After one year of moving in The Philippines (which I could say is bad timing-- although I did enjoy the past 8 months before COVID landed here!), there is only one thing I could say. FOOD.IS.THE.BEST. aaand, it will make you gain 10kg and if not... go out there and explore Philippines! To briefly explain to you my background, I grew up in Dubai and had to move back to Philippines to study for college. Since I came to Philippines a lil' too late for enrollment, I took a gap year and decided to explore Manila and work as a CALL CENTER agent. Kinda abused my fluency in English there haha. When I started working, the first thing I wanted to learn was to commute and deal with the rain. See, growing up overseas has made me overly privileged and basically, everything was handed to you, but not here in The Philippines. Tough love; you learn as you go. I also got scammed to buying a 50 pesos bracelet in Baclaran and I walked from Baclaran to MOA since I was too scared to cross the road or ride a taxi. (You would think I would've lost weight but oh god the food is everywhere!) Now lastly, how did I deal with the culture shock? Pretty well actually. People's reaction to me and many foreigners is always 50/50. It's either they would put you on a pedestal or call you "maarte" or "conyo" which I didn't mind because at the end of the day, It was all friendly banter. Plus, Filipinos are the most accepting communities when it comes to foreigners or Filipinos who grew up abroad ;) What was my working experience like? Like I said earlier, I just graduated from highschool, I was 18 and everything was NEW to me. The only thing that got me through that job? call center agents are the BEST people you could be with in the club. My god, in my first 3 months of the jobs we have already drank in all the clubs in BGC and after many many drinks, they're still standing strong. Filipinos are the best drinkers man! Way too good. It was indeed a hard transition from speaking in English 24 hours a day to speaking in Tagalog everywhere since I only spoke Tagalog in my household before. (You wouldn't believe how many times I have overpaid my trips because I didn't know what numbers they were saying.) At the end of the day, with all the stares, I'm glad to be back home. I can't wait to learn more about my country and our culture and hopefully, breaking that Maria Clara mold and many more issues in order for our peace to grow. Padayon!