Day 6 – Makati Tour and NYE

Today is New Year’s Eve, Wed. Dec. 31st. Today we are doing some sight-seeing in Makati.

As always, we start our day right, and that is through prayer.
Because we are travelling to Makati, we take 2 vans as our big buses aren’t permitted.
First stop is to grab some breakfast. As we enter, Christine bumps into her family. What a coincidence especially considering the Philippines has 94 million people!
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And we are off to Makati, the financial district of the Philippines. It would be like traveling to Bay and Bloor in Toronto.


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First stop is a mall called Greenbelt where we will be taking some photos.  Michael finally joins us for a group shot.
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As we walked around we noticed a drastic difference between here and Tondo.


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This is our group taking a selfie in front of a huge bamboo tree…an abundance of flora and fauna.
Can you guess what type of animal John and Jillian are sitting on?

Mike tells us how he carries a “gratitude rock” everyday in his pocket and how every time he touches it throughout the day he thinks of something that he is grateful for.

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We all find our own gratitude rock.


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The Carabao is the national animal of the Philippines (kinda like the Canadian beaver)
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Tito Bernie shares an “after mass treat”…suman, made of rice, brown sugar and shaved coconut.
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This mall Greenbelt is a series of 5 buildings. We are walking in the courtyard which is located in the middle of all the 5 buildings.



Who’s gonna win?
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Our next stop is the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
Mosaic maps recall the actions of the United States armed forces in the Pacific, China, India and Burma.
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These pillars have the names of all those in the war whose bodies were never found (except for the ones with this symbol)
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Chole finds over 100 Davis’ including one that received a medal of honor.
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This is the largest American memorial outside of continental USA.
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Many of us find our family names amongst the pillars.
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This peaceful place is the perfect spot to journal. We all take the time to connect with Mother Earth and write down our thoughts from the previous day’s experiences and adventures.
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Soldiers lost at war are represented by a marble headstone either a cross or a Star of David.  “We can resolve the deaths of the soldiers by maintaining the peace that they fought for.”
Next stop Aura Mall in Makati.


There is a chapel on the rooftop of the mall. That’s where we are going next.
The Pope will be visiting Manila on January 15th…everyone is very excited. (We all agree we should stay!)
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View from the rooftop…notice the disparity of the living conditions.
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Faith, Emily, John, Nicole and Dyan posing in front of the Giant Dandelion art installation.



#PH2K14 group shot
Here we are again 🙂
Notice how long the walk sign countdown is…129. We are off to a new mall called Market Market which is across the street.
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Mitch juggling for spending money, John is very generous. Libby, Chloe and Emily pose prettily in front of a giant Christmas tree.
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P20 stores are just like our Dollar Stores except 20 pesos is equivalent to 50 cents. Not to worry Michael is just purchasing some ski gear.

We head back to our hotel to rest up, eat up, and freshen up for our New Year’s Eve celebration.  Before we head to the bus, we take our last group picture of 2014.

Look at this good looking group ready for New Years Eve festivities.
Here is our “fierce” shot. Work it.
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Squad Up!
We head over to the Mall of Asia for a NYE fireworks display
It started to rain hard so we find a spot to chill inside of the mall until midnight approaches
The locals start to gather around us wondering what is this game we’re playing (Stella-ella-ola) 🙂
The rain stops and we walk over to Seaside Blvd. It’s packed!
We still have 45 min until midnight so we decide to shoot some hoops
Guess who got the high score…..nope not Mike……Leah (aka Low-Key)!
We meet some local basketball players and take pics with them


Midnight strikes and we witness the best firework display we’ve ever seen
People oooooooo and awwwwww with every bang!
Our first group pic of 2015!


Here’s the polaroid version. A memory that will last us forever.

Happy New Year’s everyone (as we celebrate it 13 hours before our families in Toronto).

Tomorrow we travel to the beautiful country side – San Mateo to do some building and clean-up.

Thanks for following our travels.

Feel free to add a comment below.

Blessings for 2015.



21 thoughts on “Day 6 – Makati Tour and NYE

Add yours

  1. Just looked through these photos again. The war memorial was beautiful. Pretty sure Kaisha didn’t find any familiar names up there!!! I love the dandelion art, very cool.

  2. I love this day, so much memories with the team. This day definitely felt like we were a family to me. New Years was a great time with all these beautiful people inside and out! ❤ TEAM #PH2K14 ❤

  3. Visiting Greenbelt mall and Aura mall you could instantly tell the difference between what we saw today and the day before in Tondo. It was very sad to see such a big difference. As for New Years, I have never seen so many people gather together for this celebration. The air was filled with joy and happiness as we celebrated the new year with thousands of other people.

  4. Visiting Makati was very weird considering the previous few days we have been in very poor areas. It really opened my eyes to the huge contrast between the rich and poor areas. Celebrating new years with the PH fam was so amazing, I have always celebrated new years with my family, but celebrating it with the PH fam is something I will never forget. The fireworks were truly breathtaking I have never seen such amazing fireworks!

  5. Today was a mixed feeling sort of day because although there were no evident and obvious signs of sadness, visiting the financial district gives you a feel for the great division between poverty and wealth in the Philippines. It is astonishing, that in a country so poor, there are areas like this that allowed to the remaining people to live in poverty. And as pointed out, the rich kind of block off the ‘ugly’ scene because they don’t want to be associated with it, but what’s unfortunate they could not be associated with it, if they helped out and made an effort to remove it. On a side note: NEW YEARS IN THE PHILIPPINES – GREAT AND NEW EXPERIENCE. BEST WAY TO SPEND THE FIRST DAY OF 2015.

