We took a 4 hour bus to Bagac to meet our host family. The Peace Corps Trainees were placed in chairs opposite ofthe families and each of us were given a puzzle piece that matched our host family. We had to go around searching for our match and when we connected the pieces that was the host family were were assigned to. At the time I did not know who my family was but I had a pretty good idea when a middle aged Filipino woman came toward me with purpose. She was practically climbing over chairs to get to me. I found out later that she was informed that she was going to be placed with “Black American” young lady. There was only four of us in the room and when most of us were matched up she knew exactly where to go.
Our families took us home for a moment then they escorted us to the Municipality Hall where we met the mayor of Bagac. Jeans, Tshirt, sneakers, and a ballcap was the attire the mayor selected to wear for this meet and greet. After short words from the selected officials, we individually introduced ourselves in Tagalog. We then went to the Barangay hall of Tabing Iilog, equivalent to town hall and here we met the Barangay Captain and other local staff. That was alsoo my first experience on a tricycle. Liz got a great candid shot of me exiting the trike and skipping through the rain.
I practiced language with my host mother. One of the vocabulary words was “rich” and she kept referring to me as rich which is far from the truth at this point. My host family is the perfect Filipino reflection of my family. My host sister is an only child raised by a single mother who is the only child of her mother who lives with them. The evening was filled with lost of food and telanovelas. One telanovela was a sci-fi korean show. My lola (grandmother) Filipino actually does not speak Tagalog. She is 75 and speaks a local dialect from the visayas region. Apparently I have 7 cats and 2 dogs. They are not all running around the house but I guess those are the pets they care for. I have only seen the two dogs and two cats. Fun fact: My home use to be a beauty parlor. I have already been asked if I am Catholic or if I have a boyfriend. However, my nanay (mother) respects my privacy even though she made it a point to mention that Filipino men are faithful. I unpacked a little, ate a lot, studied a little, and slept as much as I could.