My Destination is Cebu City

(see more entries for this location)

If you're inspired by Cebu City, you might also like to check out Taipei, Vietnam and Lombok and Gilis.

The night of the End of the World

It was 11pm and New Year was fast approaching. I had long since finished my appetizing freshly cooked prawns from the market (of which I can claim no involvement with as I absolutely cannot cook) and was itching to celebrate the end of 2012 (or the world if you want to listen to some folk) and bring in 2013.

Now there were certain restraints to my cunning plan...

1. I had just moved to the Philippines for my current presenting job and knew no one except my recently befriended African pal, Edna.
2. No one had invited us anywhere.
3. We were living on an isolated island in Cebu where we were the only westerners, so couldn't just join in the festivities at a local pub. We would have stood out more than a psychedelic poster from the 70's. Yes that much.

At 11:30 I said enough is enough

"Enough is enough" said Henrietta to Edna and so they ventured out onto the unfamiliar streets of Lapu-Lapu ready for an adventure.


We soon found ourselves dodging fireworks; apparently it's perfectly reasonable to light them off on the street and throw them at passersby. #standard
A few hundred yards down the road, we came across a mob of locals queuing outside an extravagant Philippine house. We figured we'd join the queue and check out the situation. I mean, it's not like we had a party to go to...

I quickly found myself part of one of the most random yet intimately beautiful community activities I've ever witnessed in my entire 24 years of existence.

A wealthy Philippine family was handing out pre prepared gifts and money to each and every person that came through; we're talking thousands here.

There were 2 things that both shocked and move me (to the point of tears) about this. Firstly, this family was genuinely handing out money from their own pockets. When asked about the cause, the matriarch replied "We have lots of money and they have little. It's New Year, everyone deserves a celebration."

Secondly, the townsfolk coming through were incredibly polite and well behaved. Don't get me wrong, I love where I'm from but I think if we were handing out substantial sums of money and presents to the homeless, there would be utter chaos; not smiles, a self controlled queue and a friendly vibe. Not even joking, this lady was literally sitting there with a wad of cash. Upon finishing one pile she simply moved on to the next, a collection of money that some local families could live off for an entire year. What was overwhelming was that they had next to no security; an inspiring/ true reflection of Philippine demeanor.

So that's how I ended up spending my New Year; volunteering.
Although unusual for the occasion, it was certainly the most meaningful end of year celebration of my life so far; irrevocably unforgettable.
And the best part?
We were invited to join in their private family feast afterwards.
Me and Edna with the parcels we helped handed out. Our traditional feast
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Henrietta Moore

Henrietta Moore

Currently located in:
Cebu City, Philippines.
Twitter: @henriettalily
About me in 140 characters or less

"Gregarious, cheeky & a touch silly, I'm a laid back gal with a thirst for adventure comparable to Bradley Cooper in 'Limitless' #yeslife"

A bit more about Henrietta:

"I draw the line at eating... Nothing, I'll try anything once"

"My most essential travel phrase is... Cut the price in half...Last price!"

"My most memorable souvenir is... A wind charm from an old lady living on Koh Samui, Thailand. She could not speak clear English but was able to convey her excitement for me and a lifetime of 'beautiful dreams'. "

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