My SSEAYP Experience (Part IV)

It is but dismaying to note that lately, the commissioners of the National Youth Commission had been reserving slots for their favorites, more so that the delegates' number had been cut to half after more countries have joined the program. Ergo, not all have been given an equal footing. Good thing my brother already finished the program after mine and before the scheme by the commissioners came in. It would have been a different story.

Reality check, still the palakasan system exists even in the office of the youth where idealism and want for change is high. Lately, new commissioners were chosen and it is with the hope that they would be better off than their predecessors.


We left for Jakarta, Indonesia. Once we embarked on the big floating university, we were given room assignments and two of my roommates were a Thai librarian and a Malaysian college teacher and both have difficulty in English which I am not comfortable as it would be very hard to communicate.

I cannot forget the 3D experience in Jakarta when IMAX was not yet in Manila. It was there that we saw first a full length 3D feature. We were all taken via train to Bandung and we experienced our first homestay. I was so discouraged as my foster parents never showed up when we were there for the matching. After all families have left, I and my homestay mate from Brunei were still waiting. The people there took us to our homestay parents' home and no one was there. We were made to wait for around an hour and we were all very hungry as it was already past 8 PM. The foster parents came and was surprised to see us, they explained that they forgot the matching, and they were fetching grocery for the visitors and that was us.

They took us out for dinner with my foster mother always having with her a dictionary as she cannot speak English, unlike our foster father who was a public official who works with the Public Works similar to an Undersecretary to our departments. We retired early as it was a long day and were woke up the next day for breakfast, embarassed as I woke up with my arms around the neck of my fosterhome mate and my legs across his body. But, he did not complain, maybe he also liked it.

We were taken to a shopping spree courtesy of our foster parents, with a BMW taking us around. After days of feeling like a millionaire's scion, we left for the train station and it was my first hurting moment as my foster brother who was still around 8 years old never stopped crying. All I could give him was a KitKat and a hug. I could not also say goodbye as he cannot understand English, I just cried with him and bid him goodbye.

Then, we were on the ship, and found out that most employees are Filipinos. I though I was only in the Philippines as I talked to them in pilipino all throughout.

I have discovered that I have been making a journal out of my trip which should not be the case.

So, we travelled to Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand and to Japan. Reality check: The program is not heavy as you think it is, you will not be robots but friendly individuals seeking friends for international understanding (so they say!)

If you think you will use your nutshell in discussions on board, as there are discussions, think again. Who would understand a Filipino in straight English when the subject is an optional subject in Japan and so as the other countries, but Singaporeans speak well.

I have built friendships which i am forever grateful. I have been to these places at least cost only part, that's the good thing about it. Should you be interested, join. The application period for this year's batch is already ongoing.

Should you have questions which you feel I can answer, please do write it in the comments section after this article. My escapades in the ship, that is for me to know and for you to find out. All I know is, I was the only one to date who did all of those.



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