OLANGAPO CITY, Philippines - Sailors from the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) and Marines from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) conducted several Community Service [COMSERV] events during their first port visit, Sept. 19.
One of the COMSERV events was held at Gordon College, a public community college in Olangapo City, Philippines.
Representatives from the college taught more than a dozen Sailors and Marines about the Filipino culture.
“It was a great experience,” said Marine Sgt. Nicholas Martin. “I enjoyed getting an in depth look into a culture so different and new from my own.”
Along with cultural enlightenment, participants also learned how to speak some basic sentences in Tagalog, one of the major Filipino languages.
Midway through the class some of the Filipino students performed a traditional dance to entertain the Sailors and Marines.
“I was most impressed with how similar Filipino and American culture is as far as family and togetherness,” said Aviation Boatswains Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Jacob Long.
After the presentation, the group visited the Olangapo City Museum where they received a history lesson on Subic Bay and Olangapo City. The museums’ exhibits date from the early 1900’s to the present day.
“The goal of our COMSERV is to build better relationships with host countries, and so Sailors and Marines can get a better appreciation of where they come from,” said Cmdr. Joel Morton, Boxer Chaplain.
“We go out to these schools and churches expecting to bless the people who we visit, but we meet them and come to find out we’re the ones being blessed,” Morton said.