#TayTakesTaiwan: MTV Welcome to My Crib (The Philippines)

#TayTakesTaiwan: MTV Welcome to My Crib (The Philippines)


As the year slowly comes to a close, we all grow more and more impatient to break free from 2am Carrier study sessions and into the vast magical wonderland of adequate sleep and sunburns– summer. Here in Taiwan, the finish line isn’t really in sight yet since we don’t finish until June 22nd, but the craving for summer is still all too prominent. That being said, I decided to make the tough choice to travel and break the alliteration of my hashtag, truly a 21st century tragedy. So, without further ado, here’s a few pro tips from #TaytakesPhilippines.

Background: I traveled with a friend from class to the island of Palawan, in the southwest of the Philippines, and I now highly recommend it to anyone who’s looking for an adventure. If you’re trying to form an image in your head, imagine heaven and then add an ice cream cone in your hand and that’s basically the beauty of Palawan.
First and foremost, weigh your luggage! Unfortunately, we did not think to do this and ended up wearing 75% of the contents of our luggage on our person on the way home to avoid paying overweight fees. Always an adventure folks! At least we left with our digni…..oh wait.
The main mode of transportation is Tuk-Tuk (also called Trikes, basically just a motorbike with a big cart strapped on the side) or motorbike. Both are pretty cheap, but if you do decide to go the motorbike route and drive yourself make sure the bike works! Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well, when you rent a bike during the day, you might not think to check the headlights. However, checking headlights right away? Perfect plan. Checking headlights when you leave a remote beach at sunset? Not so much, unless you enjoy the thrill of riding into the abyss with potholes three feet deep. What a rush! Thankfully, we had nifty friends who rode on all sides of us to share their headlights. I guess you could say there was never a dull moment (pun definitely intended).

The food is one of my favorite parts of any place I get to visit, and the Philippines definitely did not disappoint. The area most people stay in when visiting Palawan, El Nido, has plenty of food options, my favorite of which was pineapple chicken *cue dream sequence.* BUT if you’re looking to try some classic Filipino food, the most recommended is always Halo-Halo & Balut. But do brace yourselves, balut is a fertilized duck egg that has been boiled/steamed before it got the chance to finish developing. That being said, I didn’t quite have the stomach for it this time around, but a friend who did try it reports: “tastes like chicken soup. Good!’ However, I DID try halo halo and let me just tell you, it was a religious experience. It’s a dessert featuring shaved ice, jelly, various gummies, beans, milk, and even more depending on where you get it. Basically, picture snow cone meets strawberry milk meets Scooby Doo gummies. 10/10 would recommend.

My next pro tip would have to be that if you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to simultaneously scream and watch your hopes for prosperity shrivel and die while on vacation, buy an “I don’t want to talk about politics” shirt! You probably won’t encounter this, but I didn’t think I would either, so better safe than sorry! Never did I think I’d come half way across the world to be on a boat trip with a fellow American who tries to give me a 15-minute lecture on why women’s rights are silly because women are “asking to be raped.” But it happened! Fun times! T-shirt probably available on amazon and can be recycled for family reunions.
After twenty years of having skin comparable to red velvet cake whenever in the sun for more than 30 minutes, you’d think I would’ve picked up on this tip by now, but surprise! I still didn’t think to use sunscreen! Now I have gotten burnt quickly before, but nowhere close to the speed of my sunburn in the Philippines. Thankfully I managed to burn a different part of my body each day so that by the end of the week I was evened out.
Overall, Palawan was stunning and really made me appreciate the opportunity to meet people and experience cultures from all over. And good news! You don’t have to go to the opposite side of the world to experience how nifty people are! Go talk to someone new today. Humans are neat.



