A big shout-out to everyone who posted their productive struggles! Click the button below to see my ziplining experience at the foot of the Mayon Volcano. I had a GoPro camera on my helmet.
Here is another video you might enjoy. It is Filipino children singing a Filipino love song.
Ethan Dutcher asked me about the plants and animals in the Philippines. Here is a video clip of a rooster crowing. Does it sound like "cock a doodle do?" There are also some photos of some of the plants and animals I have seen. To answer Cole's question, yes, I have enjoyed drinking delicious coconut juice and having someone cut it open and eating the soft white "meat."
And for the 5th graders, Walter visited the world's smallest volcano today! It is called Taal Volcano and it is located inside of a lake at the top of a mountain.
Over the weekend, we went island hopping in a banca, a traditional Filipino fishing boat. Island hopping is taking a boat to different islands and getting off at each island to swim, eat or just relax. I now know why the total number of islands in the Philippines varies (people usually say there are over 7,000) - we went to one today called Vanishing Island, which becomes completely submerged after high tide (and therefore is no longer an island while it is under water!). We swam in the Pacific Ocean at each of the three islands we visited and had a delicious feast of mango, Adobo, rice, chicken and santol, an exotic tropical fruit. After the island hopping, we visited a place that was a pit stop in the television show Amazing Race.
When a Genesee student suggested I bring a "Sweet Case" to the Philippines for a child in need, I thought that was a wonderful idea. The "Sweet Case" has traveled over 8,000 miles in my suitcase and I had the opportunity to deliver it on Friday to the Principal at Oro Site High School and some of her teachers. They will make sure it goes to a boy or girl in need.
I also brought other gifts - a parachord bracelet from Ms. Altman's class, I Love NY stickers, bookmarks made by Genesee students, READ wristbands, NYS quarters, and holiday letters written by Ms. Hares' students. Here are some photos that show how the children felt receiving them (click on the pictures to make them bigger).
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to teach with a 7th grade English teacher at Oro Site High School, Ma'am Burmas. Since it was the first week of classes, she was doing activities so she could get to know the students and they could get to know each other (remember, there are 45-55 students in each class, so that is a lot to get to know!). The 7th grade students loved the bookmarks made by the Genesee students, and Ma'am Burmas decided to have her students do the same thing. I also brought wristbands and I Love NY stickers to hand out to the students. In another class, we discussed the inspirational quotes made by Genesee 5th grade students and Oro Site students shared some of their favorite quotes. One I like is "Be nice to your mother because you will never have another." Comment on this post with one of your favorite quotes!
In the afternoon, Mrs. G and I were part of the 7th grade orientation program. Since the 7th grade students were new to the High School, an orientation was held for them and their parents so they could meet the staff and learn the rules of the school.
The school year in the Philippines runs from June through March, and their first day of school this year was June 12th. I was fortunate to be able to visit my host school, Oro Site High School, on its first day of classes. Mrs. G and I arrived at 5:45 in the morning, because the school day for 7th and 10th grade students begins at 6:00 a.m. The students go until 12:15, and then the 8th and 9th grade students arrive to start school at 12:45, and they stay until 7:00 p.m. More classrooms are being built in another building, but until that project is finished, there are two shifts of classes.
Every Monday, the school has a flag raising ceremony at 6:00 am, and on this first day of school, Mrs. G and I were introduced. We visited lots of classrooms, and brought gifts to the students. One interesting thing I noticed was the students staying in the same classroom all day, with different teachers coming in every hour. In our schools, the students move from classroom to classroom, and the teachers stay in the same room. We'll be back here on Wednesday, and we're looking forward to visiting an elementary school as well as a college tomorrow!
At 6 am on Saturday, Miss Cheryl met me and Mrs. G at our hotel, and we walked what must have been at least a mile to a new area called Embarcado. It is a walkway right on the ocean, with a beautiful view of the Mayon Volcano. We joined a public Zumba class with over one hundred people. With roosters crowing in the background, we Zumba-Ed for about 45 minutes and then went to a local shop to enjoy a fresh coconut. We met two of Miss Cheryl's students - Andrei Ashley and Ralph - who are both going to be some of the first students in the country to enter the 11th grade. The Philippines had been one of only three countries in the world in which their public education stopped before 12th grade, and this year is the first year of the change to K-12 education.
