The most surprising thing was the demeanor of the residents of the slum, particularly the children. I had never witnessed happier or friendlier children. Materially, these children had next to nothing. This did not break their spirits, however. The children flocked to us. They took us by the hand, proudly showing us their home.
Not only was this one of the most moving experiences of the whole program, but of my whole life. As we left the safe house that day, one of the girls tied on my wrist a friendship bracelet she made, and I don’t plan to take it off until it falls off.
Culture heavily influences both the function and perception of institutions, something I became much more aware and knowledgable of after this program.
Being personable and respectful is a big thing in the Philippines. Regardless of the surrounding or setting, I have noticed a public display of respect and personable behavior. Respectfulness/personable attitudes are evident when dealing with all different types of people. When meeting some of the highest-ranking bureaucrats in the country, they showed the utmost respect and have seemed very happy to meet us.