Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My First Trial Guiding

I cannot believe it’s almost the end of our training. This week we take our final exams, 1 written practical exam, a bus, a site, and a walking tour exam, and then another knowledge exam next week, then that’s it. That’s 5 weeks baby! 5 WEEKS!

We have spent the first 2 weeks in a classroom, wanting to get out, and spent the last 2 weeks outside, wanting to stay inside. Haha. I have been in Intramuros for 2 consecutive weeks, I know every crack on the street, every street children in the block, where to buy the best banana-Q and know the guards’ faces by heart. I know (almost) every piece of furniture inside Casa Manila, know where you can find toilet facilities in the whole of Intramuros, I’ve gotten to know Rizal a lot better, know each and every statue along Roxas Blvd, and learned more about the Catholic faith having spending so much time in San Agustin church. I say, I have never known more about my country and its history than I ever had in 25 years… and I am damn proud of it.

By being in this program, I feel that I have turned over a new leaf. It has opened my eyes and widened even more my interests. I realized so much more about myself, the discipline I apparently had, enhanced my public speaking skills, and to top it all off, made 22 new friends.

Last Sunday, my friends and I went back to Intramuros (because we haven’t had enough being there just 6 days in a week) we decided to go back and practice. They needed to get some information and I wanted to practice giving somebody a tour. Walking within San Agustin church, I saw a married couple, huddled on the bench and studying the pitiful Xeroxed leaflet from the San Agustin church, obviously trying to figure out where they are and what they’re seeing. I approached them and introduced myself, I said I am a trainee to be a tour guide, under the Dept. of Tourism, and we will be having an exam this coming week, and would appreciate very much if they can give me their time, so I can tour them around the church. Initially, I guess they were hesitant to say yes, and told me that they only have around 10 minutes; but I said the whole tour of the church would take around 30-45 minutes, but in anytime they would like to end the tour, they are more than welcome to.

Finally, Dana and Serni said yes, after selling my free services to them, honestly, it wasn’t that hard. Haha. So I started to give them a tour and they were so happy how I explained everything to them, they were enjoying every minute of it and so was I. I felt more confident, knew how it felt to do “actual” guiding. It is not at all stiff how I imagined it to be, it was just PURE FUN! It was so fulfilling seeing their faces lit up whenever I give them an interesting fact.

They were most impressed with the tromp l’oeil (trick the eye painting) ceiling of San Agustin. We got to see it up close when we went up the choral deck and the view was a magnificent.

After the tour, I asked if they wanted to see another place, called Casa Manila, and they said yes! And so we ended up spending around an hour and a half together (even though at first they said they only had 10 minutes haha)! It was so fun. Serni, who was apparently a Fil-Am, told me they have travelled all around the world and said my tour was world class! Of course I told them about our London blue badge trainer, and how this project was such a great opportunity for me and my colleagues and we all feel so lucky to have been selected to be part of it.

That day felt so good and gave me so much confidence. Even though I went home with a sprained ankle, I was skipping with happiness. I emailed Dana and Serni the next day, to reply to the questions I wasn’t able to answer J Now, we’re facebook friends. It is just so cool, life is just full of surprises!

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