Philippines 2015

Almost 2 years ago a friend told me about TGC – Teachers for Global Classrooms.  TGC is part of an organization called IREX (International Research and Exchange) that funds grants for a year long professional development program to help teachers learn to incorporate concepts of globalization into their curriculum, and in turn, provide professional development for their colleagues.  It involves an intensive 8 week online course in the fall, a 3 day symposium in Washington, DC in the spring, and culminates in a travel abroad experience.  I started the application that day.  Of course, being me, I spent about 20 minutes on it, and then got serious 4 days before the deadline.  I was notified in May last year that I was one of the grant recipients.  I didn’t know where I was going to travel until this past January.  In all honesty, the Philippines was not my first choice, but now that I’ve had the experience, I couldn’t be happier.

TGC traveled to one of 6 countries, with trips beginning March.  The Philippines group, 15 of us, had the last trip, from June 20 to July 8.  I decided to extend my trip an additional 2 weeks to travel around the country. Part of the requirement was to keep a travel blog.  That proved to be more challenging than expected simply because we were so busy and the internet wasn’t always cooperative. Here are links to my professional blog:

Off to a great start! 

Three days in Manila

Just wow!  Day one at Leganes National High School

What a weekend! 

We came as visitors.  We left as friends

I can’t adequately express how much the first part of the trip meant to me.  People were so open and generous and I learned so much.  However, the second part of the trip opened my eyes in ways that I couldn’t imagine.  I’ve never had a trip where I just made up my itinerary as I went along to the degree that I did here.  I had a general plan:  Coron, El Nido, Banaue.  I did get to all of these places with some unexpected twists and turns, but there was a treasure to be found at the end of every bumpy road: beautiful places, new friends, and fascinating excursions, but also a closer look at the harsher realities of life here in the Philippines and the challenges faced by the people doing back-breaking work as happy tourists blithely pass by.

Coron

The Unexpected Journey (the ferry to Puerto Princesa)

The Bus Ordeal to El Nido

Tapik Beach

Banaue

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