SILAW Ilocos’ Brightest Skyline at Night

Did you ever look up the sky at 3 in the morning just to see a shooting star and silently wish something in your head?

People nowadays believed that sky lantern is something that it can grant any of your wishes. People will immensely release sky lanterns to take a moment of silence just to make a wish and hoping that their dreams will come true.

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Photo from Rey Christian Reyno (@pharmagrapher) during the first Silaw Event.

Last summer, the Ilocos Heritage Tours and Travel came on the stage with their hit breakthrough. They brought something exceptional to the public in the prominent site of the Pangil Beach Resort, where they liberated hundreds of sky lanterns, truly sending “Silaw” — or “light” — to beautify the evening skies. The event was indeed a perfect time for families and friends to bask in the picturesque sight of over a hundred lights, with trendy music playing to their ears.

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Photo from @marionohmaron during the first Silaw Event.

The event was surprisingly experienced by hundreds of cheerful and keen guests. Most of the guests had confidently took advantage of the great special promo that is inclusive of; Complete Ilocos Tour; 3D2N Hotel Accommodation with breakfast; Roundtrip Transfers from MNL-LAO-MNL; 1 Buffet Dinner; Acoustic Band; Sparkling Balloons; and the Sky Lantern. Some were locals who took advantage of the ticket and therefore admitted in the event. It was indeed a one-of-a-kind experience for the guests who came and this is surely rather that they will always look back and realize that Ilocos Norte had filled something extraordinary in their hearts.

Here are some of the touching comments from our guests who participated in the said event:

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Photo from @chinchinwonderland during the first Silaw Event.

“It was fun!!! Maybe because first time ko din.  All in all it was really nice even the food! I would suggest to have more lantern and more of this event!! Loved the whole tour!!! Thank you!!!”- From Ms. Chinichi Ravasco (@chincinwonderland)

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Photo from @randomly.arise during the first Silaw Event.

“It was my first time to experience the Silaw Festival and the releasing of lanterns. They are so beautiful to watch. The program and the food were nice. I’ve enjoyed the program, it’s really entertaining. The venue was perfect and releasing the balloons and lanterns in that location was definitely PERFECT!!!”- From Mr. Ralph Calvin Corpuz (@randomly.arise)

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Photo from Ms. Monica Satimbre during the first Silaw Event.

“It was really great and memorable experience during the Silaw event. Feels like were in the movie like Tangled. Hehe 🙂 Thank you Ilocos Heritage Tours and Travel for the warm welcome and for the accommodation!” – from Ms. Monica Satimbre

Hearing these kind words from the guests makes our heart melts and gives us reasons to continue in expanding this kind of extraordinary event.

In this juncture, we are indeed excited to introduce to the public of our upcoming “SILAW 2.0 Ilocos’ Brightest Skyline at Night”. This is the second wave of the grandest annual event of Ilocos Heritage Tours and Travel, thru which our main goal is, simply, to make the Ilocos skyline shine its brightest.

What is exactly to expect in the Silaw Event? Be excited with the Complete Ilocos Tour (Laoag-Pagudpud-Vigan), Roundtrip Transfers (from MNL-LAO-MNL), 3D2N Hotel Accommodation (with breakfast), Sky Lantern with Ilocano Buffet Dinner, Musical Dancing Fountain, Fire Dancing, and Balloons with spark. Having an imagination right now? You can check out our first Silaw event video that was filmed last summer! (https://www.facebook.com/ilocosheritage/videos)

 

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Ads from Ilocos Heritage Tours and Travel

Feeling thrilled about the event? Then don’t dare miss out the exceptional, exciting and remarkable enjoyment that the Silaw event will offer. This event will surely be a treat for both of your eyes and heart that will capture every memories in the event. So we hope that you could join us and the crushing thousands who have already reserved their tickets. We promise that this time around, it will be BRIGHTER and BOLDER.

We can’t wait to see you at La Virgen Milagrosa, Badoc, Ilocos Norte on October 29, 2016 and share memories together!

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Photo from Rey Christian Reyno (@pharmagrapher)

 

Happy Kiddo in Liseberg, Gothenburg!