About the Author

Taylor Herndon

Taylor Herndon

Writer & Editor

Taylor is a sophomore theatre and SMAD: digital video cinema double major who is STOKED to be working with Reduced Pulp. She overuses to word “nifty,” and is a firm believer that Kevin was the superior Jonas Brother.
When not doing theatre/SMAD things, she can likely be found studying Chinese, taking pictures, stalking the quad cats, or thinking of a witty tweet. In the future, she hopes to act, travel, and break the world record for the most coffee dates in one week. She is so excited to share her love of the arts with JMU & you can follow along with her on twitter at @freckleface_tay.



my fingers ache for chalk dust,

for paint stains and captive sketches.

but I am no painter

and have no skill with still images,

crafted by my hand,

of sights I can’t describe.


my brain aches for words,

whose company I keep,

but who often overstay their

welcome or expire

before I’ve opened the carton.


my head aches for faded conversations

in smoky rooms,

with friends whose names I’m afraid

to write on my heart in Sharpie,

but who have already made their nests in my left atrium.


I want to express and impress

and cypress.

the last of which is to say:



but I guess I don’t know

when to stop yearning

and when to

just sprout.

About the Author

Stephen Evans

Guest contributor

Mr. Sandman

Mr. Sandman

Mr. Sandman,

Come blow me a kiss.

I wish to remember

How to drift.


Insomnia has consumed

My imagination.


Flashes zoom by,


The sky tries

To make illusion

Of Night.


I’m no fool, yet

I lie to imagine


Leaping Stars,


Eating the Moon.


The flocks’ overhead,

Mind’s in a jumble.

All in all is a riddle,

I just gotta go to bed.


I Daze at the clock.

Recall my luck.

I’ve swam in waters,

Where Romans have drowned.


The shadows cling

To the walls.

If I sleep

I can battle them all,

Safe and sound.


Rainbows and unicorns

Await me,

Gathering butterflies,

Should fulfill my dreams.


But reality tears

At each seam.

I’m in a lull,

Awaken me.

About the Author

Florence Babatunde

Guest contributor



White surrounds the one who wants to play,
The young one, who wishes to seize the day.
I, the wanderer who must take her care,
Am dazed by the shine of icy glare.

The glare catches my empty gaze,
Stirring me from my mental haze.
Like a beam straight from the sky,
Wakes a feeling, makes me want to fly.

Step by step, minute by minute,
The breeze makes the air quiet.
The snow that’s falling slow,
Makes the ice patch thrive and glow.

Ice beneath my feet,
In cold, breathing deep.
An hour seems to pass,
The ice shatters like a pane of glass.

Shards of crystal stare at me,
They pause, then shift suddenly.
What once was cracked and broken,
Aligns itself in order again.

Through grey and icy weather,
Broken bonds form back together.
Though the cold may freeze me,
The warmth of light will free me.

The young one tumbles and sings,
Always pleased by the simple things.
As she makes her way back to me,
I once again feel that I am free.

About the Author

Thomas Marshall

Guest Contributor



I didn’t notice the cyclist behind me

while I was walking to the coffee shop,

so he coughed and spat onto the sidewalk

to let me know that he was there.

I sat uncomfortably close to a guy with a lot of tattoos

and his ex-girlfriend (with a lot of tattoos)

who is complaining to him about her new boyfriend

(who may or may not have any tattoos)

because the new boyfriend is celibate and it has been two months

and she thinks that she is in hell,

and the man just nods,

choking down his tuna salad on croissant.

I want to watch his face

as she discusses her agony,

but I point my gaze away from them

and take a too-big sip of my chai tea

which burns my throat and chest.

I imagine that’s how he must feel

because she just    keeps    talking,

and he keeps nodding,

and I think that he ought to cough and spit

to let her know that he is there.

About the Author

Julia Lewis

Julia Lewis

Writer & Editor

Julia is a junior Media Arts and Design major with a concentration in Digital Video and Cinema,
pursuing minors in sociology and creative writing. When she isn’t writing dance-heavy sketch comedy and managing the PR for Maddy Night Live, she’s a writer and editor for Pulp. Though her current career goal is to write for television, her varied interests (including poetry, layout design, and creative essay-writing) keep her in a fun state of uncertainty about the future.
She has been the recipient of the Madison Cinema Studies Award, the Blanche Garrett Memorial Endowment and the Madison Screenwriting Scholarship, all within the School of Media Arts and Design. 