Legazpi City is famous for the Mayon Volcano, which is nearby. It is supposed to be the world's most perfectly formed volcano, and it is still active. You can see smoke coming out of the top on a clear day. It's been over one hundred years since its last big eruption, and people aren't allowed to get too close to the top because of the smoke and ash that come out. However, you can get close to the base by riding four wheelers up to the spot where the lava flow from the last eruption ended, and then climbing the rocks to a higher spot. It was my first time riding a four wheeler and it was fun! Here is a video clip from my ride: ensemble.cayboces.org/watch/atv
Riding the zip line was a productive struggle for me because I am afraid of heights, but I did it! If ten people comment with their productive struggles, I will post the video of my zip line experience!
Yesterday we flew from Manila to Legazpi City, which took about one hour. In the United States when you take a short flight, you are usually served peanuts or pretzels as a snack. We were served a sweet roll filled with chicken. Here are some photos from the plane of the islands I saw as we flew.
We were met by our wonderful host teacher, Cheryl Pavericio, who teaches math at Oro Site High School in Legazpi City, and also teaches calculus (an advanced form of math) at Bicol University. After checking in to our hotel, she brought us to her school to meet the teachers, and some students who were registering (remember, school starts on Monday!). Imagine our surprise when we saw the banner hanging in the school welcoming us! (They took photos off of our Facebook accounts). We then went to visit the Superintendent of Schools (similar to Mr. Pirozzolo's job in Auburn). To end the day, we took a drive around their beautiful city.
Congratulations to Caitlyn Cook for being the first to answer the math question (and also to Ryan, Cole and Alex M. For answering correctly, too!). What do you think Pride and Philippe are sitting on in the last photo? What body of water is behind them?
Today we visited two schools in Makita. In the morning we visited Pitogo High School. School doesn't begin until Monday, but students came in to perform several songs and dances for us. We toured the school and talked to students and staff, who made us feel so welcome. Because thousands of students attend this school, students go either in the morning (6 a.m. To 12 p.m.) or afternoon (1 p.m. To 6 p.m.), because there aren't enough classrooms to have all the students in the school at the same time. In the past, students in grades 7 through 10 attended this school. For the first time, schools all across the Philippines will have 11th grade students.
We began our day with the breakfast buffet in the hotel - food from the Philippines, India and Japan. I decided to try suman, which is a Filipino dish of sticky rice cooked in coconut milk, and wrapped in a banana leaf. They had a special coconut sweet sauce (it tasted like molasses) to drizzle over it and it was delicious! I also tried some dragonfruit, which looked a little strange but was very good. When I am with students next week, I will be asking them about their favorite foods. Please leave a comment with your favorite foods!
After breakfast, we went shopping at a local mall. The school year starts next week and there were a lot of "back to school" sales! The school year typically runs through March and the students are off in April and May, the hottest months of the year. I will be traveling to Oro Site High School in Legazpi on Friday, and am excited to be at the school for its first day of classes!
After our shopping trip, we visited Intramuros, one of the oldest parts of the city of Manila. The photo of the statue is that of Jose Rizal, a hero of the Filipino people.
To end our day, we ate dinner and saw a music and dance cultural presentation at Barbara's Restaurant. Click HERE to see one of the most famous dances in the Philippines, the Tinikling!
Although it was a long flight, I am happy to say there were no problems and I have arrived at our hotel in Makati, the business center of Manila, which is the capital of the Philippines. I was able to sleep for 3 1/2 hours last night, and it is now 7:30 on Monday morning (in Auburn right now it is 7:30 on Sunday night!). We have some free time today to get over our jet lag, and we will be exploring the area around our hotel. This afternoon, we will be taking an historical tour of the oldest part of Manila, then going to a cultural dinner and show. Here are some photos from my travels over the past 24 hours!
I arrived in Detroit, Michigan last night after a wonderful send-off from the staff and students at Genesee! After a relaxing night at the Comfort Inn, I have printed my boarding pass and I am looking forward to meeting up with the other twelve teachers going on this trip. Here are some photos of the plane that will take me there. The flight is 19 hours and 21 minutes long (with a two-hour layover in Tokyo). If you want to track my flight, go to www.flightview.com after 1:00 pm on Saturday and enter DL for the airline, 275 for the flight and June 4th for the date. My seat is 60J and I am excited to sit next to Mrs. G., a teacher from Pennsylvania, who is my travel partner to Legazpi. What do you think I did on my long flight?
A student asked me today what I was taking with me on my trip. In addition to clothes, I am bringing a variety of items. Here are photos of some of them:
Welcome to my travel blog! The most recent posts will be at the top, so if you want to see earlier posts, scroll down or click on one of the links under "Archives."
I am a school librarian at Genesee Elementary School in Auburn, NY where I try to inspire students to be lifelong learners, critical thinkers and adventurers! In June, I am traveling to the Philippines with a group of amazing teachers from around the country as part of a Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellowship. I hope you'll join me on my journey!