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Liseberg… Such a lovely name. Is it a place? Is it a person? Is it a restaurant? Certain questions running in my head upon hearing that word!  But when they told us about it, I certainly got the answer immediately! And of course, my pronunciation was improved. Instead of “Li-se-berg”, it’s pronounced as “Li-se-be-ri” (Because sometimes Swedish words are quiet complicated).

It’s a place. Not just a boring kind of a place but a place full of thrilling rides, breathless freefall at top speed and other fun stuffs to do. In short, an amusement park. I got to know Liseberg by curiousity and excitement. I browsed on to google to know something about the place before going there. I sounded excited, right? Well, I really was! Liseberg is one of the biggest amusement park in Europe, and I was amazed upon reading that! ”Oh my gosh, I’m going to be in the famous amusement park in Europe!” I exclaimed in my head. To be honest, I got attracted to Liseberg. For sure, not only me but for people of all ages! As a tourism enthusiast, I can say that Liseberg is a must in your itinerary when you travel to Gothenburg, especially if you’re an adrenaline seeker.

Last May 7, 2016, in the middle of Spring we travelled to the beautiful city of Gothenburg for 2 hours. Maria, Maja, and a happy kid like me were so excited about it. The sun was up and the weather was warm, perfect timing for Liseberg adventure!

First things first, you have to pay for the entrance fee so you can be able to enter the place and of course, buying the bracelet! It’s a Liseberg’s bracelet that can access you to any ride you want to go and it’s much cheaper to buy the bracelet thingy rather than buying tickets for every rides. We chose to buy the bracelet so we can be able to access hassle-free to those rides we wanted. Not to forget to mention, after we bought the bracelet, we got to meet our friends from Tanzania, Costa Rica and their supervisors and hanged-out together as a big group!

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This was it! I got excited to take my first ride but at first, I went to the restroom for me to let go of what’s holding me from the trip. You know what I meant! In that day, I’ve been to like 8 kinds of ride and definitely made me feel worth it. In this blog, I will share the top 3 most exciting rides I’ve ever been. So the first ride that marked in my head is the ”Kanonen Ride”. Sounds thrilling! Yes, it’s the first ride I started to take for that day. It’s a roller coaster ride that goes off with a super bang and will give you an adrenaline rush. I got pretty nervous when I hopped on the train and when I felt that 7 seconds of heartbeat in the station before taking off! Then the train was fired out of the station like a cannonball, reaching its top speed in just two seconds. I was like screaming so hard by the strong impact of it until I got adrenaline rush all over my body! After climbing at an angle of 90 degrees, I found myself on top of a hump and went upside down quickly with it’s two loops which made me more scared and nervous because I felt like I might fall down on the ground or something so I decided to just close my eyes and screamed more until it was over! I breathed out of relief for staying alive after the ride and found myself breathing so hard with my messy hair. But it was so fantastic! I didn’t regret going with my friend in that ride considering the fact that I’m a bit scared of roller coasters.

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The second ride that I liked is the ”Kållerado” ride. It is a kind of a water ride where you can take an exciting trip to the waving water and got shoot by the boiling rapids of the river. You will get wet and have fun by riding on this kind of boat. This was definitely the most annoying yet relishing ride I’ve ever been. The boat keeps moving a bit fast which made me felt dizzy and made the waving water came inside the boat. You’ll definitely get wet in that case! My clothes and shoes got really wet from those shooting water from the river and it annoys me so much but laughed so hard of enjoyment! Annoying water but honestly, I enjoyed so much from getting into that dizzy boat and free shower from the river.I couldn’t hide the enjoyment I felt when I got off from the boat! We we’re all laughing each other for getting wet from the ride, because if you didn’t get wet, you’ll never enjoy the fun in the ride! The good thing is it was sunny and warm on that day when we were in Liseberg so our clothes got dry off easily. Definitely, it’s a ride to take again!

