Last month I spent 3 weeks in the Philippines. One week on the island of Boracay and two weeks in the city of Manila which boasts to the tune of 18 million inhabitants. My first trip to the country and I really didn't know what to expect. I had heard a few opinions flying around in regards to traveling there and not all of it ended up being true. But, I have to say, when traveling to be around yoga practitioners it more times than not tends to be a positive experience. Yoga people tend to be good people, more conscious and present. They offer wider perspective along with an open mind. If I were there under different circumstances who knows what it would be like. At any rate, I have to say the people are what make the country. Easy to laugh and see the lighter side of things seemed to be a common trait. The customer service in restaurants and stores were some of the best I have ever encountered anywhere. There were various circumstances there that touched me deeply and the students I had the pleasure of teaching were absolutely lovely and up for celebrating at a moments notice.
On another note, during my travels it was the first time I had ever gotten sick while scheduled to teach. I came down with a severe gastrointestinal reaction. Still not sure if it was food poisoning or a virus, but needless to say, I was up the night before I was to teach in Manila aggressively throwing up and going to the toilet. It was not a pretty sight, but I got through it.
Backtracking to my first week I taught on the island of Boracay. With stunning white sand beaches it was also teaming with tourists from all over. It seems to be the spot! One side of the island was devoted to kitesurfing which I found totally fascinating. In Cost Rica I reignited my obsession with surfing, and to then get a taste of kitesurfing, I was left in awe of the sport.
I taught a small intimate group in Boracay which was a nice change of pace. Whether a large group or small it always brings a contrasting energy. These smaller settings are really special and give time to connect on a deeper level.
In Manila I enjoyed a a different change of pace, though luckily I lived close to the shala where I taught and didn't have to commute. The traffic there is horrendous! God safe those who have to battle the streets there everyday. One reason maybe why yoga is needed. I had a deep respect of the dedicated group of Ashtangis I encountered there. Making it work in their demanding lives I really saw how those with work and family were able to integrate the practice. It was beautiful. Mad respect.
Thanks to all who made my stay to the Philippines special. Until next time!