Mabuhay, Cebu!

#1 Smile. It Is Free Therapy.

I was greeted with warm smiles and kind eyes the moment our Silkair plane landed in Mactan Cebu International Airport. And this continued on for the rest of our trip – from the ground staff at the airport, to the driver who came to pick us, to the welcoming entourage waiting for us at the hotel entrance. It was a different sort of smile – a refreshing change from the tired ones I see daily at work, nor the pained versions from stressed-out friends in their 40s who are juggling their work, babies and spouses. What a difference a short 4-hour flight has made. I left a city that complained too much about what it did not have, to an island that celebrates even the little things. Singaporeans do not need therapy. We need to change our perspectives.

 

#2 Give Hope. Give Now.

During my trip, I got to know Mr. Manny Osmena, the owner of hotel Mövenpick Hotel, Mactan Island, Cebu (where I stayed. Mr. Osmena is not only an established hotelier and exporter – he is also an acute mobiliser of disaster and social response for social good. I was moved to discover a foundation he had set up, Hope Now Foundation, which has been funding medical responses such as Hospitals On Wheels (HOW) to reach affected rural areas in calamities, as well as lobbying for sustainable development and the end of poverty. Mr Osmena had set Hope Now up after witnessing the aftermath of Supertyphoon Yolanda. Since then, he has been regularly involved in disaster relief and is truly my big friend with an even bigger heart. #EndPoverty

#3 Mabuhay (a Filipino phrase that means “Live life.”)

You only have one life. Live it.

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