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The best ride and my favorite ride of all time was the ”FlumeRide”. ”Yehey! It’s another water ride!”, I exclaimed to myself. The ride got a long queue so it took us some minutes to go inside. It’s a water ride where you ride on a boat in logs that can reach into high speed. We were so happy and excited when the boat started to move going up. We were screaming with enjoyment and when we went over the top, we stumbled down, down, down to the land with a SPLASH of the twirling waters below and with the loud shutter of the camera captured our great smiles from the ride! I didn’t get really annoyed on this ride from getting wet instead I enjoyed getting my clothes wet from that beautiful splash of the water! It’s truly the most adorable and exciting ride I’ve ever been and I felt like I didn’t want this experience to be over. I was like, ”Ohh I wanna ride more!”. This is indeed my favorite one, you can see it from my sparkling eyes and smile when I got off from the boat! This will always be the first ride I will check for the next time I’ll visit amusement park!

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Leaving Liseberg was so hard after those fun moments with my friends. I screamed so hard in the ride, got dizzy, and got adrenaline rush but despite of those exhausting feeling, it’s the excitement, enjoyment, fun times and happy moments that linger and made my day worth it. Indeed, Liseberg is a happy place!

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So many scream I offered in that lovely place and so many memories to keep in my heart. I will keep those funny moments in photograph and will forever treasure in my heart.

I will definitely look back to this kind of experience I have in my journey in Sweden. I am grateful enough staying in Sköde (our second congregation) and for having those awesome people who never fail to help us in filling our journey a one of a kind. I’ve seen how they’re making their best to keep things go smoothly as planned in the program and I appreciated evey single effort they do just to make our stay wonderful. And it’s all because of our Almighty Father up there who’s making these things possible and I thank Him bigtime!

Sharing Life and Faith in Strangnas, Sweden

In a cold winter time, I got a bunch of questions from my friends asking me, “What are you doing in Sweden?”, “Are you staying there for good?”, “Are you going to work there?”, “Wow! You’re in a vacation!”, etc… 

Basically, I was one of the participants for the Youth Exchange Program or the Young in the World Wide Church. This is a program that was established by the Church of Sweden. 

Herewith, you will eyewitness my experience and perhaps, could definitely find the answer. 

(P.S. This is somewhat a throwback blog wherein I wrote this 3 months ago when I was still in Sweden. It’s just now that I got the time to update.)

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One of the main highlights of the Youth Exchange Program is to live in a congregation where young people will have the chance to share their life, culture and faith in God. The way it makes me feel anxious about it, could even mixed up into a more excitement. As a youth of our humble church and being one of the participants for this program, this is truly a one of a kind experience for me. In here, I got the chance to travel to the other side of the world where no one knows about me and could meet people from different kind of races. This is just truly a great idea in giving opportunity for us young people to discover and explore a new place with our own perspective.

My partner and I were assigned to live for 5 weeks in the Diocese of Strängnäs (Strängnäs Domkyrkan). We were being handled by our two supervisors, Fr. Pierre Schelander and Deacon Minna Johansson. They were the ones who made the schedule of activities that we had followed day by day. We are really grateful to have them in helping us to live and grow as individuals here in the congregation. From the bottom of my heart, I felt so glad to have them as my supervisors who stood as our parents here in the congregation. They were very kind and very patient to us. They always try their best to make us feel comfortable and happy. Furthermore, they gave us two lovely families where we lived for 5 weeks in the congregation. In the first 3 weeks, we stayed at the house of a lovely married couple, Mr. Jörg Von Bethmor and Mrs. Cia Von Bethmor and in the last 2 weeks of our stay, we were sheltered under the happy family of Mr. Hannu Lounela and Mrs. Birgitta Lounela with their 3 nice children. I was a bit anxious and shy at the beginning of our stay with those families. At the back of my mind, I was a bit curious of how life would be going with them. I felt excited about such thought and looked forward to what they had prepared for us because I had seen how happy and pleased they were when they welcomed us in their humble homes.

Our stay in the first congregation went smoothly with a well-organized schedule of activities that we followed day by day. It’s indeed fascinating to know that our supervisors had prepared various activities for us to work on everyday. We truly had no idea on how our stay in the congregation would be, so I got thrilled about it. There were some activities that created interesting ideas that made me appreciate things in one way or another. Every single day, there was always something new to look forward to. And no matter how tiresome it was in accomplishing such works that I have in a day, at the end of the day, I felt that it will always be worth it. Definitely because there’s always something that I learn from people that I meet everyday. As a matter of fact, every time I pray before I sleep at night and upon waking up in the morning, I always feel motivated to be more productive and determined. It is all because God has given me the strength and wisdom to accomplish those works I have every day and this makes me feel better at the end of the day.

