Project Breaking Down Barriers: Homestay Fun in Lake Sebu

The previous day, we paid for unlimited broadband access and we didn’t want to put it to waste.  So, we told the kids that they could use the internet because we’re done with it anyway. While eating breakfast, we met Tonton, the singer of the group.  Dondon and him transferred the computer because they didn’t want to bother us eating breakfast.  They kept on asking, “Ate, ok lang ba talaga?”  I would say, “Ok lang.  Ano ba?”  They said, “Baka makaistorbo sa pagkain n’yo.”  I think Tara got that they were being so awkwardly shy about using the internet while we were eating that she said, “I’m not a princess!”  Haha!  That’s when they finally went to it.

While Tonton was using the computer, I saw his profile picture on Facebook and said, “Ang gwapo mo ah!”  He just smiled.  After a few minutes, Tara said, “Is that you?  You really look good on those pictures!”  Ayieee!!!

We spent the day playing with the kids.  Tara and I also did yoga and meditation.  And, she taught me how to make a bracelet using a loom, the Ojibwe tribe style.  It was a refreshing experience for me because the last time I worked on something crafty was in high school.  And, it was the first time I learned how to make a bracelet!  Weeee!!!  This also got me to think about what art I would really want to develop for myself.  Hmmm…

Beads and loom

Beads and loom

Beads and loom

Sharing our work

In the afternoon, Tara and I decided to go for a walk, on our own and apart from the kids.  It was really awesome being with them.  But, we also wanted some more adult interaction and some time to explore Lake Sebu on foot.  Plus, we didn’t want to be responsible for the kids while treading the highway.  We knew that both of us aren’t that good in crossing streets – we panic.  So, it would be a poor decision to have the kids tag along.

So, after eating lunch at Greenbox, we decided to take a stroll to wherever.  We didn’t know where we were going.  But, what the heck. :)

We haven’t gone far with our walk on the highway yet, when we saw Tonton and Dondon.  Dondon asked, “Sa’n kayo pupunta?”  I said, “Hindi ko alam!”  He got confused.  Haha!  This may be the first time they met non-locals who do leisurely walks on highways without a specific destination.  They asked if we’d want them to join us so I asked Tara and she said ok.

Tonton was on the phone most of the time talking to his girlfriend, I presume. Tara was walking in front of us and was being the crazy funny girl that she is.  At one point, we saw a monkey tied on a tree and, normally, I wouldn’t scream.  But, Tara screamed like she saw a ghost and that made me scream.  Classic.

We met a guy by the lake who said that he has relatives in Manila.  At first, I was still in the conversation but I really wanted to move along because I was interested in exploring the place a bit more.  So, when he said that his family name is Manuel, I said, “Ah, ganon po ba?” with a smile.  Haha!  Tara was just staring at me and I said to her apologetically (as if I needed to explain myself), “I’m sorry, I’m not in the mood…”  Hihi.  I also told the teenage boys, “Sorry naman.  Minsan talaga masungit ako.  Minsan lang.”

Lake Sebu

We stopped by several shops and bought some pasalubong.  We went to a market where Tara bought a malong, lola style.  She saw the malong worn by Lola Lonin, Rhea’s grandmother, and fell in love with it so she bought one with a similar print.  We spent a few more minutes in the market and, while Tara was deciding on what to buy, the boys and I were goofin’ around with the camera.

Afternoon stroll

Afternoon stroll

Afternoon stroll

We walked some more and found a place to have dinner.  Tara wanted halo-halo and so we went to look for a store that sells such but couldn’t find one.  We settled for chocolates.

When we were about ready to go home, it started raining.  We would have walked it back under different circumstances because, you know, we love walking in the rain!  But, we had our gadgets with us and so we didn’t want to risk it.  There were no more jeepneys going back to our place so the boys said that we should just ride a habal-habal, an extended motorcycle.

