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Two years ago, my mom’s side of the family was hit hard when her father, my grandfather, or lolo in Tagalog, passed away. In order to attend his funeral, we were required to make the long trip to the Philippines from where we were currently residing, in Hawaii. I had visited the Philippines one other time, when I was seven, and I was now fourteen. I thought that I would be going for a funeral, but what I got out of the trip was so much more thanf I could have ever expected. The Philippines is a series of islands in Asia that make up one country. There life style is similar to the one we lead here in the US, but only in the rich areas like Manila. The rest of the country is plagued, or blessed, with poverty. Most of the living conditions there are the kind that most people here cannot even imagine. The houses are small, two rooms at the most for post places, with dirt floors and tin roofs. And yet, these are some of the happiest people that I have ever seen. Family is the most important thing in the Philippines, and while we may think that is the case here, it really is an eye opener to visit another country. Respect for your elders, whether that be your parent’s, uncles, aunts, even an older cousin, is held in very high regard. Children are expected to take care of their parent’s when they are no longer able to take care of themselves, and they are expected to help out the family when it is needed. I only spent a week there, but it was a week that I will never forget. My family picked us up on a boat, and from there, we spent a couple of hours just watching the ocean pass us by. When we reached the island where my mother is from , there was much excitement in the air. My dad is Caucasian, which is something that most Filipinos admire. Most children on that island had never seen a white man before, so there was a lot of crowding around my lola’s house. People were curious to see my father, and my mother. A funeral is a time of great mourning everywhere, even the Philippines. But in the Philippines, it is also accompanied with mass amounts of food. There is hardly ever any kind of event without a lot of food being a part of the festivities. Filipino’s always cook large quantities, wanting to make sure their guests have enough to eat, and to make sure that no one is shy to eat too much. I can still picture all the food sitting there, waiting to be eaten. While it may not have been a very glamorous place to go, the Philippines is a place that can teach us all a great lesson. Be grateful for what we have, and to not waste time pining after that which we do not.