All the activities that we had for 5 weeks here in Strängnäs were absolutely interesting. I had a lot of fun meeting those activities, gained some lessons and at the same time did my part of contributing something that made them more meaningful. Throughout my stay in the congregation, everything that happened was truly a memorable one. What highlighted the most of my stay in the congregation were the following: Firstly, our visits in the Thomas Gården and Maria’s Gården where the elderly people live. It’s interesting to visit a place like those because in the Philippines, we don’t have this kind of homes for elderly people. Instead, they live with their own families. Meeting those elderly people in the elderly homes in Strängnäs was truly amazing because I got the chance to hear and talk with them, hopeful that somehow I made them happy as well. I couldn’t avoid feeling sad everytimeI I see elderly people living alone, just like those elderly people who live in the home for the elderlies without their families. But then, I am positive that they are often visited by their families and so sure that God is guiding and giving them strength to stay strong and healthy. Secondly, was when we visited a monastery in Stallarholmen where two old nuns are still living there. It’s indeed interesting to visit the monastery because I’ve never been to this kind of place before and that thrilled me so much. It was just interesting to know that they have been living there since 1960 and spent almost their entire life there. They have the deepest care and love for the monastery and I’ve seen how devoted and committed they are to the Lord Almighty. It was definitely a memorable one for me because I got the chance to meet and talk to them. At the end of that day, I talked to God through a prayer and gave thanks to Him for always giving me the opportunity to explore new things and meet people on the other side of the world. Thirdly, was when we had the nerve-wrecking presentation about our humble church and our country -the Philippines. We had been preparing it for almost a week and did our best to make it fascinating to the eyes of the Swedish people. In addition to our presentation, we cooked one of our specialties –Lumpiang Shanghai to be served during the presentation which they found it pleasing to taste. We discussed our presentation wearing our national costume and felt anxious when I was about to take the floor thus, I took a deep breath and silently prayed to the Lord. As I was talking in front of the audience, I felt how my anxiousness was fading when I saw them attentively listening to what I was discussing. It’s always encouraging when you see that your audience are really interested in what you are discussing by just listening to what you are saying. That made me indeed motivated and confident in talking and sharing more about the topic that we had. What’s more amazing was that they didn’t leave until it was over. I couldn’t hide my smile and joy when they congratulated us and told us that we did a great job. The shanghai that we made tasted really good and our presentation was great! I was so happy hearing those words from them and that’s because of the guidance of the Lord and I thanked Him again by silently praying. Fourth, meeting the two foster families where we lived and the people who were with us during our entire stay in the congregation. This program gave me the opportunity to meet people from different kind of races- to get to know their life, to share our life and culture, but despite of our differences, it’s our strong faith in God that keeps us similar to one another. The family of Mr. Jörg and Mrs. CiaVon Bothmer was truly a happy one. Their children didn’t live with them anymore because they already have their own families but I’ve seen how strong and solid their relationship to one another is. They always keep in touch with one another and make time to see one another even just for once a month or more. Our stay there was truly a fantastic and a memorable one. We were treated like their own children that made me feel the care and love of real parents. They always make sure that we’re doing well and comfortable in the house. My favorite part of our stay in the family was when they took us out to the Sausage Festival in Stallarholmen, the dinner in Scottvang Gufvenand the Ice Hockey competition in Scaniarinken. Those were the times where I felt the need of having a “family day” during weekends. I really had fun during our stay there because they really have a big-heart and that I will always remember them and forever treasure those memories with them. The family of Mr. Hannu and Mrs.Brigitta Lounella and their children was also a very happy family. I’ve seen how organized and well raised their children were. The fact that they have children made me indeed grateful that they accepted us to live with them and treated us like a part of their family. My unforgettable moments with them took place during the easter day and when we watched football game together. It was during those times that I saw my family in them which gradually wiped-out my homesickness. I always love it every time we were having a good time with their children because they are easy to get along with and fun to be with. I appreciate how they made us feel happy to have us in their home. Those memories that we had will surely be in my heart and I look forward to keep in touch with them.

