by Regin Reyno1. Frankfurt, Germany
Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of traveling outside the country. I always thought of what other country looks like. My curiosity was so high that sometimes when I sleep, I dreamed that I am in a different country.
My parents had the opportunity to travel abroad, and every time they come home from their trip, they will tell me stories about the country that they've visited. That made me more curious and my desire to venture the unknown-to satisfy my curiosity grew stronger. I really want to have a glimpse on what other country looks like-the food, their culture, the money, how do they buy or do business, and everything. So in 2005, God gave me the opportunity not just to have a glimpse, but to fully experience-not just one country-but many countries-in one the most prestigious continents in the world-Europe! A blessing indeed.
|tulips are better than one (toinks)|
In 2005-as what I mentioned in my post about my top ten favorite cities in Europe-I joined one of the most prestigious, the most traveled, and one of the best choirs in the Philippines, the San Beda College Chorale, led by sir Robert Delgado, one of the country's best choral arranger and conductor.
During that time, the choir has a European and Taiwan tour. We were supposed to join Marktoberdorf Choral Competition (one of the most prestigious choral competitions in Europe) in Germany in April, Cornwall All-Male Choral Competition and Festival in UK and Choral Jazz Competition in Germany in May, and then concerts all throughout Europe from June to July-to be concluded with a Cheer Formosa International Choral Festival in Taiwan. That was the original plan. But things didn't went out as planned due to some problems regarding visas. So what happened was, the Marktoberdorf and Corwall were cancelled-but fortunately, the concert tour still continued. So we departed in June 2005 for the choir's 4th European Tour-hence, my first time to be abroad. I was just 21 years old during that time.
Before the departure, the choir's name was changed from San Beda College Chorale to San Beda Male Singers, because it is not directly affiliated to the college (San Beda College) anymore.
|San Beda Male Singers batch 2005|
You can imagine how excited I was. It was my first time to to go another country-my dream since I was a child-and not just any country but countries in Europe!
We boarded China Airlines on the 4th June 2005 at 4:00pm at NAIA (Manila International Airport). It was also my first time to board a plane, so you can imagine how excited I was.
After a 4-hour flight, we landed at Taipei for a layover. My first glimpse and first step in another country. That was really so special for me.
After which, we transferred to a bigger plane and had a 15-hour flight from Taipei to our port of entry, Franfurt AM Main.
These are our different destinations during our 2005 European tour. These are arranged in-order.
Our port of entry. Basically my first taste of Europe. I was so amazed to see their very clean and well organized airport.
We took a train from here and departed for our first leg of the tour-Cloppenburg. The train system in Germany is the best in the world. Deutsche Bahn, so they call it. It was so comfortable, so efficient, and so relaxing. That was one of the best rides of my life. Seeing the green landscape of Europe made me speechless. It was so beautiful. I can only see those in movies before, but there I was, witnessed the marvelous, green landscape, clean and peaceful environment of Europe.
2. Cloppenburg, Germany
|Enjoying authentic German food in Cloppenburg|
We departed at around 8am from Frankfurt, and arrived at Cloppenburg at 5pm. This is the most special place in Germany for me because this was my first experience of Europe. Coming from Asia, I really admire the cleanliness of the place. And since it was summer during that time the temperature was just right. At 9pm, the sun is still shining. I enjoyed the view at our host's balcony while sipping a cup of hot chocolate.
We had concerts in the churches here.
Thank you so much tita Gloria, tante Magda, and tante Marion for hosting us here.
3. Hamburg, Germany
|at the city center in Hamburg with our host families|
|a ferry ride during our Hamburg-Oslo overnight bus trip|
Thanks you so much tito Jun and the rest of the Filipinos who hosted us in Hamburg.
press release from Manila Bulletin newspaper
4. Trondheim, Norway
|relaxing in tito Gunnar's house. One of our hosts in Trondheim|
We did several performances here including a concert during the Philippine Independence Day celebration.
Trondheim is the cleanest and freshest cities that I have been. This is the land of the midnight sun. Even at 11pm, it is still bright outside. We enjoyed the Norwegian meals here, especially waffles. Because of the low-population in this country, it is so quiet and peaceful. The crime rate is almost zero. I will definitely want to go back to this beautiful city someday.
Thank you tita Elmie and tito Stig for always hosting us.
|our performance during the Philippine Independence day in Trondheim, Norway|
5. Skien, Norway
6. Stockholm, Sweden
|after dinner in one of the houses of our host in Stockholm|
We did lots of concerts here. After our concerts, we usually roamed the city by foot, and went from houses to houses for dinners offered by Filipinos here-a very beautiful city indeed. Thank you so much tita Vicky and the rest of the Filipinos who welcomed us.
