First Day in Philippines – “Unfortunate Fortune”

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“Mabuhay, Ma’am!” That was the first Filipino’s word that I heard after I arrived in Manila. I just guessed that it was like a welcome word. I felt the love of the people around that made me feel so fortunate to be placed in Philippine. There was not really different from my country, Indonesia. The people, food, and geographical area were nearly the same, even the price.

However, a few minutes before my flight to Iloilo city, I lost my phone. I was sure it was lost because I had checked my bag and pocket for many times, but nothing was found. I was in panic that I could not think straight at that time. My friend from the same university, Umi also helped me looked for it. I remembered that the last time I held the phone was inside our previous plane. We tried to report it to the office of our last flight, but they said that the phone was not there and someone might have stolen it. They gave me an advice to be more careful and I tried to be calm. We were in hurry entering the plane to Iloilo because that incident really took a lot of time.

Inside the plane, I was just wondering. What will I do there without my phone? How do I tell my parent about this? How do I communicate with them? Can I survive? Such questions popped up in my mind. That really made me in tears.

Suddenly, we were already there, in Iloilo. We arrived there at 9 in the morning. We were picked up and then directly went to the dorm. Along the ride, I noticed that the city was so lovely. It might be less crowded than my city, but it was lively. The air was fresh and the weather was a little bit hot. I was amazed that I did not see a single person who smoked around the city.

At the dorm, I met new friends. I also realized that not only sea-teachers but there were sea-tvets also. The total number of exchange students in the dorm was 19 persons, consisted of 10 girls and 9 boys. We all were in the same floor, but the boy’s rooms and the girl’s were separated. There were 6 rooms in total. 3 rooms for the boys and the same number for the girls. All of us were Indonesian except two Thai girls.

We were roommates with other Indonesian girls. The room was so comfortable. It was a new room and that meant we were the first ones to occupy it. It had 3 single beds and one double-sized bed. It also had wardrobes, tables, sink, toilet, and a bathroom. While exploring the room, I was greeted by two girls. They were from Jember and Madiun. Their names were Elvin and Imsa. They had already occupied the two single beds. After considering things, I was the one who got the double-sized bed. It meant that I had to share the bed with the girl who had not come yet. We talked a bit, and then we were informed about how to buy the sim card and data.

I accompanied all of them to buy the sim card plus its data. The place was near and on the way there, I kept on thinking, “New phone or living without phone?” What made me sad was not the lost phone because there was not really any important data or if there was any, I had had it on my laptop. One thing that made me sad and felt like crying was that I really am a careless person, irresponsible person ever. I have had so many similar accident, losing something, someone, and so on. God, give me strength and patient. I also wanted to say really sorry for my parents for making them worried.

I thought I was so unlucky, but I threw away all of the bad thoughts in my mind and put my trust only to Allah. Suddenly, my heart felt calmer. “If Allah knows any good in your heart, He will give you something better than what has been taken from you, and He will forgive you, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” – Quran (8:70)

After that, we were asked to be ready at 11 a.m to have lunch. We had lunch in City Mall and it was said “All you can eat”. We did not have any clue about the food but we, muslim, had to avoid pork. We always asked people there if the food contained pork or not. We changed plate for three times because it was really new for us to be served like that. Finally, we only ate seafood and chicken. We also sang a birthday song to the birthday people there. They were so nice and friendly.

When we were back to our room, we shared each other’s snacks to be eaten together. After that the last person came at around 9.30 p.m. She was Annisa from Makassar, the one I had to share the bed with. It was nice meeting all the people here. Different countries, languages, cultures would not block us to learn. We were united by education and English. Thank you SEAMEO for making my dream came true. That was the last thing inside my mind before I closed my eyes in the hope of a better day next morning.

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