The people whom I met throughout my stay in the congregation were indeed instrumental in creating a better me. They were all nice and I always feel absolutely complete every time I hear them say they were glad and pleased to have us. Our supervisors, Fr. Pierre and Deacon Minna indeed gave all their best to make our stay a great one. Because of the one of a kind experience that they prepared for us, my confidence in speaking out for myself was strengthened. I feel truly blessed to have lots of wonderful people around me here.

Those memories and friendship that we had built will surely be missed and will forever be treasured in my heart. I will never forget Linnéa and Pim, who had been also with us during our stay in the congregation with whom we built friendship even just for a short period of time. They had been really nice to us and took good care of us during those times we were with them. I am truly happy that I found friends like them here in Sweden.

Lastly, my heart will forever keep with fondness  the evening dinner we had with some of the good Swedish people that we had met. I couldn’t contain my feelings for that night. Mixed emotions, – grateful and lonely. Grateful in a way that I’ve been blessed for the opportunity to have met great people (foster families, supervisors, church people and new friends) here in Strängnäs whom I had shared great things, learned a lot with and helped me  grow and believed in myself in any way I can. I was just so glad for the dinner gathering that Ms. Kristina had planned for us where in fact, we just had met her for the first time before the dinner happened. It’s quiet amazing how she thought of that idea and so nice to hear it from her that she really loves the Philippines and the Filipinos that’s why she came up with this great idea just for us because she was so pleased to have met us. Lonely, due to the fact that we’re leaving Strängnäs soon and the people we’ve been for 5 weeks who had been our first family here in Sweden. Talking in front of them when you’re very emotional is not that easy to handle yet I still managed to talk and gave them a thank you speech that came from the bottom of my heart.

Truly, it’s not that easy to travel to a place that is far away from home for this very young age because we never know what lies ahead of us in this unfamiliar place. Somehow, I managed to stay positive about it that it will going to be better and know that God is with me in this journey. I will truly miss them and will forever treasure them in my heart. It was so nice to have them during our stay here in our first congregation and I really learned a lot from them. I am also happy that I got the opportunity to share something to them as well about my life, our church, our country and my faith in God.

In travelling, what makes it more exciting is to learn and experience is their culture. In my 5 weeks of stay in Strängnäs, I could tell that I was able to adjust and learn some of their culture. From their food to their way of life, it was truly fascinating to get to know more of them. I got used of their meals everyday even though sometimes, I’ve been longing to rice but then I have to be flexible about it. Everyday, we always make sure to be on time in meeting those activities in our schedule. I am confident enough to say that I’ve adjusted to Swedish time already and I am happy about that because back home, I’m sometimes late. The Swedish time or being on time basically, how important it is for them was truly amazing because it helped me to be more attentive and organized in meeting scheduled times. The way Swedish people call the elder ones by just their name took me a long time to think about it if I should call the elders by just their names or not. And we were asked initiatively to just call their names and I wasn’t really comfortable about it because it sounds rude if I call them by their names. But since then, I got used to in a way that I always make sure to show respect to them through a gesture like bowing to them. What challenged me the most was their language. I always heard them talking in Swedish daily. Hearing them talking to one another using Swedish always made me curious about what they were talking about. I wanted to learn Swedish language but it’s not that easy to learn every single word with their respective accents. I always got interested in learning different languages that’s why every time they talk, I always tried to cope up some words that somehow helped me understand the meaning of it, or by trying to ask them simple words that I could learn. It’s amazing that this world has a lot of different languages but has this universal language which is English that makes people from different races can communicate to one another. This challenge that I always faced throughout my stay in Strängnäs made me overcome it by just remaining positive that they were not talking about me when they were talking in Swedish and by trying to learn some words. Every part of the world when we’re travelling, we can’t avoid people who are racist. We had experienced this and we were shocked and disappointed. We were in a grocery store that moment with the Lounella family. We were looking for a product in the personal hygiene area and there was this man who came to us all of a sudden and attempted to accuse us that we were going to steal the product that we picked. We felt quite nervous but tried to remain calm during that situation. We explained to him that we didn’t have the intention to steal the product, that we were going to buy it and that we were with someone in the family. He kept on speaking that made us really nervous that time but after that, he walked out and disappeared. We told it to Brigitta right away and she got really angry on the way the man reacted to us. She tried to talk to the staff about what happened and apologized to us. I felt so down and really disappointed that time as if I wanted to go home. I never expected that to happen to us and it was my first time to experience that kind of situation. I had been paranoid and afraid that people would be like that again the next time we go out. The family and our supervisors comforted us and told us that maybe the man judged us by our color and mistakenly identified us as refugees because there are some Swedish people who are against the refugees living their country. I prayed to God for His guidance and of making us remain strong and positive about our journey. I’m still grateful that there are those people in the congregation who gave us so much care and treated us well as if we’re part of the society. I just considered this as an experience and hoping that this will never happen again for the rest of our stay here in Sweden. With God at my side and keeping my faith in Him, I know that I could hurdle all the challenges that will go along the way.

