from philly to the philippines.

for our week long Chinese holiday break, me and my friend Jihan decided to get away from the chaos of the city, and spend our time off in Cebu, Philippines. It was there where I finally felt a little peace of home.

Brown people, with smiles as big as the horizon, I was in awe of not only the beauty of transparent ocean, sugar-like sands and numerous palm trees, but the spirits of the Filipino people were breathtaking.

When we came to the end of the 3hr trek from Cebu City and walked off of the ferry onto the dock at Bantayan Island, we were greeted by men from the island, insisting that we let them carry our bags with no pay. Later at the village’s 141st Founding Anniversary town disco, our friend Tata who we met earlier that day said to us, “When I saw you come off the boat, I said wow, those are blackbirds” . 

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To be described with such imagery and comparison to something so free was comforting. It was like that moment like, “you see me, how I see me too?”. It was even more special because of my last name, Starling which means “blackbird”.

For the first time in 2 months, I didn’t feel feared. My differences were embraced, admired and I almost forgot that they even existed. It felt good to say “hello” as I did before I came to China, just because it was on my heart to and that same greeting be reciprocated with pleasantness and authenticity.

The Philippines reminded that love is real, fearless people exists, happiness is very simple and the horizon is where anyone can look to and find a peace for and of themselves.

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