Philippines

I started my trip on the 1st January, 2012 at 9:00 in the morning from the airport “Münster Osnabrück” to Munich. 2 hours later I flew further to Dubai where I had a stopover of 6 hours before my next flight to Manila with the airline Emirates which approaches more than a hundred cities worldwide.

On the airport in Manila Bernd Hunfeld and his family waited for me. He emigrated 8 years ago and is trying to found a relif organiztion with a Protestant pastor. A couple of years ago I read about Bernd Hunfeld in the daily paper of our region (“Emsländische Tagespost”). Back then he was organizing a relif transport to Manila. I quickly contacted him through e-mail and Skype. Bernd followed the advice of creating a homepage and is now reporting his experiences in a Posterous Blog.

Bernd Hunfeld lives in Malabon/Manila and allowed me to use his computer room. The day after I arrived we bought an airbed for me. After a visit at a public swimming pool with the Hunfelds I could fall asleep happily.


On the Philippines you most of the time wake up from a cock crow or barking dogs. The neighbour of the Hunfelds who is a pastor called my attention to some cases of kidnapping in the area.

On Thursday I continued my trip with a five our delay of the airline Airphills to Zamboanga.

Here Grace Alerez and Eilleen Bernardo with both their husbands and Beth waited for me. People were worrying about my security so the mayor ordered Captain Malko Apolinario Security. I lived with Grace Alverez in the teacher village 17 kilometers away from the school Tugbungan. Grace gave me her sleeping room for the time of my stay. Even though I had my airbed to offer she preferred to sleep on the ground. Beth slept on the sofa. Windows were always closed because of the mosquitos.

The next day we had to drive one hour to visit the school. First we met principal Amad, later Sir Pete Natividad, Secretary of Education and Division Superintendent. He gave me a T-Shirt and a book about Zamboango as a present. We went to the City Mayor Celso L. Lobregat in Zamboango. After a short interview a Souvenir Banka and a book were given to me.

There was always lots of traffic on the streets and the air was always stuffy at 31 degrees Celsius.

For more than 10 Million Pesos a new school house was built.

For lunch I was invited to a big Seafood Restaurant. On Saturday we went to the Garden Orchid Hotel where Bernie Alverez and his singer performed.

After that we were guests of Vincent Paul Elago.

He was City Councillor at the Zamboanga City Council. After a short intro on the Yamaha E Piano we went on to the karaoke maschine.

Vincent Paul used to be entertainer of a Tv-show and is now City Councillor. We spend the Sunday in Grace’s house. As we took a walk outside I had to be accompanied by Winnie Alverez for my security. On Monday the 9th January School started in Tugbungan with more than 4000 pupil.

After the morning parade, some short speeches and a prayer the Zamboanga Divisions Hymn started and everyone sang along (Composer Sir Teddy Quilling). Similar to a conga line the children went into their classrooms.

Grace Alverez and Eilleen Bernardo teach the fifth grade. The contact to this school started trough Norbert Hölter and his organization “Let’s start ABC”. As I could witness they practiced all the songs from the internet Blog “We learn together”.

The Texas Song was harder to learn. A change in speed and tonality was needed. I was surprised how the children could hit the right notes.

In the class of Eilleen the children sang the song “Red River Valley” and knew for stanzas by heart. The children were very interested in the keyboard and there was a short introduction into the system of notes and how to play the first two chords was learned quickly.

New songs in the country’s native language Filipino and Chavacano were rehearsed. A number of lower classes said they were interested in the music lessons so there were also some lessons planned for them.

After 45 minutes five boys carried the keyboard to another classroom. Some more songs in Filipino and Chavacano which were new for me were sung. The way of writing and playing notes is international, so after a few short tune-ups (rhythm and keys) I could start to play. The team play worked quite well.

I made short video clips of the songs “No te Vayas”, “Philipine Army Hymn” and “Kiliit ng Mundo” and uploaded them on Vimeo. The school also had a compter room with 6 computers.

Here there was a little introduction into Picasa Mikogo and Dropbox.

I also visited the school Bolong Beach 35 kilometers away from Tugbungan.

The school is supported by Norbert Hölter for several years.

One week after my visit the school was dedicated with a big ceremony. We also visited a German in Bolong who’s house burned down shortly before.

After that we went to the beach for a while. Fresh air was good.

Our planned visit of the island Santa Cruz would have been too dangerous and had to be cancelled. Norbert Hölter gave me the advice of changing my current place. I was invited into the Hotel Mike Alavar.

He is active in politics and owns several restaurants in Zanboanga. On Saturday we inspected the city with a giant church. On Sunday I had a radio interview with Daniel Delgado Toribio.
He already told his listeners about this interview before. After that I went straight to the airport.

Here I met Joan, who introduced herself as the new housemaid of Sandy Salcedo. I travelled to Mandaloujong with her.
Conlusion: The learning through an internet Blog succeeded. The teachers use Facebook and as we all know people learn trough communication. The issue of data privacy isn’t a big one here. In conclusion I have to wonder about the happiness of life of the Filippinos even though a lot of them have about 14 children and live in poverty. I was invited as a special quest and that’s how I felt. I was invited everywhere and many presents were given to me.