Day 5 – City Tour and New Year’s Eve

On December 31st, 2013 we had a free day to tour Manila.  First stop was Makati financial district.

The streets of Makati were much different than the poverty stricken neighbourhoods near El Dorado
We entered the oasis located in the middle of Greenbelt mall which is basically 5 separate buildings that surround this beautiful area. A great place take pictures.
Kyla-ann and Alyssa from Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School
Jeffery Wang from Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School
Teacher Lindsay Curtis from Blessed Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School posing with her “stallion” (and the guy in red is my dad 🙂 Bernie Consul
Nicole Baret Blessed Pope John Paul Secondary School
In the middle of this oasis was an open air chapel
We all took the time to thank God for our wonderful and safe journey so far
As well, we prayed for the soul of Alanna’s and Shaelyn’s grandmother who reunited with our heavenly Father
The altar in this chapel lay in the middle and is surrounded by arched pews
This beautiful stained glass is directly above the altar
Canada is to beaver as the carabao is to the Philippines
Jeffery Wang from Mary Ward, one of two grade nines on the trip
Melissa Ayisi and Britishawna Petgrave from Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School
Mark Anthony Balano Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School
Foreground teacher supervisor Lindsay Curtis, BMT. Background Shaelyn Talusan from St. Joseph’s College
Front to back: Alyssa Cabutaje – Jean Vanier, Alanna Marchese – St. Joseph’s College, Kyla-ann Ewart – Jean Vanier
There were so many beautiful trees to see here
This root looked like a huge insect crawling on this tree trunk
This picture shows how immensely tall this palm tree is with Katrina taking a worm’s eye view photo from below
There was beautiful landscaping throughout with great attention to detail
Student leaders pick up “gratitude” rocks to keep as a momento
What a team!
Katrina quick, help Ms. Curtis!
Before departing for our next destination, the student leaders enjoy a piece of home “Starbucks”
01 - Banana Republic
Poor Ms. Curtis can’t go into her favourite store because the mall doesn’t open until 11am 😦
Next stop, the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
This is the largest American Memorial outside the continental USA
The majority of the soldiers were never found…
Each cross represents a solider who died in the war
Student leaders learn about the history of WWII and the involvement of the Philippines
Students pay tribute by taking the time to learn what happened during some of the recorded battles



The students go in search of soldiers with the same last name as themselves
There’s a chance that these soldiers are related somehow to us
Katrina finds several Lorenzo’s including a guy named Simeon
In addition to Americans, there were also Filipinos who participated in the war whose names are also on these walls
02 - Names
The walls were immensely tall and formed a circle
Although most bodies were never found, those with this symbol have been recovered
There were thousands of crosses. It’s shocking to think that each one represented a death in the war
We went onto the grass to take a closer look. Being barefooted really helped ground you to the earth.
Some of us even took some time to get a tan (or fix a tan 🙂
The trees here were massive and beautiful
03 - Flower
Some the trees bore flowers
Crosses were perfectly lined and positioned
Sea of crosses everywhere you looked
We realized why every Philippine travel guide suggested that this is a must-see destination while in Makati
Up next, the newly opened SM Aura for some lunch
Then we walked across the street to Market Market
This is where we enjoyed a traditional Filipino dessert called Halo-Halo
Danielle and Lindsay’s first halo halo – crushed ice with fruits, beans, leche flan, and condensed milk. When you think about the ingredients it doesn’t sound all that appetizing but it’s very yummy!

After Market Market, we go back to the hotel to get some rest and get dressed for our New Year’s Eve outing to Seaside, located outside of the Mall of Asia.

Student leaders looking “fierce” in their NYE attire
04 - Ferris
We all decided to ride the ferris wheel
Always finding time to pose for the camera
While at the ferris wheel, we find Joe’s twin
We can’t hear what they are saying!
Great night time view of the city
To the left is the ocean. To the right is the Mall of Asia
We even got to play some basketball. The crowd roared every time Melissa or Katrina got a basket
With 45 minutes until midnight, we decide to take a seat along the sea wall
And play some games while we wait
05 - Firecrakers
It was an amazing fireworks display which happened at the stroke of midnight. We were so close to the action
06 - Bird
One of the coolest unique things during the fireworks display was these flying illuminated birds that eventually spewed out fireworks from it’s wings

Happy New Year everyone from the Philippines! We miss you all!

Tomorrow we’re excited to get back into doing our service work as we will be visiting an orphanage and last year’s build site.  Thanks for following.  Write your comments below and let us know your thoughts.

19 thoughts on “Day 5 – City Tour and New Year’s Eve

Add yours

  1. my name is in the ph but under a diff last name which is a bit funny lol
    and the starbucks which is a lot cheaper… i wonder how much a caramel moca cookie crumble mixed in with caramel and 2 shots of espresso and mixed in with the 2 types of whip cream and mixed in with chocolate chip… well it is a complicated order lets just leave it at that

  2. As always, thanks for the updates, sounds like yet another incredible day!

    Happy New Year!

