While our social enterprise bootcamp tasks fell primarily during regular work hours, simultaneously, I found myself bonding with my Big Spoons colleagues, coincidently all male! Admittedly, it was a bit tricky at times as we were all based in different time zones at home and were juggling responsibilities remotely, but we managed to find plenty of time to bond as a team.
When Philippines President Duterte announced a surprise 5-day holiday during our stay, one colleague’s Filipino friend organized a trip and took us up to Baler, the surfing capital of the Philippines. We chowed down on some epic seafood, walked along a hanging bridge, went surfing, tried Tanduay, climbed among the massive Millennium Tree’s vines, hiked up to and went swimming in a waterfall, and wolfed down BBQ grilled in a revamped VW Beetle.
We all went out together a few times each week whether it was an Impact Hub FU Night, eating adobo at Bamboo Garden down the street, or having a few San Miguels and Red Horses at a local bar. I will never forget all of the jokes about the calamansi (the small Filipino lime) and the stories I heard during our time in Manila. It felt like I’d suddenly gained 5 brothers!
What’s next for Big Spoons? Although we’ve dispersed to our various corners of the world - Palawan, Shanghai, London, and for me, soon-to-be Bishkek, we are currently looking to develop new social enterprise consultancy programs with universities around the globe - whether they’re in Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, Vietnam, or even here in the US. I’m particularly keen on exploring opportunities that will support, foster, and mentor female entrepreneurs from emerging economies. Please don’t hesitate to pass along the names of any organizations or universities you reckon would make a good match.
In the meantime, look out for more from Big Spoons and the Philippines! In a place where President Duterte seems to make the most news these days, there are countless people working tirelessly to make a better Philippines by reducing poverty - including my “Filipino grandma”, who repeatedly reminded me to “get married within the next 10 years before her US visa runs out.” ;)
With the bootcamp all wrapped up, it was beginning to set in that I’d be flying out of Manila in only a few hours. In spending all day, four days a week with my team and living and working with my Big Spoons colleagues, I knew the ‘see you laters’ weren’t going to be easy.