
to all people who accompanied us during the whole trip, without them, my journey would never have been
complete.

‘Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. All these
one can do in fun Philippines.