  6. It is amazing how different the shopping district is to the slums. It gave off a very similar vibe to Toronto. Everyone was in their own bubble and there was almost no sense of community. I honestly didn’t find this part of the trip half as interesting and fun as the time we spent at the communities. Don’t get me wrong, it was still great day. It was just the least memorable for me (with the exception of new years). I did love seeing the fireworks with the PH family though 😉

  7. The gratitude rock is one of my favourite things I’ve taken out of the trip. Every now and then I find it in my purse or in my bag and I remind myself of how many things I am grateful for. Being at the War Memorial was also one of the most peaceful parts of the trip. Having time to just sit and reflect was really refreshing.
    Wish I was able to spend New Years with the PH Fam, looked like you guys had loads of fun! 🙂

  8. Hi, Low-key here. Hahaha
    New Years Eve is the day that the PH team bonded the most. From the countdown to the mini party at the hotel. IT’S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES 🙂 Thank you rock

  9. I was struck by how different the two worlds are in the Phillipines between the rich and the poor.

    I got the chance to get close to one of the basketball players that evening, Ajay Khatri, and he was a very nice person — like everyone else we’ve met on this journey! But to think about how he and the rest of us are already accepted to university and on our way to reaching our dreams, while other kids we’ve met from the slums struggle to even get access to enough food, water, clothing, let alone education, made me feel incredibly confused. I am grateful that my father was able to escape the Vietnam War and come to Canada. Because I was born Canadian, I could go to the Phillipines to give back what I was lucky enough to have been born with.

    And on another note…we may think that because the Phillipines is far from us that that is why many of us are unaware of how bad the poverty is. But even Ajay, who was born here, has not seen the slums. So then imagine how much poverty there may be in Canada that has escaped our eyes.

  10. As much as it was an experience to go to the (many) malls of the Philippines, this day was not my favourite. Honestly, I was upset that we were not using the time that day to go to communities. Instead we went around shopping and browsing. I was really, REALLY, upset to see the difference between the living conditions of those in Makati and in Tondo, even though they are within an hour of each other when driving. I guess this day was necessary to be consecutive with Tondo so that we got a reality check when we got back to Toronto.

  11. Such a huge gap that needs to be bridged! In less than an hour, you get to see two extremes. I realized that which ever extreme you are in, there will always be something to be thankful for. Let it be the extra spending money you have or simply having a family that will always stand by you through thick and thin, they are equally great reasons to be thankful. And I’m proud and happy that gratitude is innate in every Filipino. The Filipino people are always smiling and can always find something to smile about.

    And aah! New Year! One my favourite days! A fresh new year to be conquered and be shared by our team! Really took this time to be reflective of the year that just ended and my hopes for this new one. It’s such a blessing to be given another year to build new relationships as well as strengthen the ones we already have. May this year be a year full of charity as we get showered with countless blessings every day.

    I am so thankful for our PHamily! ❤

  12. This day on the trip was definitely more of a reflective one, which was pretty fitting seeing as it was New Year’s Eve and a great time to reflect on the events of the past year. It quite different from the other days we spent interacting with children and visiting villages. The war memorial was such a peaceful place filled with so much history and beautiful structures, it was the perfect place to do some much needed reflection on everything we had witnessed and experienced the past couple of days. Also, in seeing the rich parts of the Philippines that day we were truly able to see the disparity of living standards among the people of the Philippines. Though it was a great place to tour around, I think this fact really got to us at the end of the day. Overall, great way to end the year 🙂

  13. Such a memorable day, felt so nice spending my new years eve with the PHFam. So many laughs and funny moments, and firework were amazing, they just kept going off and off. One of the most fun days in Philippines with the PHfam ❤

  14. there was no better way of spending the beginning of 2015 and ending 2014 with this group in the Philippines. Today was definitely a day a independent thinking, thinking about everyone that has died for us, how blessed we are, etc. I know i truly had deep talks to myself, to change and be a better person.

  15. NEW YEARS EVE! This day was so special. I feel like we all really bonded on this day because we weren’t busy working or playing with kids, instead we were getting to know each other even more. We went to a Starbucks which I didn’t expect. They use different whipped cream of their Fraps in the Philippines. We went over to this garden full of rocks and each chose a graduated rock to be thankful for all the things we have. We also went to the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial where there were HUGE walls just full of names of people who were in the war. I looked but there were no Ayienga’s. We also went to a mall where Tina and I got long boards…still need to learn how to ride it. Then it was New Years time and we went to the Mall of Asia and watched the best fire works in the world!!! They were incredible.

  16. Makati was beautiful. It did feel kind of at home, as we got starbucks haha. The pillars all around us in the Manila Cemetery and Memorial was great. When we got some time to ourselves, getting some time to reflect was peaceful. I really got to reflect about our time there, and how grateful I am to get this opportunity. This was also a very meaningful day as I got to see my cousin and Aunt again, and had a very great New Years, celebrating it with both sides of the family.

  17. This day was all about the rocks!
    Illegal rock hopping, gratitude rocks, tug of rock….. even grave stones.
    I really liked going to the memorial location. I found a whole bunch of people with my last name! Taking the time to sit bare foot on the grass was a really nice way to reflect, calm down and remember all the people who fought and died in ALL the wars that have happened.

  18. One of the things that leaves me in awe… is the talent and energy that has been gathered to take on such a challenge.

    All the best, thank you for the trip down memory lane!

    Happy Friday!

    Peace, Joy, Hope, Charity, Appreciation and Humility, Steve De Quintal Teacher, St. Mary Catholic Academy, 66 Dufferin Park Ave. Toronto, Ontario M6H-1J6. 416-393-5528 ext. 84293 “that they may have life and have it to the full.” ***You can always email but a call or a visit will get a quicker response*** ________________________________

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