Through all these great things that happened in our first congregation- the opportunity to meet other people from different races whom I learned and shared a lot and the one in a lifetime experience that made me blossom into a matured Christian, I thank the Lord Almighty and to Him I bring back all the glory.

As I continue the journey of sharing my life, my culture and faith in Sweden, I will draw my unfaltering strength from God and forever be guided with His nourishing words that are embedded in Philippians 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ.”

 

An Exciting Adventure of Culture and Faith

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Life is all about going out from your comfort zone. It’s all about going to places that you’ve never been before…meeting people from different races… discovering and trying something new and exploring the unfamiliar things that a certain place has to offer. As a traveller, you’ll always have that urge to feel excited about going to that place you’ve never been before.

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Touchdown, Sweden!

The moment I stepped foot on the ground of Arlanda Stockholm International Airport, I breathed out of relief for arriving safe and sound with my companions and it is all thru our Lord’s guidance who was with us throughout our travel. I felt this kind of mixed emotions- excitement, nervousness and separation anxiety from my family and friends back home. However, I remained calm and positive in order to cheer up myself from the feeling I felt because I know that God is with me in this journey.

It was an almost 20hour trip from the Philippines to Sweden, and that’s definitely a tiresome long trip for us. The cold weather welcomed us in Sweden and it’s quiet amazing to finally meet the snow for the first time in my entire life. This is for sure one of the reasons why I felt the excitement for this trip. What an extraordinary feeling I had indeed to experience the winter in Sweden and do a lot of exciting activities from it, because in our country, we never have a snow or winter season.

 

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Philippines, Costa Rica, South Africa, Brazil, Tanzania and Sweden are the countries who were parts of this Young in the World Wide Church (Youth Exchange Program) of the Church of Sweden. We gathered altogether at Sigtuna Fölkhogskola and stayed there for 5 days. The first night of our stay was all about knowing each other and we started immediately regardless of how exhausted we were from the long trip. Jetlag, excitement and nervousness was all I felt at that moment because I can’t tell yet if I can easily get along with them or can easily communicate with them since we all came from different races in the different parts of the world. Imagine that, we came all from the different parts of the world. Furthermore, it’s quiet challenging for me to deal with it because it’ll be a great opportunity for me to learn and explore the language and culture that they have and of course for me to share as well the language and culture that I brought with me by heart.

I checked my watch in my wrist and saw the time in Philippine time. I sighed and realized that I’m at the other part of the world away from home! It’s really hard to adjust for the very first time. I’ve been to another country but this is the longest and farthest trip I’ve ever travelled. The time and food are the major things that are really hard to get through with. The first time we had dinner at Sigtuna Fölkhogskola was quiet strange for me and still hard to take with. As time passed by, my taste bud and stomach are slowly adjusting to get use of the food here in Sweden. I always make sure that every single meal that I have will be satisfying in my stomach. Furthermore, there is this one culture of Sweden that I have learned on the very first day of our stay in Sigtuna and this is favorite thing of all time, they call it “fika”. It’s where everyone gathered together and have coffee or tea and a bread. This made everyone of us really excited about too.

