Monday, May 28, 2012

On a more serious note.....

I was blessed with a trip back to America for two weeks to see my family and see my "bunso" (youngest child) graduate from college - Magna Cum Laude! Four years flew by, seems like just yesterday we packed all his stuff in the car and headed off to the dorm for freshman year. I am really proud of him- he, like his brothers, earned his education - financially as well as intellectually. Three engineers, yeah I feel kinda proud. I knew they would be successful, I kept telling them they could.
Two weeks went fast, SC, NC - 5 different beds in 9 days! It was a little weird to drive again - we are not allowed to drive here in the PC, I was a little nervous especially since I was borrowing my BFFs Mercedes! Got to see my sweet pup and his momma and sister, ate a ton of shrimp and scallops - yummy - had a nice walk on the beach alone with God, IOP is the best!
So now I am back to sweating and sweating, at least it has begun to rain occasionally. The new batch of volunteers are due to arrive in July - wow we won't be the newbees anymore. We have corresponded via email and Facebook, the benefits of modern technology.
Still don't know what grade I am teaching and school starts next Monday - the Philippines is beginning a new education initiative K-12, with K-3 being taught in "mother tongue" - so I cannot be in grade 1 this year. My wonderful counterpart teacher may stay in grade 1 but no one has decided what to do with me yet. So stay tuned and I'll let you know.
Enjoy a few photos of aking pamilia...

Tuli here, Tuli there, Tuli, Tuli Everywhere!

Okay, I admit it, I have a "thing" with signs. Yes, advertisements, directions, congratulations, store names, warnings - they are everywhere here in the Philippines. Many are in English and many in Tagalog. The ones in Tagalog are fascinating - I basically try to figure out what they are saying.
I walk by this office every day and I see the following sign posted on the door-
I didn't look the words up in my dictionary and just kept wondering what was so special about Tuli that you would want it painless?
Yesterday there was the huge banner out in front of the town hall advertising Libreng Tuli - free Tuli at the health center. I tried to find it this morning to take a picture and it is no longer there.
Okay so I was wondering what the heck is so special about Tuli?
Apparently here in the Philippines, male babies are not circumcised at birth. They wait until they are 12 years old and have it done then - thus, the ads for Tuli.With school starting June 4th, boys will not want to enter high school without having it done, so I guess that is why the ads are everywhere.
I know,  a little weird, but seriously?? Tuli here, Tuli there.....

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Trees and plants galore!

Atis fruit tree behind my house
Calumnius tree, fruits on the tree trunk

Acacia Trees blooming in March, pink/white/yellow fluffy flowers
Nara tree (the national tree) blooming yellow flowers

Papaya trees behind my house, bananas in the distance

Mahagony trees blooming at school

Baby pineapple :)

Veron, Nika and pineapples in her front yard

Spectacular Boughanvilla in bloom
Coffee tree behind Veron's house

My harvest!!
Hanging Birds of Paradise flowers

Tilapia farm

Orchids are everywhere!!
Malungay tree and seed pods

Baby avacado behind my house

Our school Bahay Kubo being built

My tutor (on right) and her friend taking me to the Paminta (pepper) Plantation

Pepper is a woody vine and grows up a host tree
Close up of pepper vine growing
Owner of another plantation, still picking and keeping her young at over 70

After it is picked it is put out in the sun to dry and turn black
A basket of harvested paminta
Bamboo ladder, traditional basket and happy picker!
What you see along the road, sometimes it is rice sometimes it is pepper.
The plants here in the Philippines are just breathtaking, I never cease to be amazed and discover new trees and plants along the very same route.The Malungay tree is considered a miracle tree, the leaves are used to fight all sorts of illnesses. I never knew how pepper grew until I visited the plantation. Our province, Batangas, is famous for Cafe Baraco - the kind I picked in Veron's back yard.