During every school vacation at Booth, international students plan “treks” to show their classmates their native countries. This past March, Boothies trekked all over the world for Spring Break, from Colombia to Israel to Japan, all trips designed and led by other students. As for me, I ventured with 40 others Boothies and partners on a 9-day excursion to the Philippines.
Our fearless leaders, Calvin Lim, from the Philippines himself, and Olivia Korostolina, planned an unforgettable trip that brought us through Manila, El Nido, and Boracay. With chiefly free days, some of the group decided to take a scuba diving class, while others preferred to relax on the beach with no specific agenda. We experienced new foods, culture, history, and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
After almost 20 hours in flight, my good friend Erik Riley and myself landed in Manila, ready for our first adventure.
During a day of touring Manila, the capital which most tourists often skip, we learned about one of the most impressive figures in Philippine and world history: José Rizal. Among his many talents and accolades, Rizal could speak over 20 languages, was a medical doctor, and wrote several novels.
In El Nido, and on one of the most memorable days of the trip, most of us took a catamaran for the day to four separate islands, swam side-by-side jellyfish, had a delectable seafood lunch on one of the empty islands, and visited coves that were so beautiful they seemed fake.
Boracay was the last major stop on our trip. More pristine beaches and dinners in the “downtown” area made for a great ending to an already fantastic trip. There were several organized outdoor group dinners steps from the ocean that brought a variety of local foods to our palettes, and a final one took place the night before our last flight back to Manila. It was during these dinners that we could truly unwind, enjoy the cuisine, and share bits and pieces of each of our backgrounds to get to know our classmates a little better, all under a sky full of stars.
With its over 7,600 islands, the Philippines boasts soft sand, breathtaking views, and a rich history. The trip provided an opportune moment for a getaway from classes to 90 F degree weather and tropical drinks. Needless to say, this cultural experience is one I will certainly never forget.