The activities in our schedule are all interesting and all these activities were done well. I enjoyed and really had fun participating in the activities that we had in our 5-days of stay in Sigtuna. I have gained a lot about Sweden as a society and a church, as well as their culture and language. It’s really a great feeling to get to know a country where you’ve never been before. You will get curious about something that is around you and feel amazed about those beautiful things around you. Aside from those activities, I gained friendship to my fellow participants from the other countries. It’s amazing how we bond and get along together despite our differences. But that doesn’t make everyone of us not to build friendship and of course, memories to treasure. It’s always the similarities that we have that make everyone of us unite in one way or another. And that’s what we have built during our stay in Sigtuna.

 

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My favorite part of our 5-day activity in Sigtuna is when we had our visit in Uppsala. We visited the office for the Youth of the Church of Sweden, the main office of Church of Sweden wherein we met all the staffs in the International Department and of course, the Cathedral of Uppsala where the seat of the Archbishop is located, but unfortunately we haven’t got the chance to meet her. We had our tour in the cathedral and it was a very huge cathedral with an amazing structure and a lot of chapels inside it. My favorite encounter of our pilgrimage tour in the cathedral was when I first noticed the statue of Mary while we were having a tour in the chapel close to the statue. I was looking at it with a very curious feeling and in my mind I asked, “why isn’t she moving? Is she taking a photo that’s why she’s posing like that?” Then I can’t keep asking myself why so I asked Ellen (one of the coordinators) why she’s not moving or something and she said to me surprisingly that it was a statue. I exclaimed, •
“seriously? She looks so real!” And I just figured it out that it was really a statue and I was amazed by the one who made it because she really looks like a real human being. But, I never got the chance to stare at her so close because I got scared and I wouldn’t know if she’ll gonna move for out of the blue (Ha-Ha!). This was a great experience though! We got to spare some time in the downtown of Uppsala and there are a lot of shopping stores and cafés around it. It was really a fun time taking some shots of photos in every corner. After strolling around, we went to a restaurant where the bowling area is located. It was definitely my first time to play bowling and I didn’t have any idea how to hit all the bowling pins using the heavy bowling bowl. However, I got to play along well with my team mates. I got to hit well the bowling pins and got a good score also. It was a fun game so far because herein, we built teamwork together. We didn’t mind the scores that we had as long as we were helping and supporting each other. And that’s truly a great factor to build camaraderie with people whom you still have known for a short period of time. After all the tiresome game, we had a good dinner in O’rleay’s restaurant and the food and service were indeed satisfying, so far!

The separation anxiety with the participants is about to start! At the last day of gathering in Sigtuna Fölkhogskola, we met our supervisors for the first time. Before meeting them, we had our sharing with the participants and watched our photos in the previous activities that we had. I felt sadness, nervousness and excitement. Sad by all means that I will surely miss the group that became my first family in Sweden even for just a short period of time, however, we will meet again in the mid-evaluation, so it’s still a relief. Nervousness and excitement because I never had any idea of who will be my supervisor and foster family. But despite all of those, I felt excited for what the congregation has to offer. I felt confidently positive that this will be a very exciting experience to live with in a place that is not familiar for me and to live with a family that I never knew before. I know that as my journey here in Sweden begins, the Almighty God will always give me the strength, wisdom and guidance to learn, discover, explore and experience new things during my stay here in Sweden.

Let the adventure, begin!

 

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Posted my first ever blog and it’s all about my feelings, thoughts and experience during my first week of stay here in Sweden. I’m currently one of the exchange youth participants for the Youth Exchange Program or Young in the World Wide Church of the Church of Sweden. It’s all about sharing of faith, learning the culture, language and society while staying in another country for a couple of months. I’ve been exploring and discovering Sweden 4 weeks now and I hope to write more about my experience for this program. Stay tuned!!!

Hello world!

Hi! Welcome to my blog!

I’m a newbie kiddo in this amazing world of words and photographs- blog, so please bear with me.

Perhaps, you’re wondering why I came up with this blog? I think, being a girl who has a lot of things running in her head, this is the best way to share my thoughts, ideas, experiences and anything out of the blue.

I traveled in this world of blog not to proclaim that I am a “blogger” but to have a friend whom I can spare my time in sharing my words and love to photography.

I hope you’ll get to appreciate every single journey of this blog.