I asked if we’re getting one each or two.  But, they said that we’re all riding on one.  Uhm.  How do I do this?  Hahaha!  So, it was the driver first, then me, then Tara, then Dondon, then Tonton.  It was one of the scariest, craziest, and most fun rides of my life.  I was screaming, “Manong, mag-ingat po kayo!”  I was super scared because it was my first time to ride a motorbike with four passengers plus the driver.  On a highway.  While it’s raining.  Tara was laughing so hard because while I was screaming and (unintentionally) hurting Manong driver, the boys were singing with lyrics describing how each one of us were reacting to the situation.  To pacify me, Tara was like, “Monica, he’s the driver, you know.  He’s also riding with us.”  Hahaha!  Fine.

When we got to School of Living Traditions, we were welcomed by more kids!  They bombarded Tara with questions.  Questions like:  “How old are you?”  “Where are you from?”  “How do we get to be as beautiful as you when we get to be 35?”  Then, while Tara and I were having a short conversation, one of the girls said almost in awe, “Wow… ang ganda din nya magsalita!  Bakit ganon?”  Hahaha!  I said, “Salamat.  Lagi ko kasi silang kasama eh.  Kaya napapraktis.”  I translated this conversation to Tara and she was just smiling so pleasantly.

Tara taught them yoga.  Being her student, I did a demo, too.  And, I allowed everyone to get the chance to use the camera and take pictures of whoever they wanted as subjects.  It was super awesome!

Tonton and Tara

Pretty sisters

Little and big pogi

Photo taken by a kid of School of Living Traditions

Photo taken by a kid of School of Living Traditions

Photo taken by a kid of School of Living Traditions

Photo taken by a kid of School of Living Traditions

Photo taken by a kid of School of Living Traditions

Photo taken by a kid of School of Living Traditions

Photo taken by a kid of School of Living Traditions

Photo taken by a kid of School of Living Traditions

When the other kids left, our host family entertained us again with their art.  Tonton sang (so awesome!) and danced for us.  Andi and Rhea played the drums.  Rhea and Tamtam also danced for us.

The singer drums

Rhea and Andi

Dondon also taught Tara how to do the Warrior Dance.

Dondon teaching Tara the Warrior Dance

Dondon teaching Tara the Warrior Dance

Dondon teaching Tara the Warrior Dance

Warrior Dancer

Then, both Tonton and Dondon gave doing the headstand a shot.  Tonton managed to do it, without sweat.  Dondon, on the other hand, was too scared of losing his balance so he was just able to do an almost-headstand.

Headstand by Tonton

Almost a headstand by Dondon

Before going to bed, Tonton, Dondon, Tara, and I talked some more.  Tonton was sharing with us some fantasy story, which had something to do with his dream of going to Canada, maybe in a balikbayan box, or through a magical broom, or maybe through a cannon.  I would translate it to Tara, the best I could, because I also wanted her to get how funny Tonton was being at that time.  While we were at it, the words that Tonton were using were getting to be more difficult to translate.  So, I told him, “Pwede bang dali-dalian mo naman yung mga words na ginagamit mo?  Ang hirap kaya mag-translate!”  Then, he used more difficult words.  Hay nako.  Haha!

Party animal

Flowers and drums sticks

At one point, Tara and I couldn’t understand each other.  That was a first!  I was trying to translate the word kanyon.  I used “cannon,”  which I was pronouncing as kah (the same way we pronounce the first syllable of kanin ) –non (the same way we pronounce no’n).  I would repeat it several times and even went as far as drawing it on air.  Then, she finally figured it out, “Ah, cannon!”  saying it the way it’s pronounced in Canada.  Ayayay!

We wanted to share with them the “cotton” story, in which she and Gladdy spent a good 10 minutes trying to figure out what Tara was trying to ask from her.  Tara asked Tonton to say “cotton”.  And, he just went on with his fantasy story telling.  Haha!  We got dissed!

When it was already about 11 in the evening, we called it a night.  That was a real good day. :-)

Liked what you read?  Share the love!  Follow See ya, Monica on social media to get updates on my recent travels, with tips and a lot of shares on what I got during my trips.  Plus, some barely edited photos to give you the most authentic feel of the place. (I do not know how to use Photoshop, and what I can only do are cropping, adjusting brightness and colors the way I remember it):


Thank you! And, in whatever space you’re in now, I hope that you get something from reading my articles.

See ya,

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