Mother of Sharks

No one knew exactly when she got here.  A few people had had classes with her, and reported her as being mostly quiet and smelling vaguely aquatic. Her family must have been rich, because people had been seeing her for almost six years now. She was quintessential to every JMU student’s college experience; tens of thousands of people couldn’t imagine college without Mother of Sharks ever-present in the background.

She sat at the small peninsula that jutted out into Newman Lake, with the branches of the low-hanging willows brushing at her back. She usually had a hand or foot in the water, no matter how cold it was. A few people liked to hang around her—she wouldn’t talk much, if at all, but her company was comforting. Once someone asked why she was always touching the water, and she said she needed to be there if her shark needed her.

Now, Newman Lake wasn’t a proper lake. It was spoon-shaped, manmade, and wove its way through southwest campus. The part of the lake that represented the “handle” of the spoon ran over large, smooth rocks, and was thin and shallow enough to be considered a brook— and it even babbled. Students weren’t allowed to jump it in anymore due to a syphilis outbreak in 1991 after Sigma Sigma Sigma made their spring pledges skinny dip in it. Every Saturday morning, a couple local rednecks would park their cars next to the lake and try to fish. They never caught anything, as the lake was too polluted and stagnant to support aquatic life more complex than an STD. As far as the student body knows, her shark was the only fish in the lake.

It is important to mention that, despite all this, she had a shark. It stayed in Newman Lake. Some people said it was a baby Great White. Others said it was a tiger shark. A minority of students vehemently believed it to be a smooth-hound shark. Mother of Sharks didn’t know. Someone asked her once, and she said she wasn’t sure—she just knew that the shark was hers. It was gray, and it was bigger than Mother of Sharks, but it liked to lay its head on her lap and be petted. It purred.

Every year, there would be a group of people—usually freshmen, usually girls—who liked to spend their time next to Mother of Sharks. Every year, they asked the same questions, and every year, they got the same answers.

“How did you get a shark?”

“She’s followed me around my whole life.”

“Don’t sharks have to keep moving forward or they die?”

“I suppose so.”

“Then how is she able to stay still while you pet her?”

Mother of Sharks would just shrug.

“Are sharks supposed to purr?”

“She does, isn’t that enough for you?”

Usually they stopped asking questions after that.

Stories of the shark’s heroism abounded on campus. She had a clear sense of morals, which was odd for a shark. Before the shark arrived, the grass surrounding Newman Lake was a popular place for dorm-ridden students to make love away from the prying eyes of their roommates. It was easy enough to find a good shadow, lay down a blanket, and rub genitals together. Unfortunately, the believed secrecy also made it a stomping ground for robbers and rapists. The shark liked to bite them.

She never removed a limb. People who had been bitten said that she wrestled with your appendage just enough to scare you—and leave a very distinct scar. A person with a dotted half-moon scar was not spoken to. It was an unspoken rule.

The administration wanted to control the shark at first, but they couldn’t ever find it. They would ask Mother of Sharks.

The president of JMU would be flanked his staff, wearing a purple dress shirt and no tie and trying his best not to flinch every time the willow branches brushed against him.

“Where is your shark?” they would ask her. She would wrap her arms around her knees and address them calmly.

“I don’t know.”

The president would smile just a little bit tighter.

“It is your shark, correct?”

Mother of Sharks would shrug.

“She’s followed me around my whole life.”

“Then you have to know where she is.”

Mother of Sharks would shrug again. The president’s smile would grow grotesque.

“You have to understand that she endangers students.”

“Only the bad ones.”

The president never learned how to respond to that.

The shark investigation stopped when the vice Dean of Students was caught with a half-moon scar on his left arm and promptly fired.

If you listened closely, you could hear Mother of Sharks talking while she and her shark cuddled. The shark would purr, and Mother of Sharks would whisper.

“Thank you, thank you for staying. Thank you for all you do. One day I’ll save you, too. One day I’ll give back to you. I’ll pay my debts.

“I’ll pay my debts.”