I’m excited to see that my post-from-the-future worked out so well.  That, coupled with the fact that I set up another teacher’s internet last week, makes me a techie god.

Right, enough about that.  I’m in the Philippines!  Woooo!!  Let’s talk about it.  First, let me tell you about the flight.  Got to the airport without any problems, no checked luggage meant we got through everything much faster.  The flight was fine, too, except for that horrible, horrible film Twilight, which Erin and I told ourselves couldn’t be that bad.  Oh, but yes, it can.  And it was.  After surviving both the awful movie and the awful airplane food (with the help of a few glasses of wine–thanks, Korean Air!), we landed in Cebu, where the high was 82 degrees at the time of our 12:45 a.m. landing.  Toto, we’re so not in Korea anymore.

We hopped in a cab that took us straight to our hotel, The Diplomat.  I don’t know how exactly to describe the ride here, except as complete eye-opening, if not appalling.  Before we came here, I did my Wikipedia research and found out that the Philippines is a third-world country.  Initially, I was excited (“Ahhhh, my first third-world country ever!!  Ahhhhh!!!”–no joke, I danced around the office singing that), but now that I’m here (and Erin has reminded me that I once went to Haiti, making the Phils my second third-world country), I can see the horrible conditions in which the majority of Filipinos, at least in Cebu, live.  The cab drove us down street after street of decrepit houses, buildings that would be considering uninhabitable in the States and most western countries.  Even at 2 in the morning on a Sunday, people were gathered on street corners, apartment landings and in front of vendors’ stalls, sitting around on cheap plastic chairs and drinking and talking.  It felt similar to the nights I used to walk around College Park in the middle of the night.  What?  What’s that you say?  Nobody walks around College Park in the middle of the night?  Yes, I know that.  For good reason.

It was hard to see people who live in obvious poverty in the shadows of massive luxury hotels and conference centers.  With such a discrepancy between rich and poor, I wonder how any tourist can come to Cebu without feeling just a tad bit guilty.

Anyway, once we got to our hotel, we checked in, and got reacquainted with the western world before falling asleep. (Our television gets CNN!  And MTV!  And HBO!  Obviously we have it tuned to CNN most of the time we’re in the room.)

This morning, we woke up and hit the ground running.  Went downstairs for breakfast (which only cost about $3), then set out for some sightseeing.  Well, to say Cebu City is a tourist-friendly city would be a complete lie.  Almost every street we walked down was urban poverty at its best (worst?). Erin and I were “hollered at” every five seconds.  Literally.  You know it’s bad when even security guards are giving you the eye and saying, “Hi, hello, how are you?” as you walk past.  We were constantly beeped at by passing trucks, cars and taxis, but I’ll attribute some of the taxi-honking to the fact that they probably only wanted our money.

Speaking of wanting our money, we were constantly followed by small kids, no older than five or six years old, asking us in perfect English for money.  I’ve heard about child beggars, obviously, but my heart didn’t break until today, when they would follow us a block or two before retreating.  The worst part is that no adults ever stopped them.

I know that this post sounds sad and depressing.  That’s only because I’ve had time to absorb everything that’s happened over the past 24 hours.  We did do some sightseeing today.  We visited the Basilica del Santo Ninoand the nearby Magellan’s Cross.  We also hit up a centuries-old fort that is now lush with flowers and trees.  I managed to spend a pretty penny at a free-trade shop, but that’s about the only heavy spending I did today (except the incredibly small $14 bottle of Coppertone).

Tomorrow, we’ll be checking out of the hotel and heading to a beachier part of the island, where I am anticipating much quality time with the sun, my iPod and a good book.

Time’s about to run out on here at the Internet cafe (it’s a real struggle not to call it a PCbang, like we do in Korea).  But we plan on being Internerds a few more times this week, so keep checking back–ya never know what I’m gonna say or do next!