My trip to the Philippines was the best experience I’ve had. Sugod is paradise, with its beautiful still water beaches, waterfalls and stunning green mountains, plus the big smiles on everyone’s friendly faces makes you feel a part of the community right away.
I fell in love with my host family and of course the children I worked with.
I tutored a few special needs kids in the morning then helped out with the afternoon class after lunch. There are between 40 and 50 preschoolers aged between 3 and 6 however our eldest student was 9, her mother abandoned her so she has only just started going to school.
The children didn’t have much in terms of pencils and books and the teacher didn’t have any spare pencils to give out. One weekend when we went to Romblon Island we brought back lots of stationary and books to give out.
Mam Tess my host 'mum', would cook breakfast for some of the students each morning that had to walk the hour journey over the mountain to get to school each day. My host family are such caring, generous people, I will definitely be returning to the Philippines to visit them.
Things are great on the island, everyone knows you and wants to say hello, wherever we would walk there would be a flock of children following us. A few of the little girls I taught lived near me so they would wait for me after school to hold my hand and walk home together, that was my favourite part of the day.
They may live in ‘poor’ houses and have little money but they are living richer lives than most people I know.