In May 2019 I flew to the Philippines. I haven’t said much about it here as it was pretty far from a classic backpacking trip (not the best argument).
The reason why I didn’t post too much was actually more simple – I was too busy supporting German Red Cross with communication and media. Together with Philippine Red Cross they are running several projects all over the country; so I dived in for seven months and shared my time between the work at the headquarters in Manila and missions to other provinces and islands. I had to run around with the camera and mics, sometimes simple pen and paper did the work. I got a chance to interview beneficiaries who had survived typhoons and earthquakes; I asked questions from the people in politics; filmed local farmers working in the jungle or strengthening their bamboo houses… and everything else I was asked to or saw a need to cover.
I didn’t get any salary for this. It was a volunteer’s position but the living and travelling costs were obviously paid by the organization. However, it wasn’t an easy job. I saw a country from a side simple tourists most probably would never see. I talked to the senator as well as with the children in the slum. I got hit by jellyfish stings and burned my skin. I made a diving licence and swam with the world’s most venomous snake. I slept in a hammock and lost my wisdom tooth (not connected). I said „hi“ to a Nemo fish and dived through million sardines. I gazed the moon rising from the ocean, and paddled through the glowing plankton.
My eyes were wet while writing the stories about the locals who had to survive two years in the tents, but I was smiling while editing a video where they could finally move to their new houses.
It’s hard to sum it all up but thanks to Winnie the Pooh, I’ll use his and his friends’ words. „You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes” and also, “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”
Piece by piece I’ll publish some of the materials made in the Philippines here. We cannot help everyone but we can help someone.