Culture Quest 2023
Lauder Culture Quest 2023 began in Cebu City, a bustling island in the Philippine archipelago recognized as the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines. Following a Welcome Dinner for the program’s 33 participants on December 28, 6 teams set out to explore the city’s landmarks such as Basilica del Santo Niño, the oldest Roman Catholic church in the Philippines, the Cebu Taoist Temple, Fort San Pedro, and the Yap-San Diego Ancestral House Museum. Beyond the city’s historical center, teams ventured around the island to explore its unique geography. Sites visited included the turquoise waters of Kawasan Falls, the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, the town of Moalboal, known for its snorkeling and famous Sardine Run, and Oslob, a unique place for swimming with whale sharks. All teams reunited to welcome the New Year at a party in Cebu City.
On January 1, the group departed for the pristine beaches of El Nido, Palawan. Here, teams toured around the various islands by boat, capturing photos of the steep limestone cliffs and rock formations emerging majestically from crystal clear waters. Teams also kayaked through lagoons, lakes, and caves, sampled local Filipino street food, and enjoyed breathtaking sunsets from secluded beaches.
Lauder Culture Quest provided ample opportunities for local interactions. Teams earned extra points by meeting and interviewing local business owners and government officials, engaging in bartering at the local market, and documenting local traditions as well as exploring the presence of outside cultural influences in Filipino daily life. The Quest concluded with a group dinner in El Nido, filled with karaoke and good vibes.