Friday, March 6, 2009

Iloilo, the final stop for the 2009 GSE Philippines Team

Our final stop was Iloilo, site of the 2009 DisCon for District 3850. As I write this blog, I'm back in my apartment in Boston. Much of my stuff is unpacked, and I'm preparing to head back to work in the morning. Though I'm glad to see my friends and family again, I'm sad to have said goodbye to the new friends I've made since arriving in the Philippines in February. It's my sincerest hope that I'll get to see them again.

This leg of the trip has been a reunion of sorts. I met with members of every Rotary Club I've been to: Zamboanga, Dipolog, Kabankalan, Bocolod and many others. We reminisced about what happened during our visits, memories I'll carry with me forever.

On March 5, we went to Safari Night, where we were thrilled to jungle-themed songs and dances (I believe there were some "Lion King" renditions there, and Shelley decided to join the fun at one point) performed by the different clubs of District 3850. Jon also gave a Wushu demonstration, which earned him a thunderous applause. As we had done so many times, we spent the night dancing, thoughts of our impending trip home still in my mind but for the time being pushed aside.

Next morning we listened to the different speakers at DisCon. One of the most memorable was Senator Mar Roxas, who spoke of the need for people to be involved in their government. He recited his speech from memory, and at the end the crowd rose to give him a standing ovation.

Our final night was spent at the Governor's Ball. Though much dancing and fun were once again had (as always), it felt a little surreal. A part of me didn't believe that this was our last night in the Philippines. This trip has been a learning experience in so many ways: professionally and personally. I've learned much about the news business, and about the direction I want my career to take.

I want to thank the Rotary Club for giving me the chance to be a part of the Group Study Exchange, and boundless gratitude to the Rotary Clubs of District 3850. Salamat.


  1. Hi Max! It's our turn to visit MA! We just got our visas approved. See you in April! :)

  2. Sounds like you guys had an interesting visit! We recently hosted the GSE Team from District 9640 (Australia) here in Jamaica. :)