P.S. The ice cream here is so delicious.
|cruising the Baltic sea|
7. Helsinki, Finland
8. Tallinn, Estonia
|along Tallinn's old streets|
photo credit: Micke AsklanderWe again boarded a ferry called Regina Baltica from Helsinki. Cruising across the Baltic sea is once a lifetime experience. We used to take ferries in the Philippines before when budget airlines were not yet common, and I really enjoyed it. For me, that's the most relaxing and enjoyable mode of transportation.
So boarding this ferry in not just any sea-but the Baltic sea- is so awesome!
In Tallinn, we stayed in a luxurious 4-star hotel, courtesy of the Estonian government, because we were the one who sang in their signing ceremony with the Philippine government-making us the first Filipino choir to sing in Estonia. Ambassador Victoria Bataclan was the one who invited us to sing. After the signing, we offered a concert in an outdoor hall in the city.
Tallinn is a very wonderful experience. We ate in cafes along the streets, and as usual, after eating-we would sing in the cafe or in the streets. People would stop what they are doing and listen intently to our songs. We also visited the Tallinn Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Treading the city's streets during the day and at night was a wonderful experience. We were able to fully enjoy and appreciate the culture of this former Soviet Union city. Thank you so much tita Vicky.
|In front of our hotel in Tallinn|
10. Helsingborg, Sweden
|Singing in an old castle in Helsingborg|
10. Berlin, Germany
|a post in front of the Reichstag building in Berlin|
I stayed in one of the Filipino families there alone. Usually we stayed in our host's house by pairs, but this time, I was assigned to be alone in one family. My host bought me an ride-all-you can ticket for buses and trains for the whole day called tageskarte, for me to explore the city as they were very busy for work.
That was one of the most daring and courageous thing I've done when I was 21 y.o. I explored the city alone. My first time to being abroad and there I was, exploring the city alone in which majority of the people cannot speak English and the signs are all in German. I was lost quite a few times, but fortunately was able to find my way back to my host's house.
My host also took me fishing in the city's river. Yes, the city's rivers are so clean and full of fish.
Thank you so much tito Dodong and family for your hospitality.
|singing at the Philippine Embassy in Berlin|
|The Berlin wall|
11. Heidelberg, Germany
|train ride from Berlin to Heidelberg|
This city is the 5th largest city in Braden Wudenberg, and the statue of our national hero can also be found here. We were not able to visit Rizal's statue because of lack of time, but glad we were able to the next year. That can be found in my next post.
12. Karlsruhe, Germany
When we were in this city, the Tour de France passed by- but we weren't able to see it as we weren't aware of it during that time. I, together with 3 of my companions stayed in the house of a Filipino priest. We stayed in a building near the church. His name is father Luis. We had a great time here. He even took us to a nearby French city called Strasbourg.
In our performances, we met lots of Filipinos as well as locals. We even met one of Philippine's supermodels by the name of Joyce Pelarsky.
Thank you so much father Luis for taking care of us.
13. Strasbourg, France
|in front of Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg|
14. Backnang, Germany
Located in the Bavaria, this town was where we relaxed after hectic schedules of concerts, performances, and diplomatic visits to embassies. Our host, tito Rudy fetch us from the bus station. He didn't bring his car during that time, but instead, he let us rode a taxi. It was a wonderful experience. Taxis in Germany are all Mercedes Benz, so it was my desire to experience one, and here I was now riding one of those Benz taxis. The suspension, and handling was superb-a Mercedes Benz indeed. Thank you so much tito Rudy and tita Luz.
14. Munich, Germany
15. Stuttgart, Germany
16. Frankfurt, Germany
After almost 2 months in Europe, it was now time for us to go to Taiwan to attend an international choral festival. So on July 15, 2005, we again went to Frankfurt AM Main and boarded China Airlines bound for Taiwan to complete our 2005 tour.
Having to experience Europe was one of the best things that happened to me. I experienced a lot of "first times". I was awed, amazed, stunned, surprised, mesmerized by the beauty, elegance, infrastructures, cleanliness, culture, and vegetation of Europe. It was definitely a memorable trip because we just didn't tour Europe and took some photos and slept in impersonal hotels-just like what most tourists do-but instead we were able to immersed ourselves fully to the place. We slept in the houses of locals and expats living there, we ate what the locals are eating, we did what they were doing, and we had ample time to just relax, feel and experience every places that we went to. Our host were also so kind to show and tour us around and let is experience the most delicious foods both in their homes and in restaurants. It was really an experience that I will never forget. 2 months in Europe.
|Singing our farewell song to our host|
We Are One by Allen Pote arr. Robert Delgado
Thank you so much sir Robert Delgado and all of those who hosted us in Europe. Mabuhay kayong lahat!
European Part II here