(Hong Seokgi – Longlong Student)

It was just two months ago when I was still in South Korea. I worried about my gap year. As a result, I considered about my destination in the Philippines. Which is better to go to Cebu or Baguio.

Eventually, I decided to go to HELP English Language Program Academy in Baguio City, and it is a really good choice for me.

There are three awesome things about this place which they call the city of Pines: The weather is nice and cool.

Most foreigners who have been to the Philippines think the weather of this country is hot. HELP Academy is located in a town which is just after Baguio – the humble town of La Trinidad. Baguio city and La Trinidad are in the Cordillera Region that is composed of the high lands. For this reason, the weather here is surprisingly not hot. It is cold early morning and, in the evening, and it is cool in the middle of the day.

TIP: Bring some warm clothes with you – long sleeves and long pants. The temperature is nothing compared to winter, however students tend to get sic because the environment is different. We also stay inside the building most of the time and air conditioner is not even a choice. Vitamins and medicines are also advised to be taken with you especially if your body has difficulty in adapting to a new environment.

Longlong Campus has a lot of crazy cool teachers.

Talking about some sensitive topics like religion, policies, and even exchanging green jokes is not a problem. Just make sure you are open-minded and not sensitive when you opt to try it. Do not worry about it as teachers are also careful on who they should have this kind of conversation. Aside from that, they can still make proper jokes. Teachers are open to dialogue with students for language development purposes, and I am well-aware that students have their own preferences on things to talk about. In my opinion, a conversation on a topic we are interested is more helpful since we have a lot of ideas which we can share, and teachers will guide us on how to express them effectively and efficiently in English.

It is not all about English.

We can enjoy our life in the Philippines. I traveled to six cities. Among them, Baguio is the best. I am not the type who considers safety much, though for other people, it is of importance. Baguio City is one the safest city in the Philippines. In addition, people have good English pronunciation compared to others. The nearest beach to the city is just one to two hours where you can have surfing experience as well as other water activities. I will not put aside the caves, mountains, and waterfalls which are common within the region. Every after one program (Fourth weeks), students are given time to go on a vacation outside the city. However, before you go out of town, Baguio is also “The summer capital of the Philippines” which you must explore and experience the authentic lifestyle of the native residents.

In addition to the three thins mentioned above, I would like to share a trivial tip about HELP.

I think the most important thing is Eating. Almost all student can agree that this institution offers pretty good meals. However, the amount served is not always enough. At this time, if you say “Just little more please.”, you can get a small piece of meat. But if you say “Isa pa po!”, you can get a huge slice of meat and fruit. This expression mean ‘One more, please!”. Sometimes learning useful Tagalog expressions is very useful.

Another fundamental thing is the ESCAPE. If you are a lucky person, you can use another method, but in normal cases, there are three ways to do this.

First, you can ride a jeepney which is the common public transportation of Filipinos provided by the academy. You should wait at the entrance earlier than the others. Simply say, first-come first-ride basis. It is free!

The second way is by a taxi. You can call a cab through the security guard or use the Grab Taxi application. I do not really recommend this because it is hard to get a driver accept your booking as Longlong is a bit far from downtown.

In relation to this, this is the Final way to escape. The Longlong jeepney station is near though you need to walk uphill because the road is quite steep. Therefore, if you prefer not to go out on the regular schedule, you can without wasting money for a taxi fare. It is also possible to wait for either a jeepney or a taxi in front of guardhouse at the highway if you are willing to wait for quite a long time unless luck is on your side. On the other hand, you can benefit from it one way fare is P8.00 and time is yours.