Jessica Schab

Bali Blog Series

Manila The Philippians May 2012

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My flight to the Philippians was long but semi comfortable thanks to the glorious neck pillow I had. I should have took that flight time to write and do something productive with those 17 hours but alas. Though I did talk to the woman sitting next to me who was going home to see her family she was very sweet and saw I was a bit nervous she even offered for me to come stay at her families place if need be. As I told her I was going to meet up with some friends from Australia whom I have never met before but felt I would be safe with them, safe is one thing however there are lots of other things that I did not take into account.

That was confirmed when I got off the plane and was picked up at the airport. I must say the customs there were amazing they where so gentle and loving no fear and seriousness like in North America. For those of you who do not know this is my first time to Asia I had no idea what to expect or how it would be. I was semi culture shocked to see how the people live in the Philippians, the angry roosters on the side of the road used to fighting for example, or people cooking strange animals on the streets for you, their strange tuke tuke buses with Christ decorated all over like an action figure. There was pollution and animal poverty everywhere. The people all stared at me like they had never seen a white person before and would make random movie quotes to me. I was nervous thinking about how a culture like the west might look like to other people in other countries if you only had Hollywood as a reference would your view of westerners be accurate and true? Yikes. That first day I remember I did not do too much I just slept in my hotel room after my friends collected me from the airport. 

The next few days consisted of exploring the city but by evening it got a bit questionable when my friends wanted to attend some female midget fighting and some other bars that where like uh ya so not my thing. These people, I was with, definitely had a wild side, which I missed, when I scanned them. Well in truth, I did not scan them so much, they just seemed a bit different, then the usual new age bag I tend to hang out with. So I thought, ok lets give them some time and see how it goes. I did not like though, how the guys I was with in our group did not treat woman very well, in that they did not respect them, this was obvious by the places they chose to go and I was dragged along. And thus I began to plot my escape, but in the mean time I was trying to collect information as to why Jessica Shackleton was not so keen and coming out to Philippians to hang out with this crew. They said Jess was too up tight and rude she blocked them and I was like odd why did Jess do that. Jess told me that they where up tight and rude so they blocked her. Ok some one was not telling the truth. As time went on I started to see what was going on both were at fault both where lying cause they both had their own intentions and neither wanted to share me. I think with the people I met up with in the Philippians, Jess suspected that some of the guys liked me in a way she did not feel comfortable with. So she did not want to be around that. She rather have me all to herself I did not know why until I met up with her in person. Particularly when she knew I was potentially interested in one of the guys that would be out there and I was intrigued to explore it a bit more maybe even give it a chance. I know how I rarely give guys a chance and was trying to change that but at the same time I was really worried that maybe I found them appealing because I was on the rebound and I may not have been seeing to clear because of it. In that case, it’s not so wise, to make decisions in that state nor did I want pain to beget more pain. Well time would tell what was the truth of the matter. I approached my time in the Philippians with caution; I was in a bit of culture shock. Seeing how energy was dispersed and the relationship to it in a developing country such as this one. The city of Manila was very hectic and disheartening with the poverty of people and animals but great wealth in natural nature beauty. Good things i was only a few days in Manilla as a decision was made that we would go to Donsol to go and see the buntanding (whale sharks). We decided to take an all night train. At the train station I made some new friends with a family, the people there are so incredibly kind and the children were amused with my mac photo booth of photo warping. I am still in touch with this family to this day they keep asking me when I will return to the Philippians. The train ride was very comfy and nice super cheap for a bed. Though it was a bit cold and they played music a little to late into the night on the radios. It was all main stream music but from the 90s and remixed to last 12 minutes long. It was pretty amusing.    

Donsol Philippians

Donsol is a very rural area in the Philippians & its the whale shark capital. I swam with those surreal majestic gentle giants. The water there is the saltiest i have ever experienced which is not fun to swallow or get in the eyes. The water is also a unique color like a dark blue green purple combination not the clearest but very beautiful & other worldly feel. This town had barely any tourists so we stood out a lot, everyone smiled big and was lovely to us. There is no commercialism or touristy feel like in most places of the world. i felt like i had stumbled on a rare gem being there. But it was not all perfect my heart sank when I sat at the silent beach baffled at the remoteness of the place yet still being corrupted and owned by random coco cola flags.  This country was definitely concurred by food corruption I often starved in the Philippians as the food was very questionable.

