Madelin Marie Penman

Madelin Marie Penman

Just a Converse wearing Canadian girl wanting to change things up, and change the world while she's at it.

Post card style post

 Posted by Madelin Marie Penman at 6:04 pm  Philippines  Comments Off on Post card style post
Jun 292014

Hey all!

So sorry I haven’t written sooner! I wish I had better access to wifi in Romblon Province, but it turned out pen and paper was the best way for me to journal about my experiences volunteering and exploring the Philippines. Maybe one day I will transcribe the chicken scratch in my notebook for reader consumption– if I do, I’ll leave the product here. For now, I am waiting to board my plane out of the Philippines, and feeling sad. I loved my time in Romblon Province. I loved learning and teaching and sharing and experiencing. I will really miss this country, and the beautiful people who call this place home.

Wish you were here!


Bad Madelin, Bad!

 Posted by Madelin Marie Penman at 7:12 pm  Philippines  Comments Off on Bad Madelin, Bad!
Jun 132014

I have an update today that has nothing to do with volunteering. This is so unfair of me, I know– I’ve been volunteering for two weeks now and I have posted nothing about my placement. But I need to share this with someone: I am sitting in an Italian cafe right now in the capital city of Romblon Province (Romblon City) eating Nutella pie and drinking a cappuccino. The significance of this is huge, given that I’ve eaten nothing in the past two weeks that even remotely resembles Nutella or espresso. What’s more, I spoke to the cafe owner and she just invited me to attend her son’s beauty pageant this evening. She’s trying to set me up with him, I think. Regardless, I said yes! I am told that beauty pageants are very popular here in the Philippines, along with cock-fighting, and male on male dancing.

Sweat dripping

 Posted by Madelin Marie Penman at 6:18 pm  Philippines  Comments Off on Sweat dripping
Jun 012014

When I booked my flight path to and from the Philippines I gave myself a couple cushion days on each end of my four week volunteer schedule. I counted on being jet legged on my arrival, and getting stuck in a typhoon on the way back from the island to the airport. While I can’t speak for the latter, I can say that my jet lag concerns were for naught. Other than feeling uncomfortably hot (surely a consequence of the heat and humidity here) I haven’t experienced the unfortunate symptoms of twelve hour time travel into the future. Today is my third full day in Manila. I appreciate the complexity of this city of 7 million, the irony of the flip flop/ helmet wearing motorcyclists, and the hilarity of the goats (live or dried) lining the streets of the busy highway. Here, I had the opportunity to attend worship service at a church with a tin roof in the morning and walk around an enormous shopping centre worthy of architectural awards in the evening. I road in the back of an jeepney– a stainless steel tin people moving machine on the way to the bank today to exchange money. I like how every female cashier, bank teller, and saleswoman is dressed identical, down to the colour of their lipstick. I like how the male security guards greet everyone with ‘hello sir, good bye madam.’ I like the sound of the language spoken quickly and with the occasional introduction of an English term, that keeps me guessing as to what the conversation might be about. I dislike the blantant poverty.

I am excited to begin the long trek to Romblon Province today, and I am anxious to see the city of San Augustin, where I will be spending the next four weeks volunteering. After language and culture orientation yesterday afternoon, I cannot wait to begin my placement. I was asked by a volunteer coordinator if I would like to organize a book club at a local grade school. A BOOK CLUB!!!! Yes, actually, I would.



(‘Madelicious’ was the name of a store I saw yesterday.)

Rising up

 Posted by Madelin Marie Penman at 10:16 am  Philippines  Comments Off on Rising up
May 312014

It may be just after 5am, but I can already feel the heat of the day seeping into the volunteer dormitory in Manila where I am currently staying. I don’t think it was the heat that woke me from my floor mattress at this early hour– I slept plenty well last night.  I think it was the promise of another day of interesting and new that beckoned me to reality. Yesterday was my first full day in this busy city, and it was both a day of recovery and discovery. When I woke yesterday morning it was mid-morning, and I had rested well after my long flight path and the traumatic taxi trek from the airport to the dormitory on Manila’s lawless roads at night. Breakfast of cereal, therefore, was quickly followed by lunch of fish heads and bodies and rice, prepared for us by the hospitable volunteer coordinators.  Their hospitality foreshadowed what would be an afternoon of immersion into Filipino hospitality. Two Australian volunteers and I set out for a walk with and without purpose. We stopped by the drug store to purchase toiletries; ironically, I will need to wash the bottles of Dove brand shampoo and conditioner before I use them. Then we wandered to the market along the busy Commonwealth highway. Not surprisingly, the market provided all the sensory elements of culture shock- new sights, smells, sounds, and sense of  community. We were greeted with a friendly smile, or friendly ‘Hey Dude’ by every salesman, motortricyclist, and child. One little girl invited us to Church with her, where we were embraced by a congregation of children and mothers, and a worship band preparing for Sunday’s service. We were fussed over, prayed over, and generally overwhelmed with the generosity of the strangers we had only just met. We were brought cakes and treats, ice candy and ice cold coke, and hot bananas. We sang songs from Frozen and sang our national anthems, traded Facebook contacts and traded stories of home, took selfies and took shelter from the tremendous afternoon rain. When the rain ceased and it was time to leave, we were invited to a 7am church service this morning. I think I will attend, if only to thank everyone again for the incredible experience yesterday, and to gift something to the little girl who gave me a sparkly hair clip.


Whoa, this is happening

 Posted by Madelin Marie Penman at 7:55 pm  Philippines  Comments Off on Whoa, this is happening
May 292014

Until a few short hours ago it had hardly settled in that I am leaving Canada for one month to volunteer in the Philippines.  I feel the occasional pang of reality which I experience in the form of cramps in my stomach reminding me that something new and exciting is happening. Frankly, I’m still listening to CBC Radio 2 as I wait to board my connecting plane in Hong Kong to Manila and, with the exception of the sea and mountains I can see from the terminal window, I can hardly tell I’ve left Toronto airport. Unlike Toronto Pearson, the free wifi service here is glorious. I don’t trust my iPad however to endure the increasing quickness of my fingers typing this entry, watching my gate expectedly for a boarding call. For that reason I am going to end this first online journal entry now, promising that I am well and that I will write again just as soon as I can get access to the Internet again.


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