Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Other events and photos

My secret beach is still my favorite spot in the Philippines. It restores my soul and spirit. I have met new friends there and taken up new sports and hobbies.
Malaysian, American, Korean and our new bling shell jewelry

Yes that is me kitesurfing!

I met a wonderful family of 4 generations! What a blessing! Great grandmother swinging her great grandchild!
These infant swings are very popular here

The Catholic Church just opened a small building that honors saints and Jesus. There are many statues inside and a special small door you enter to see the statue of Jesus. The writing says you must stoop low and humbled to enter and see the Christ.
Enter the little door to the right

Statues of Mary

New building to honor and house statues

Filipinos love a celebration and a parade. The little church preschool next to my house celebrated its 25th anniversary with a parade of decorated tricycles and kids dressed up.
These were 2 kids representing the US for the parade, very appropriate for Election day

Representing Thailand

Been in Manila a bit too much the last couple of weeks, meetings, trainings, check ups.....we all had to practice an evacuation drill from our respective sites in case of an emergency...thanks PC for caring about our safety.
And I leave you with a sunset....November will be busy if we get our library grant!! Heading up north at the end of the month for a Thanksgiving dinner with other PCVs, looking forward to being cold! December is my birthday and then 2 vacations I am very excited about at the end of the year. Wow, only 10 months to go in my service, 2013 will fly by....
Enjoy the freedom of America.....I sit in an internet cafe now listening to President Obama's re-election speech and I have goose bumps....cherish your rights and freedom, so many many in the world do not have it, nor will they have food tonight.
Some place where this happens every single night....
Ingat...take care.

Celebrations Galore

Okay, so what happened to the month of October? Came and went in a puff of smoke. Here are a few things that have been going on:
Our town has gotten new electric poles and new roadside gutters....

Typical garb of outside workers

temporary library
We have a temporary library at school and we are overflowing with books, a wonderful "problem" to have. The latest ones came from a project of Rotary International, Books Across the Sea. Support your local Rotary, they do good things.
There are many bakeries in our town and I was so curious how the baking was done. I walked into the back of one and low and behold, the guys were rolling dough and preparing rolls! They use an actual brick oven heated with wood!!!
Brick oven, and no there is no air conditioning

Fabulous items for sale

Baked goods in process

We celebrated World Teacher's day with a program and free pedicure!
I finished my physical therapy for a sore neck and knee, I will miss the guys and gals of PT. We laughed and laughed as I practiced Tagalog and they practiced English, they tried to get me to eat balut, but I can't!!
Sir Steven and I

Rambuton fruit vendor near PT

Had my first meeting of the Grants Committee, a great group of volunteers led by the fantastic Sheila. We review grant proposals from PCVs, give feedback and then hope they receive funding for their projects. Very rewarding work and a great group of people, yes this is our "wacky" pix.

Before our Mid Service training, a few PCV friends and I went to Puerto Galera for a mini-vacation. We hiked to this fabulous waterfall and OMG the water was freezing! We loved it though because we are always so hot. We went snorkeling to one of the best reefs I have seen so far, I saw so many fish that I have never seen before. Some pix were posted on FB by others.
Friends in PC, age does not matter!!

Our personal beach

The waterfall, 30 feet tall or more

Tarps for everything

For MST we had several days of training on topics such as resiliency and the ups and downs of PC life, possible projects to do in the future, new grant opportunities, and a puppet making workshop to honor a former PCV and to carry on the joy of puppetry as a medium of education. The guys grew mustaches and there was an unofficial contest on whose mustache was the best, hysterical really. Food was great at the hotel, a typhoon was raging outside but we were fine, came home later to my house with a flooded bed, yuck! Part of MST is also many many medical tests, PC wants to make sure we are healthy and I am grateful for that....mammogram, blood tests, pap smear, physical exam, consult with psychologist just to check in, dentist, dermatologist, poop tests, pee test....I probably forgot something, but I am glad for the care.
Puppet making

A new craft I learned about, bobbin lace!

The US Embassy holds a craft bazaar every year and the proceeds in part benefit PC Philippines. I went to the craft fair and learned about a new craft called bobbin lace. The little wooden bobbins are rotated around pins and woven into a lace pattern.
Halloween with kids
I love my backyard, avocado trees, banana trees, etc. and I look out the window regularly. One of the things I had hoped to see while in the Philippines were exotic birds. I have only seen 1 in the wild so far but the other day I saw this gorgeous blue bird in my back yard. The weather has finally gotten a little cooler and I was wondering if perhaps it was migrating or finally could come out in the open because it was cooler. I haven't identified it yet. And then comes Halloween!!
center right, white breast, bright blue wings

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Random reasons why I enjoy my service in the Peace Corps

the boys and the spiders
  1.  FYI - it took me TWO days to load this blog, I am NOT exaggerating,  I don't have fast or reliable internet, so please appreciate even if the photos and entries are out of order, I am just glad it actually publishes....eventually
  2. Young boys who have spiders as pets, they carry them in little match boxes. They take them out and let them fight each other on sticks….Never heard of this before coming here, what happened to Legos?? Look at the expression on that boy’s face! I mentioned the spider fighting to a teacher and all I got was, it was a form of animal cruelty and another said to report them because they may be betting money on who is winning….?**!!!! Do boys in the US fight spiders?
  1. The shoes – 4 inch platforms in the FRONT!! OMG the shoes here are to die for! (and I probably would if I walked in them…)

THE shoes

The TV station tree
Sepak Takraw
Just another day in the Philippines
  1. Christmas starts in Sept. – it’s a “ber” month….the flashier the better!
  2. Sepak Takraw- a very unique National sport, a combo between soccer and volleyball, only for boys though  
  3. flat tires, just another day for texting and wiping sweat
  4. pigs – every house (almost) has at least one , they make cool snorting sounds….
  5. floooood and waves at the breakwater in Manilla, yet life goes on
  6. live 3 hour tv shows w incredible talent
  7. what makes it all worthwhile…reading!! This class was NOT well behaved earlier but when I pulled out the story books, you could hear a pin drop! Look at the intensity of their faces, even the very naughty boys were in the back READING!!
For those of you who have donated books, thank you so much! For those of you looking for a Christmas project, why not consider sending us inexpensive paperback easy to read storybooks?? I can send address if interested.

