12 July 2004
believe I have only been here for three weeks. My days of not being
able to breathe and staring in wonder at the unique approach to
driving seem like a distant memory.
and family will vouch for the fact that my first two weeks were
filled with stories of cockroaches, lizards and mosquitoes, but
through all my traumatic experiences of such creatures, I've come
out a lot stronger. As long as they don't come near me, I no longer
run away! The food still plays with my angry stomach from time to
time, but all in all, I'm feeling less like a tourist everyday.
meets Raphael Buenaventura
last week has been very busy. I managed to get access to a FOCAP
(Foreign Correspondents in the Philippines) event.
was here that Raphael Buenaventura, Governor of the Central Bank
of the Philippines, (the equivalent of the Bank of England), spoke
about the economic situation to a group of 20 foreign journalists
view of Stevie with the Governor!
introducing myself, he invited me and some colleagues to lunch with
we worked out a way in which both our organisations could work together
in the future, a partnership which will be of great value to AIESEC.
also organised for the curator of the Museum of Money, and the Gold
Museum to give us a private tour - who would have known that the
entire history of money could be made so interesting!
also visited universities and spoken to classes about myself and
the organisation I represent. Maria Farren from Northern Ireland,
who's also representing AIESEC, came with me to St. Scholastica's
college. We donned the Union Jack - as if we don't stand out enough
reactions of audiences have been quite mixed. Some listened intently
trying to decipher every word I spoke whilst others openly giggled
at my accent. Everyday, I still notice people stare at me, and never
have I felt so self-conscious when jumping into a public pool half
Philippines is 95% Christian, and the majority are devout Catholics.
God and religion are held close to the Filipino heart, so much so
that even shopping malls hold prayer sermons. Crucifixes and other
religious icons and messages cover public buildings and transport.
All this is quite a jungle for a Jewish Brit to get his head around,
especially when questioned by a lecturer in front of a class about
the meaning of prayer. However, as much as anything else, this is
a cultural experience I have savoured.
at the beach in Bataan
worked hard, but also enjoyed travelling outside of Manila. I spent
last weekend in a province called Bataan, and this weekend I was
in Los Baños and Tagatay, where you can see Taal, the smallest
volcano in the world.
retreats gave me a greater insight to the people and sights of the
Philippines, outside of Metro Manila. It gave me a chance to see
the beautiful rural Philippines, covered in rice fields and mountains,
yet another dimension to these captivating islands.
about my visit to the Corporate Social Responsibility conference
by Stevie Cameron
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