By Ajay Jones
Ten students and two teachers from Christian Brothers College Fremantle gave up their school holidays to embark on an immersion trip of a lifetime to a remote Philippines island, Southern Leyte.
From the shocks of the unfortunate Filipino lifestyle on the island to hauling through mud planting mangrove crops and enduring the cultural food, the $2900 school trip counted as a holiday for the young boys.
Little did they know this school outing would change their lives forever.
“I sacrificed a few social events for the trip but it was definitely worth it,” said CBC student Riley Burke.
The group left Perth on Friday the 18th of December to make the 12 day trip that highlighted the realities of marginalised communities in the Philippines.
CBC’s mission for this trip was to provide services to the underprivileged and empower the boys’ own values to the adoring Filipino children.
Cebu, the second largest city in the Philippines was explored, along with Maasin, the capital city of Southern Leyte and Bato, a very poor community two hours from Maasin.
The trip gave the boys an opportunity to experience a variety of cultural activities and witness the natural beauty of that part of the world.
“The boys embraced the Filipino culture very well,” said CBC teacher Craig Carter.
“It was a truly humbling experience.”
The school lifestyle in the Philippines was certainly different compared to the way schools are run in Australia.
Seeing rickety old chairs, ancient computers and only a handful of books for the whole school to share was an eye-opener for the boys.
“One of the major things I learnt was you don’t need money to be happy,” said Riley Burke.
Baysia, the traditional language, was taught to the boys and traditional Filipino food was experienced over the 12 days.
Mr Carter explained one of the more interesting food selections; a ‘balot’, a not very nice tasting 18-day-old germinated egg.
Riley is already looking at undertaking another immersion trip in the future.
You can experience the CBC Fremantle Philippines’ immersion trip here.