    Peace and Hope, Steve De Quintal Teacher, Bishop Marrocco / Thomas Merton CSS, 1515 Bloor St. W. Toronto, Ontario M6P-1A3. 416-393-5545 ext. 84293 “To think, to pray and to serve.” A lively awareness of our relatedness helps us to look upon and to treat each person as a true sister or brother; without fraternity it is impossible to build a just society and a solid and lasting peace. Pope Francis, 1 January 2014 ****You can always email but a call or a visit will get a quicker response***** ________________________________________

  3. As always thank you for the updates. Kyla-anne we miss you but are so glad that you are having such a great time and helping out. I did a little searching after seeing your photo with William C Ewart and was able to find this information:

    Name William C. Ewart
    Service Number 5753723
    Rank Aviation Radioman, Third Class, U.S. Navy
    Regiment United States Naval Reserve
    City, State South Carolina
    Date of Death 10-25-1945
    Buried Missing in Action or Buried at Sea, Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines
    Cemetary Details Manila, Philippines
    Awards Purple Heart

    Thought you would find that interesting. Will do a little more digging to see if he was a relation or not.

    Love you

    Happy New Year!!

    Bagong Taon Happy!!

      1. I have alays been interested in learning about our family history and we have a lot of family members who served and still serve in the army but mostly the Navy so it intrigued me to dig a little. I have not had a chance to dig anymore on this Ewart however, but I will be interested to see if there is a relation. And thanks for putting up the photos it is nice to be able to see what Kyla-anne is doing each day even when I can’t talk to her everyday. These kids should be so proud of themselves. And Thank you for taking part to make sure that such an opportunity is even made possible for them Michael.

        All the best


    Philippines is gorgeous! I hope you guys are having tons of fun!

    And hahaha I could not stop laughing because the man really does look like joe 🙂 Can someone say, “twinsies?”

  5. Had a great time touring Manila and learning a thing or two about the history of the Philippines. Today was a great day for all of us; we are drawing closer to each other each day. Glad to have spent New Years Eve with all of you guys!

  6. After our hard work, we needed time for a little break so this day came handy! Starbucks in PH over Statbucks in TO anyday! This day was a great day for the team to bond, which we did! Didn’t go on the Ferris wheel because heights is not for me! It was great spending New Years with the PH fam! #teamdancing #shhh

  7. It was nice to be able to tour the city before dirtying our hands and start building! Greenbelt,Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, the sparkling, new SM Aura, and the fireworks were beautiful. Such a fun day.

    I also would like to thank everyone for keeping mine and Alanna’s grandmother in their prayers. Through a difficult time, you all made us feel so much better and helped us to smile. You guys are the greatest!

  8. Starbucks in Philippines was definitely a refreshing sight to see I’m sure was for this group as it was for our group. Hands down agreed with the others comments on how Starbucks is so much better (and cheaper) in the Philippines! I definitely don’t want a frap in our -20 degree weather ahaha!

    Happy New Year everyone!

  9. This New Year’s eve was the first time i spent New Years without my family; but i would have to say it was one of the best New Years yet and I couldn’t ask to spend it with another group of people! Not to mention the fact I was blown away by the spectacular fire works!

  10. NEW YEARS EVE!! Although I didn’t get to spend time during the day with the PH Fam, I did get to spend it with my mom’s side of the fam. It was the best day ever! I finally met my fan and they are everything and more than I expected, I love them!

    The fireworks in the Philippines were 100000000000 times better! They were amazing! It was a night I will never forget!! Sadly I had no rice that day. 😥

  11. Today was a day to be a tourist and that’s what we did. Makati reminded me of Toronto with the busy streets and the beautiful landscape at the memorial was something to remember. Our NYE attire was a good change from our usual sweaty clothes and ringing in the new year with the team was really fun and it was another night to bond.

    This was definitely a hard day for me because all I could think about was my Lola and family back home. I knew she would want me to have a good day and not to be sad. Thank you to everyone who comforted Shae and I, it really helped us deal with everything and you made us smile the rest of the day. I love you very much Lola and I miss you.

  12. I had a great time on the city tour. Green belt was a beautiful place and the memorial enriched me with Philippines history. During our visit at SM Aura, a group of us went all the way to the rooftop and it was a sight that I will never forget. On one side was the rich and beautiful city of Makati, and on the other side there were vast streets filled with poverty. The countdown to New Years was fun. We went to Mall of Asia and rode the Ferris Wheel before the clock hit 12. The fireworks were amazing, they really know how to put on a show here in the Philippines. Such a great night & glad to be starting the new years off with the PH fam!

  13. SM Aura and the Manila American Cemetery are beautiful! Walking on grass barefoot felt really nice. So glad I spent NYE with the PH fam! This is only the beginning 🙂 Let’s continue to give back and explore the woooorld!

  14. Our visit to the Manila American Cemetery was so beautiful. It was very interesting learning about the Philippines’ history.

    I am glad that I spent New Years with the ph group, my other family. It was another fun night with these crazy leaders.

    Oh, and the fireworks there were ecstatic! Great way to kick off 2014!

  15. The city tour was a great time for family bonding! I felt proud for making ph trip history with my umbrella…:D I feel like this was the day when we all really opened up to each other. I wouldn’t have spent my new year’s any other way! I can’t wait to get back together as a family again. 🙂 ❤

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