It was crazy that we had reached eight weeks and only had two left. However we were off to Ticao island so it was sure to be a good way to end! The team got a boat from Bullan?? across to the island, shipped across by our lovely boat staff to what appeared to be paradise. Little did we know it was the start of rainy season and we would be seeing a lot of the inside of the restaurant!!
Our first few days were spent in a home stay which sure was an experience! We split into threes and were given a local mother to stay with as well as their kids. The mother gave up her room and the three of us had two mats on the floor to sleep on. The mats just about fit in this box room with nothing but them and the small fan above us which we were lucky to have! It was a laugh at night as we were laying so close to each other, so it was a good job we all like one another! The food was also very basic and consisted of mostly seafood and rice as the village was a fishing area. This was polar opposite to what we’d experience next although I’m very glad we had this opportunity.
For the rest of our time on the island, we stayed in the beautiful resort where we learnt to scuba dive. Four of us took our PADI course and Emma and I joined the others for the diving as we had already done our theory. One day we went on a rainy boat trip where we travelled around the island to see a water fall into the sea and go diving. We did two dives which were incredible seeing the beautiful corals and lots of fish! Another activity we did was snorkelling with the baby whale sharks which was unforgettable! They moved so fast in the water, camouflaging with the ocean floor but as we swam past they would dart away showing us how quickly they could swim away.
Our project while in Ticao was linked with the school, the idea was that we’d build a path to the building so that kids could make the walk even in rainy typhoon season. The only problem was, rainy season was already among us! This made the project very hard and the walk to the school very interesting especially in our flip flops! We spent a few days building a path made of cement around the building so that it wasn’t muddy to walk between the classrooms. It was such a shame that we couldn’t do the job properly so we hope that another leap group will be given this task in the future when it isn’t rainy season so that we can fix the problem.
We loved the area we stayed in as there was always something going on within the locals. From dance competitions to ‘Miss Gay’ beauty pageants (which was incredibly entertaining!), playing with the local children and karaoke nights with the dive instructors and boat staff. This made the goodbye very cute as everyone from the resort and dive company stood and waved us off as our boat departed!
From Bullan we got a minibus back to Legazpi where we had a whistle stop city tour from Alvin. Seeing churches and volcanoes, shopping centres too, to get a quick feel for the city. We then were taken to where we’d be staying which was just outside of Legazpi. We were in awe as we pulled up to this huge, impressive mansion, that we couldn’t quite believe we’d be staying in for our last nights in the Philippines, our last nights as a group. The following day we explored the market and then did one of my favourite activities yet! Marvin told us we could pay the equivalent of £1 to be taken around on a tricycle to see the sights of the town. We thought it could have been nice to see the surroundings as it was an interesting area but didn’t realise how fun this could be!! The cyclists were very eccentric and played loud music from speakers as we tore through the town. Suddenly though some of them looked very tired and so I offered to swap with my guy and see if he wanted me to cycle! To my surprise he said yes and I found myself steering the tricycle. This was much harder than I had anticipated!! The cycle was okay but I must admit we could have crashed a few times! This started a trend and the other girls swapped with their drivers too and we just couldn’t stop laughing.
That afternoon we did quad-biking at the base of the volcano seeing as we couldn’t climb it as it was active at the moment. This was so much fun! It started very slow as manoeuvred around big rocks steep rock edges. After this though we sped up, biking through the rivers driving away from the volcano towards the black sanded beach. Here we got free reign to drive around as much as we wanted racing each other and doing donuts! It was a great afternoon to end our Leap experience.
That night we reminisced about the past ten weeks the six of us had spent together. We didn’t want to say goodbye but some of us had a very early flight the next morning. We have reunion plans already and will always remember these memories we’ve shared together thanks to the Leap!