The locals in Donsol are honest, very smart and sweet always willing to go out of their way to help us. They tend to smile big ask your name then giggle and run away they also like to quote random movies yes here even in such a rural place. They are shy in their English but i think its pretty good, better then my English even. They love to play games like bingo they seem to have their own little town carnival going all the time.

One night we went to a simple basketball game and everyone stopped playing to look at me. So I smiled and talked with the people and then we had to go and I decided to hug and kiss one of the locals on the cheek, as he was very sweet. I was however not prepared for the reaction from everyone that was to follow. Suddenly the game stopped and everyone seemed to see what I did and they all cheered as if it was some victory for a white woman to kiss a local on the cheek. My friends where very amused by this I mean with the sound that came from the crowd you would think their beloved team scored a basket.  Later that night we where taken on a boat ride it was a full moon and the fireflies light up the night sky and all the trees it was just so incredibly majestic almost other worldly. I still remember the stillness the calm serenity of silence nature undisturbed how it must have been 100 years ago.

That following day we made plans to scuba dive then we would go to Bohol.  But as it turned out that day I did not feel like going diving, I was becoming very frustrating with the rudeness and disrespect to the locals from the people I was traveling with and I woke up not wanting to do anything with them. So I said you go scuba diving on your own, I will be fine here on my own. I decided I was not going to travel with them any more. Perhaps jess Shack was right about them after all?  But what could I do? there is no Internet there & I cannot speed up the time that I have left to live there in the Philippians before its time for Thailand. Then suddenly I felt I just wanted to get out of this place and my feet moved and I followed next thing I knew I was on a bus heading to an airport to fly back to murky Manila to meet up with one of my facebook friends that said I can come stay at their place if I had time, well suddenly I did have the time.  I did not leave a note or anything for the people I left, and I blocked them from facebook so they had no idea what happened I am sure but I did not care, they crossed the line and I did not owe them an explanation.

There I was sitting on the plane & I was thinking about the people I observed in Donsol as I was sad to leave and i was a bit shocked at my abrupt departure, I mean I could have gone to Bohol on my own but I did not want to risk running into those people but damn Bohol would have been awesome to see those little monkeys with giant eyes and long fingers.

Manila Again

And back in Manila. My facebook friend is just wonderful and gave me all the space I needed, the energy was good for me to settle into. I managed to watch some Asian TV which is highly amusing sometimes highly insectoid energy is felt strongly, especially the Japanese & Korean boy bands that can not seem to stop looking in the mirror checking themselves out and posing, its just too funny and sad to see how much of the western culture backstreet boys has influenced them.  The next days consisted of me hanging out in the house and catching up on my work as they had good internet there. Yeah

 For my last day in Manila i went and visited an orphanage and played with the children there, it was amazing no words to describe the souls i met there. There was a girl that had no arms but kept coming to me for body hugs and she could draw and paint really well with her feet. There was a boy who was mentally disabled but communicated with body language charades like in a really brilliant fun way. There was a loner cerebral palsy girl that kept kissing my forehead & hands. Then there was the girls dorm where i got to brush their hair show them funny videos of my cats such as them using the toilet which they loved, and played some angry birds with them on my iphone (angry birds is big there, I was really surprised to see those birds everywhere, can you imagine coming up with something like that and its all over the world?) oh then there was the visit to the nursery which was incredible. They also have an elderly care unit there as well, which is really neat for the kids the volunteers & nuns run most of it. I talked to as many people as I could everyone seemed so happy. The children enjoyed the elderly and the elderly enjoyed the children. Which I thought it was such a great idea to have the orphan kids inspire and connect with the elderly and vice versa.

Clark Philippians

After that it was time for me to make plans to catch my flight to Thailand but I had to catch my flight in Clark not Manilla. I did not think it would be a big deal at the time, I looked it up and I saw that this other small airport was not so far away it was only 2 hours away I mean I could just find a bus or a train or a taxi to get me there right. Nope, it proved to be a pain in the butt and that’s when I learned the reason why the Philippians is not as touristy like Thailand; because its not so easy to get around nor is it tourist friendly as thialand. It took a while to figure out how to commute to Clark, which was going there the day before and spending the night out there. So once again went to that trusty couchsurfing site and put the call out. Thank goodness last minute I got a response.