Guess who?

Add caption

Engaged with books!

Monday, September 3, 2012

I was a Lakambini!!

We have been celebrating Buwan ng Wika, month of language, of course Filipino. The culminating event was last Friday, I was told to wear my "Filipiniana" or Filipina costume. There are many different types of traditional clothing outfits here, depending upon where you are in the Philippines. For example, northern Luzon island has Filipinos who traditionally wear brightly woven fabrics, headbands, loincloths for men, skirts for girls.....Muslim Filipino traditional dress is very elaborate, scarves, sequins.....My dress with the big big sleeves is a type of Filipiniana dress. Men can wear the traditional Barong Tagalog shirt, there are also lady barongs. Well what I didn't know about the culminating event was that each class selects a boy and girl to dress up and compete with all the other couples. It was a giant fashion really cannot do it justice. The little tiny kinder girls complete with huge puffy dresses, was precious really. We began with a parade of the entire school at 7:15 am, we paraded down the sidewalk through the major construction that is occurring in town (new drainage installed, roads are a mess, dirt everywhere..) it was hot as heck at 7:30 and I was afraid my makeup would literally melt off my face into a tan, brown, green glue.
Each contestant got to walk across the stage, there were intermissions of song and traditional dance, and then the Lakan and Lakambini were chosen - I was told it is sort of like the Miss and Mr.....then at the end, I did not know any of this, they chose from among the teachers who all wore traditional Filipino wear. I am not really sure why I was chosen honestly, sort of an honorary foreign Miss Buwan ng Wika.....I got a certificate and then a sash with glitter saying Lakambinit 2012. My very first cool glitter sash...I guess you had to be there.

More kinder

Almost all of the girls

The faculty all dressed up

Lita, Mia and me!

My cool sash

I've mentioned before that Filipinos LOVE to get there picture taken and after the serious ones, there is ALWAYS the wacky here is ours.....yeah we were having fun!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Odds and Ends

We have another weekend coming with no electric and no no computer work unless I take a van to the nearest city for the day. It's not too bad really, especially if you know in advance so you can charge everything you own with a battery and collect water in trash cans and buckets.
Before I came to the Philippines I thought there was just a few kinds of rice but take a look at this photo!!

I am still amazed at the variety of fruits here, there must be 50 I never heard of before. This tree is called Rambutan, the fruits have large soft spikes sticking out, it is a reddish ball, you eat the inside.

Rambutan tree

Filipinos also love getting their picture taken. When you are done everyone screams "wacky" and you take a second picture with everyone doing a wacky pose. These guys were at a street vendor, there are a lot of them selling grilled chicken and other unusual things like chicken intestines on a stick.
Check out the ads.....
The BIG news in our town is we got a 7 11 store, I have yet to go in. Open 24 hours, wowee we have arrived.

I spent the first few weeks of school in Grade 1 helping my counterpart, Ma'am Veron. There is this absolutely adorable little boy named Darck who ALWAYS raises his hand, wants to be a leader, etc.
Before lunch the kids say a blessing (remember a very Catholic country) and you can hear his voice way above all of the other kids. I tried taking a video of him while the class was saying it but he kept smiling too much. So here is Darck saying the blessing.

I think I mentioned awhile back the practice here called "Mano Po" - where a child comes up to an elder or respected person and takes the hand of the adult and placed it on top of their head, and the adult "blesses" them. Even adult kids do it. I must "bless" 100 kids a day, it is really humbling to have a child come up to you and bow their head and say "bless" - I am the one getting the true blessing being surrounded by these sweet children.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

July 25th Feast of St. James

Our town has two fiestas, one is December 30th where you absolutely must visit EVERYONES house and eat food. Last year I visited 10 houses, it took all day, finally someone told me that you eat just a tiny bit at each house. Whew! July 25th is the fiesta of the town patron saint, St. James. He is everywhere, on stickers, statues, you name it.....they say he is a hero because he is pictured on a horse with the front hooves in the air like he was charging....I am not 100% sure but I believe he was fighting the non-Christians....need to look that one up on the internet.
Each barangay (sort of like a subdivision here, but bigger) has it's own name, it's own mini-chapel and of course, it's own statue of St. James the Greater. So on July 25 there is a huge free feast in each barangay, rice and baboy (pig), several masses (of course) and then the PROCESSION. I did not join but took photos of all 42 began with the infamous woman who regularly says the Hail Mary prayer over the very loudspeaker, sorry but it is droning and annoying.....I am including a video just so you can hear her say the prayer. I am sure she has good intentions but it is like fingernails scrapping on a blackboard to me.....
Then each barangay and other organizations process through town with their statue.
The school mini-band performed, they are elementary remember.

here are some photos of St. James the Greater (my bunso's middle name is James.....)
Mini-band members

St. James

The Mass

More St. James

I love the faces of these men

Old fashioned way....