Hanna Fernando-Pacua (PHILIPPINES) temporarily leaves her comfort zone to travel, serve, and perform around the world in five months. She hopes to share with you this very meaningful experience.

Up with People provides students with an extraordinary semester of traveling the world. As a student your perspectives on the world will never be the same. UWP is for that certain student who's looking for an intense, hands-on, involved global educational experience. The program addresses the very real need for young adults and leaders who have global perspectives, intercultural understanding, knowledge of worldwide social issues, leadership skills and a dedication to community service. For more information, visit www.upwithpeople.org.

HANNA's SATTELITE SITE and GALLERY (+ photos, videos, calendar) http://www.bananaspinuwp.multiply.com/

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Somewhat Like Home

I am home. The sights, the sounds, the smells of my Manila.

But it totally doesn't feel like home. Because the cast is here and they are still my life every minute of the day. It really feels weird to be home but totally thrown off your regular routine.

It is also only this time that I feel a sense of loss of my long-time job at Ayala Foundation. Remember, I was still working two days before I left for Denver last July. Oh well, opportunities will come, I guess (I hope! :-)

These past few weeks have been crazy. It has been an emotional roller coaster!

The cast is here, the cast is about to leave soon.
My friends and family are here, but I haven't really had the time to see them.
There is so much to do in the Philippines ... and I hope a lot more people will step up to this challenge.
Feeling less engaged in cast activities.
Hearing the cast's opinions on the Philippines and the Filipino people - some of them negative, some of them positive.
I've been on TV, the radio, and the newspaper.
I think I've accomplished a lot of things in my "secret wish list" like presenting infront of an international audience, volunteering internationally and being featured on TV.

Whew. Intense. Mixed feelings.

Here's another article for you! This was published in today's paper. http://showbizandstyle.inquirer.net/you/2bu/view_article.php?article_id=102125.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Student :slash: Host Mom

Yes, we are in Manila.

Crazy being home with the cast. It seems like half of me is in the real world and half of me is in a dreamlike state.

I stay in my apartment in the middle of the Central Business District, and currently hosting Jules from Uganda. Other uppies have a ton of househelp at home and me and Jules are highly independent women (that's putting it nicely.. this means we wake up early in the morning to prepare our breakfast and come home exhausted to still frozen dinners)

It's taking the phrase "step out of your comfort zone" to the next level.

With full days, heavy traffic, grocery shopping, media worries (!!!), bad internet connection -- I hope I get to update my blog soon.

love, hanna

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Global Pinoy: "Living a Dream with UWP"

Check out this article :-)


Mahal ko ang Pilipinas (I love the Philippines!)

After a very smooth flight from Brussels-to-Frankfurt-to-China-to-Manila (there's a story in between but I'll post that as soon as I get my laptop to connect to the Internet -- ah yes I am typing this from our old Desktop PC in Binan, Laguna) I felt like I haven't even been gone for the past few months.

Yes, Philippines still feels like home and the hot and humid weather was more of a welcome comfort for me than an annoyance that I expected.

It was funny to struggle a bit with the I-don't-know-why-they-constructed-it-that-way arrival lane at the NAIA (have you ever been there? It's quite impossible to navigate a heavy trolley down there alone, it is sloped downwards and has a sharp curve that is also still sloped. It was kind of funny) but I was way too excited to care. After hugging my husband tearfully , it was also great to met Luis Petzhold, the fun UWP Community Relations Coordinator here in Manila.

My first craving was a Regular Yum with Cheese at Jollibee (it's a cheeseburger , and Jollibee is a Filipino fastfood chain) . Mmm.

I feel like the whole 4 months of UWP was just a dream and far far away, but the cast is arriving here in Manila on Tuesday and I just can't believe it! It will feel so weird to have them "invade" my Pinoy lifestyle. I am honestly afraid of the responsibility that I have for my country and UWP now..

But I have a very good feeling that they will love our country. Where else can you get warmth and hospitality AND the English language spoken everywhere? Here, we can get Italian pasta, Danish cookies, Japanese food, German franks, American fatty food, European fashion, pretty girls, great beer. All the best of life while still keeping in touch with the reality of it as well.

Saan ka pa?

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Kita-Kita Tayo sa Pinas!

Last show day in Europe today! And I am currently in the Staff Workroom nervously waiting for my time to go to the train station and on to the airport to fly home.

Yes, I won't be in the last show in Europe :-( and the cast will be going to the EU Parliament in Brussels tomorrow (something that I was looking forward to when I heard "Europe" when I applied for UWP) . This is also the first time since Tucson, Arizona that the cast will be complete onstage! Ah, but they're not complete now because I won't be there.

But going home first will be cool too, I guess!

I have a lot of stories to tell about Leuven (which, by the way is a very cool University town!) like the old buildings, the nice stores, the waffles, the churches, the very touching BTS we had, the amazing CI, and the Filipino students I met...

.. But those stories would have to wait. The next time I get to be online I would probably be in my normal "pambahay" clothes in Binan, Laguna or the very hot and humid Apt 9 in San Lorenzo in Makati. Am excited.

I would LOVE to have a stick of Banana-Cue when I get home.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

In Up With People Land...

Dronten Week was Immigration Week. Immigration is a big issue in the Netherlands and we learned about it a lot from our intensive education sessions and activities. For me, it was one of the busiest, most interesting, most intellectually-challenging, discussion-heaviest week of all.

One part of it was the Up With People Land game which simulated a country with immigration issues. Upon our arrival in Dronten, each cast member was issued a "Passport" which stated our citizenship/migrant status. There were Citizens, Migrant Workers, Legal Aliens and Illegal Aliens. The paperwork also had information about our "personal life" and the role we had to play in the game. There were business owners, employers and employees, asylum seekers, refugees, students, and unemployed people. We had the Justices of Peace who can perform marriages, and the Border Patrol Officers who had the authority to inspect passports. We had education background information and also the types of housing we have: whether we own it, rent it, or if we were homeless.

The game lasted for the whole week and we would role play throughout the day, which included priority rights for Legal Citzens. At the beginning of the week I was issued a Citizen passport ( I was so relieved!) unemployed, with a College education. I was also renting a room with Clara.

At the end of the week, I was able to get a job!

It was really a cool role playing game, that made us learn about the country and human side of immigration. We learned how it was to be robbed of our citizenships (better keep an eye on your passports!) , and to gain better insight on the plight of migrant workers, illegal immigrants, and refugees.

Another part of our Immigration Week was working with Dutch high school students to come up with 5 workable and realistic laws within a new Immigration policy. We had two days of guest speakers on Immigration plus trips to the Mosque and the Refugee Center to learn all that we can, and then we were split into groups to create the policies.

Oh, I had such a headache thinking about the policies, and it was so HARD. It had to be humane , but not too lenient, and had to be realistic enough to work in a country (meaning; no magical fast processing of papers or a totally free country who accepts people with no questions asked). What also made it harder was the diversity of the group and all the different opinions on immigration. It was great hearing thoughts from people from rich countries vs people from poorer countries.

Each group presented their policies to a panel of judges - some staff members plus some Dutch immigration experts, who were to decide which set of new laws were both ideal and applicable to a real country.

The headache was worth it. :-) Our group won!