I was not particularly well-traveled as a young person. By my mid-twenties, I hadn’t crossed the middle of the United States and I had never left the country. My first foray into international travel was a 5-day trip to Paris with friends, done on the spur of the moment. So, when it came time for me to travel to the Philippines for work, alone, I was excited, but incredibly nervous. Travel alerts for the safety of US citizens in the Philippines didn’t help. But, I knew it would be an amazing experience, so in 2001, I started a blog, packed my bags, and headed out for a trip that would create lifelong friends and impact me forever. I know for many Americans, the Philippines is a far-off locale and we often only see the images of sadness and destruction. I wanted to put some more relatable faces to the crisis they are facing after Typhoon Haiyan (and other recent natural disasters). For info on donating to relief efforts, here’s an article on USA Today.
The people of the Philippines are some of the warmest, kindest people I have ever met. The kids were a bundle of smiles. Look at these happy faces! This was more than 10 years ago, so these cuties are all grown up. I’m friends with many of the people I met on Facebook and it’s fun to see the kids getting jobs, getting engaged, and just becoming adults.
One thing that struck me was that they were constantly dancing and singing. These kids were preparing for a special performance for the launch of their afterschool program, but I have a lot of pictures of kids dancing together.
I didn’t have a great camera at the time, but I just loved driving through the country side. It’s a beautiful country.
Just some more of my favorite pictures of the kids and scenes from the Philippines… I hope I can return some day!
Please consider a donation to the Philippines, whether it be on general relief efforts, food, children, or whatever else your passion is.