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Wednesday 4 August 2004
Working abroad: Stevie Cameron
Written by Stevie Cameron, AIESEC member
People in a bar
Stevie (bottom right) with new friends in Boracay

Stevie Cameron is in the Philippines this summer.

He's travelling with the AIESEC student organisation, and he's writing a regular diary on BBC Birmingham.

SEE ALSO

Stevie Cameron
Stevie's in The Philippines.
Introduction
Diary 1
Diary 2
CSR Conference
Diary 3
Diary 4

Andrew Webster
Andrew's in India.
Introduction
Diary 1
Diary 2
Culture Shock!
Diary 3
Diary 4
Diary 5

Jess Rudkin
Jess is working in the Czech Republic.
Diary 1
Diary 2
Diary 3
Diary 4
Diary 5

James Eder
James is sharing his marketing skills with local people in Colombia.
Introduction
Diary 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
Diary 6 - Aims
Diary 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11
Diary 12 - 13 - 14 - 15
Diary 16 - 17 - 18 - 19

Working with AIESEC
Jame Eder introduces the student organisation.

AIESEC in Birmingham
Amaneeta Shokur explains more about AIESEC and how she is involved.

Scheila
Scheila came to Birmingham from Brazil on a student scheme run by AIESEC.

Students index

The Philippines
Profile of the country from BBC News.
WEB LINKS

AIESEC
Official website for the UK.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

FACTS

PHILIPPINES FACTS

Population: 80 million (UN, 2003)
Capital: Manila
Major languages: Tagalog (Filipino), English
Major religion: Christianity
Monetary unit: 1 Philippine peso = 100 centavos
Exports: Electrical machinery, clothes, food & live animals, chemicals, timber

AIESEC FACTS

AIESEC (pronounced "i-sek") stands for the Association for the International Exchange of Students in Economics and Commerce.

AIESEC is the world's largest international student organisation with 30,000 members in over 86 countries.

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Since I've been in the Philippines, everyone has encouraged me to visit the island of Boracay. So I obliged and took a group of eight others with me. Why Boracay? Well, dubbed as the 'paradise island', for its white sand, clear sea, coral reef and palm trees, it really did live up to its name.

In true Filipino style, it didn't all go as smoothly as i hoped. First problem: the flights! We booked our ticket for 7:30 on Friday morning, so we could get a whole day of sunning on the beach. However two days before our flight we were warned that the flight was delayed until 12:30pm the same day.

With this in mind, we arrived at the airport well in advance, only to find out that when they said 12:30, what they actually meant was 10:00am. So, with smoke firing out of our ears, we accepted the very generous offer of a later flight. Checking in also came with some fun surprises. We were all weighed individually, whilst they calcuated who could sit where depending on the balance of the plane. This sort of experience does wonders for building self-confidence..!

We stayed three to a cottage, which cost us around 80 pence a night. Such good value considering we even got running water and electricity! On our first day, we hired some mountain bikes to go around the island. Picture this: climbing up hills, in 35° heat, with broken bikes. I had to take a taxi back with my bike, because it was in too many pieces to put back together.

Our misery was relieved though during lunch by the kind invitation from some Koreans to dine with them for free. They didn't speak English, but for a free feast, any company is good company. (Note: when a Korean introduces themselves, do not ask if they are from the North or South, their faces contort into a single muscle… it's a little scary.)

Children playing in the sea
Children playing in the sea

Walking down the beach, one is hounded by men selling island hopping boat trips. So with this in mind, we thought we'd take the higher qualtiy option and go through a 'more reliable' source for our snorkelling trip.

Things didn't go quite to plan, as we fell straight into the tourist trap of an overpriced scam. Our 7 hour trip with 'gourmet' lunch, turned into a 4 hour trip with a barbeque too spicy to eat. After a little European protest, when we refused to leave the boat, we were given a couple more hours to tour the island. Nonetheless, we still got to do a spot of fishing and snorkelling though the most beautiful waters.

Even though you need a degree in haggling to get by in Boracay, it is quite a specatacular break. Massages on the beach, were one of my highlights. Luxurious but cheap… so I had two!

As with most beach holidays though, nothing could beat the nights. We toured the bars, swam in the sea in the wee hours of the morning, and then toured the bars again. The locals welcomed us into their hang-out spots after work, where they offered us free drinks and taught us how to bang along rhythms to their music, well out of sight of other tourists.

Sunset in Boracay
Sunset in Boracay

Have I any complaints? No. All the little annoyances along the way, passed by as soon as you stepped onto the beach. Seeing the local kids swim in the sea, watching the sunset with new friends, and drinking cocktails on the sand. You can imagine my joy at returning back to the chaos that is Manila. :-/

Written by Stevie Cameron

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