The couch surfer home I stayed at was not conscious but they were still nice and cool they also had this sweet white puffy puppy chow that I took for a walk and he accidentally peed on my hand. Then this giant dog jumped on him & tried to mate with him.
I met some young teens in the park & asked them what is the most important thing i should know about the county? One boy said “many a handsome.” What he meant was there are many handsome men here for me, but he was mainly referring to himself he was only 15 years old. It was just the way he said it that was so priceless.

Then I had to rush into a public toilet, ok oh man, well first off in Costa Rica you have to pay for toilet paper, and there was no guarantee that a toilet seat would be there either, nor was there an option for one to pay for a toilet seat. In Costa Rica my friend found a urinal that was so high up on the wall that you would have to put one leg up on the sink and aim high in order to reach your target so i am told. i wondered how this high toilet came about as Costa Rican locals are mostly pretty short so who was sleeping on this job hey I got an idea lets do something different, or maybe it was a practical joke I have no idea but its fun to imagine how such a toilet came to be? Now the toilets here in the Philippines do not have seats nor toilet paper just a small bucket of water or a hose, now how is that supposed to work? And the toilet was just a hole in the ground. I secretly wished someone would demonstrate how to accomplish this fete, as I was never sure if I was doing it right and being dyslexic did not help either.

Thank you Philippines for such a wonderful time! Thank you Asian customs your so nice and easy going compared to most first world countries.
i am now off to Thailand and will be there 2-3 weeks, after that i think i will wonder the countries that are around Thailand such as Cambodia, Laos, & Vietnam I will do this either on my own or maybe someone will be inspired to tag alone. it is all good either or.

Author: Jessica Schab

Memoirs of a Former Mystic - Blogs I've written many blogs but the series about my time in Bali, Indonesia, when my radical changes took place, is what has garnered the most curiosity and acclaim. In it, I share everything about that process from beginning to end and in great detail, so that others can get to know me and better understand what I am about. My Bali Blog series is an exploration of my own personal confusion towards rational thinking that has helped myself and others to see our own cognitive dissonance. It exposes the many things that we hide from ourselves and why. ​I highly suggest to read the blogs in order, from part 1 to 5. Otherwise, it will be hard to understand the content. I myself am shocked to realize that I had no idea how conditioned and problematic my spiritual beliefs were until I wrote these blogs; how they affected every aspect of my life and created so many unnecessary problems, making me so afraid to even dare to think or imagine my life and who I was without them. I can see now the contradictions I had to want to understand, watching these elements fight within me, planting mine fields of self-destruction in my mind when I forced myself to think without spiritual beliefs that acted like a drug for me, often times taking over my mind and thinking for me. How could I get myself to stop protecting these beliefs? Such a question led me to understand why others are so keen to choose irrationality instead of logic when it comes to their ideologies. It's one of the many reasons that led to me speaking up about why I am so concerned about this movement and the dangers of these beliefs. I would describe my changes as a massive tidal wave; a tsunami sweeping me and everything I was familiar with away. I honestly do not think I would have made it had I not learned how to surf my psyche. You would think the tidal wave would be the worst of it, right? So did I. I can say it’s not the case. You can ask people who have experienced a massive tsunami or any natural disaster and they will tell you the worst part is actually the aftermath; dealing with the dramatic shift, and in my case the psychological changes. How does one go on after something like that? What next? It’s not like one can go back to how things used to be and forget it ever happened; the experience echoes in your bones. It’s futile and insane to rebuild the old and familiar in your psyche and to encourage former hopes and beliefs. Especially because it often is what beckoned and fuelled the tsunami to begin with. When you get to the root, you must start completely new so as not to recreate the past. ​Ha! Easier said than done! So, these blogs are also an invitation and challenge to detect what is confusion and what is fact. To have people ask themselves: Are my beliefs thinking for me? It becomes more apparent and easier to pinpoint and reduce one's conditioned thinking when one finishes the whole series in order. Then, one can see their own results on how they scored with detecting and exploring their own cognitive biases.​ Best of luck. ​Enjoy and please let me know what you think :-)

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