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Literally warm welcome and a tropical New Year’s eve

Filipinos are generally very friendly, polite, and welcoming—as is Arthur’s family— who all gave me a warm welcome when I arrived. It made it easy for me to settle in quickly. I’ll be living with them here in San Remigio, in the northern part of Cebu.

After spending Christmas in Cebu City, resting the jetlag away, a New Year’s eve beach party was waiting for me in San Remigio. This was my first time, ever, spending New Year’s eve in a warm surrounding. New Year’s eve for me is usually synonymous with snow and ice, so this was a new experience.

At the beach, they set a big table full of delicious and exotic (for me) Filipino food. I don’t even know what half of the stuff on the table were. Surrounding us were kerosene lamps inserted on bamboo sticks, which were firmly planted on the sand, giving an orangey illumination to the whole setup.

The centerpiece, of course, was the lechon. A whole roasted pig— as in whole, its head and feet intact. Delicious! Probably one of the best food the Philippines has to offer.

A pig roasted on a spit

New Year’s eve was a wonderful night at the beach with the family as we waited for the new year to arrive. We, together with the kids went night swimming for the meantime. What a very tropical New Year’s eve experience for me. We had such a blast!

I was taking it all in— the atmosphere, the stars in the sky, the warm sea, the company, the food; we were all ready for the new year 2014. It didn’t have big fireworks like we’re used to in Europe, but instead, it had plenty of loud noises from car horns, firecrackers, and self-made bamboo cannons. I can’t wait to see what the new year will bring.