Enter the London Blue Badge trainers

Some photos taken by Macel, a fellow Mabuhay Guide, before the training with the instructors from the London Blue Badge:

Having fun with Macel’s Mac. This was a typical scene in the lecture room.

A Tour in the National Museum. This was for a lecture with leading art critic Eric Torres.
The proper way of eating a banana. Yes, this was part of our training.
The Handlers. From L-R (top): Goya Reinoso and Isa Alejandrino. 
From L-R (bottom): Susan Calo-Medina, Project Director; 
Nicky Godfrey-Evans and Dr. Roger Rajah from the London Blue Badge

The three-week knowledge building course transformed into a person who has a deeper understanding about my people. It was enough for me to be more aware of the qualities that make us unique, our flaws, and our best points. I’m more confident in talking about my country. 
After enough brain work, we were then taught by Lia Bernardo on the subject of Personality Development and proper grooming. I was a bit hesitant at first because I have my hair long and decided not to cut it. 
All of the trainees were asked to leave the lecture room. We’ll all be called inside for a one-on-one consultation with her. I was already conceding that yes, she will ask me to cut my hair to look presentable. When it was my turn, I was asked to sit in front of her.
She looked at me closely and remarked that having long hair looks good on me. To my surprise, she just advised me to tie it properly and make sure that I look neat!
Thank, god.
* * * 
On our final session with her, we had dinner in Aubergine, one of the best restaurants in The Fort in Bonifacio Global City. The topic was dinner etiquette. I learned how to eat fish with a knife and fork and also the proper way of eating a banana. There is a way, folks. I’m not kidding.
It was also during that night when we finally met our trainers from the London Blue Badge. They were introduced briefly to us by our Susan Calo-Medina, our project director. One of them is a fine Englishwoman named Nicky Godfrey-Evans and the to other instructor was Dr. Roger Rajah who looks Filipino. We found out on our first day with him that he’s from Sabah, Malaysia.
* * *
I have a confession from a tour guide who should be confident in his/her English. My experience whenever I talk to Caucasians are a bit uncomfortable on my end. I somehow grasp for words to get a conversation going. It’s probably because my English is not the type that can be heard on the radio. It’s not too basic and it’s enough to get around. A lot of people tell me that it improves whenever I take alcohol. They said that I turn out to be witty and bold.
It’s time to do it without the alchohol.
* * *
Nicky Godfrey-Evans. She’s one of the best mentors that I’ve ever had.

I’m glad that my impression on Nicky is correct. She’s approachable and very encouraging. On our first day of with her, she talked about the role of a tourist guide and its importance. Her way of speaking is so refined that it does remind of Mary Poppins (a colleague is right in saying this).

Roger Rajah. He wants us to cover and master basic guiding techniques.

I thought at first that Roger was a serious person. He turned out to be friendly but frank in sharing his views on proper guiding techniques. What I fondly remember about him is the way that he uses links in his commentaries. Links are very useful to relate to your guests and get your point across more effectively.

The lectures were done inside the auditorium of the Department of Tourism. We spent days inside listening and adding input about guiding. In our next sessions, we were asked to choose a photo from a table and make a commentary out of it. I took the photo of the San Agustin Church.

Commentaries should be structured and should cover the must-tells, should-tells, and could tells. People recall 20% of what they hear and 30% of what they see IF you are lucky. The photos would serve as our Top Visual Priority shortened to TVP. Think of it as something that stands out in a picture.

The most difficult part of this seminar was that guides were forbidden to move their hands while talking. The instructors have a point: it distracts the guests. It is important that they enjoy your commentary with the guide’s interpretation of the information that he has.

After learning the basics in delivering commentaries, we were headed outside to ride a bus and deliver commentaries while on the move. A more difficult way of guiding.

– End of Part 3 –