My First Volunteer Experience in Boracay

Disclaimer: This is not a travel itinerary post. Obviously, it’s thought catalog-ish.

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Days or even months before my annual vacation leave this April, I thought of traveling like what I have started for the past two vacation leaves I had. With my Facebook feed saturated with many travel photos as travel inspirations, none of them inspired me. I knew I wanted to do something different.

One fateful night, I thought about volunteering and remembered my Boracay Pubcrawl experience last December. I don’t know which thought occurred first but I sort of fused both and without any hesitation, I looked up for their email address, typed a message saying I want to volunteer for 10 days and if I could possibly stay in their staff house in exchange.

Lesson 1 (‘cause learning started in the planning): Travel within your means. If you think it’ll cost too much, plan ahead and some simple research can be a lifesaver.

I decided I’ll create a separate post for this one so here goes the link: My P4,000 10-day Boracay Survival Challenge.

Basically, the goal is to fit my 15-day salary for my Boracay vacation. No debts. No credit card.

Lesson 2: Some opportunities are created, not all fall from heaven.

Somewhere along the way, when I didn’t receive any reply for a week or more, I was disheartened. Maybe my pitch was too boring? Are they getting a lot of volunteer applications? I was already thinking of Plan B but then I decided I’ll give it one last push. I made a creative resume, simple and short and clicked the send button with one eye closed.

Lilac Pubcrawl CV blur

Yay! This time, I received a reply and I was contacted for an interview. My heart was pounding because sometimes I think my crazy guts get the better of me and I don’t know how to handle what will happen next.

Lesson 3: It’s always good to be prepared for an interview and to expect the unexpected.

The last interview I had was in 2012 (or 2013) when I was interviewed for the hospital I’m working in now. I thought I’m just applying for a volunteer position anyway, I think I can answer simple questions.

It all started with the most common but the most difficult question, at least for me, of all time: Tell me about yourself. I realized I still don’t know how to answer that.

And then these questions: What would you do if during the crawl, a guy kisses you? What would you do if a guy who likes you and you also like asks for your number and wants to hang out with you? What alcoholic drinks do you usually drink and what is your alcohol tolerance?

You don’t want to know my answers. I spent the rest of the day replaying the interview in my head, torturing myself over and over again. I realized, of course, I’m applying for a moving party, those questions are just the right things to ask.

Eventually, I received a message saying I’m good to go. One of the best messages I’ve ever received.

Lesson 4: Immerse yourself in a different world if you want a new perspective.

Were you ever in that situation where you’re looking for an alternative route from the usual career trajectory that has somehow been set before you ever since? Like for a nurse like me, this is the career trajectory: get experience, take IELTs and other exams, go abroad, earn money, SUCCESS!

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People chillin’ as the night falls. Night life in an island.

On the island, I got to talk with different people and it offered me different perspectives in life. I’m a person who likes listening to stories and hearing from them face to face makes me understand more about their own struggles and their own views.

For me, #soulsearching is real, not just something you put as caption in your Instagram post. It depends on how you incorporate your travel experiences and learnings into your growth as a person.

Lesson 5: I found distinct respect for a lot of things.

Not that I have no respect for these before, but I found a new sense of respect for them.

Respect for sun-kissed skin, it just shows how much they are one with the sea, sun, and sand.

Respect for people behind startups, they take on different roles and work their ass off for the vision of their company.

Respect for Boracay local vendors, especially those who can shift from Chinese to Korean in an instant, they never cease to amaze me.

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Respect for ate, she makes her job handing out tissues worthwhile by complimenting guests.

Respect for people’s sense of fashion, I mean, if for some you look like a whore just because you’re in skimpy shorts, duh? It’s a beach! I found some walking the sand in high heels, those who wear what I would wear for prom night, and some who just bare it all, flaunting all those curves. Respect.

Respect for parents letting their kids explore their surroundings rather than scolding them here and there, don’t touch that, don’t go there, enough playing with the sand. I used to think it’s lax parenting but I think it can be an advantage for kids when they grow.

Respect for those who settled with the island life from their previously high-paying jobs. I met two exceptional girls who taught me what the island life taught them: live simple and happy.

Respect for those who are self-supporting, no parents to turn to for help. I met one who matured early in life but still knows how to have fun.

Respect for promoters, for bartenders, for waiters and waitresses. Observing their daily grind, at times they have chill moments but when they get busy, they can still handle the pressure well.

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Last club/bar but still in full-on party mode!

Respect for those in the club/bar/party industry, I experienced it myself how you should constantly have that hyped up vibe even though the truth is you’re physically tired. If you think partying every night, being up all night is all fun, yeah, it surely is, but it’s also tiring.

Lesson 6: If there’s a will, there’s a way. Common thought, yes, but the “will” I’m talking about is a challenge in itself.

I’m decided on trying and “living” somewhere so despite my minimum budget, I went ahead with it after some careful planning.

During one of the crawls, there was a guy who perhaps had an accident in Boracay and he was in crutches. But, I don’t know, maybe he wants to have fun, so despite the crawl being all about dancing, standing, and walking (lots of), he still went on with it.

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Lesson 7: You’ll never know what you can do unless you try.

I admit there are a lot of things I’m afraid of, simple things for average people but a complete achievement if done by introverts like me.

Before I went there, I found this bucket list I had made before and somehow, I checked some the last time I went there.

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I had budget limitations so I skipped the costly ones (mermaid academy, tattoo).

And it just shows that I learn from my mistakes (or from what I haven’t done). I had an opportunity to try fire dancing (with the fire and all) because the dancers’ spot was right in front of the booth. They were resting for a length of time right there in front of me and all I have to do is approach them.

I chickened out.

But it’s okay. Deciding to go on this trip and pushing myself into this experience, I gained a lot:

Free wine tasting on my very first day.

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Meet new people and learn from them.

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Dance ’til you drop. Okay, maybe not literally. But on my very last night (morning already actually), I felt like the stage at Club Galaxy was mine. I salsa-ed with someone, dance duel with someone, and eventually being one of the last two on the dance floor as if there was some sort of last man standing competition.

Oh, and did I mention I had this fantasy of dancing in a big club with all the neon lights and DJs doing their thing and the crowd all wild? Yeah, it came true.

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I learned things about marketing and leadership when I attended one session of their sort of meeting (was a pretty cool meeting) more than attending a 3-day intensive leadership seminar.

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Reply to crawlers in Pubcrawl’s official account. I just thought it was awesome. But I don’t think it was a good idea to reply to my own post so I just skipped it. B)pubcrawl

Feel beautiful.

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And many more…

As an end to this post, I’ll rain it with yellow. It’s basically photos of me having fun so if you don’t want to see those, skip it.

Warning! There’s a lot.

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One of my duties is to carry the donkeys. =)
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When the crowd goes wild for Coldplay + Chainsmokers. #SomethingJustLikeThis

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Bottoms up!

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Already crazy at the first bar.

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No other words, only these:

Whatever you’re thinking of doing now, do it!

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