Earlier this year I had the pleasure of visiting the Philippines for the first time and wrote a short blog post about it here. Luckily, I was able to return for a second business trip the last two weeks of September.
This second trip was long enough to permit a weekend with my brother Drew, who is serving a two year LDS mission in the Cagayan Valley (a one hour flight from Manila). It was great to spend some quality time with my brother after not having seen him for nearly two years. It was also fun to see him as a missionary, participate in missionary activities, and hear him speak Tagalog fluently. He finishes his mission in December 2011 and will then attend university at BYU Hawaii.
Similar to the last trip, I was taken yet again by the kindness and warmth of the Filipino culture. I guess you could call it culture shock, but with a positive connotation. This alluring contrast was even more pronounced in the small city of Tuguegarao where Drew lived. Over the weekend he taught me a few phrases in Tagalog which served me well throughout the trip (‘How’s it going?’ ‘Thank you sir’ ‘Yes sir’ ..etc..) Most of these attempts at Tagalog were received with a very surprised smile and a bit of laughter.
The photos below illustrate some of the highlights of the trip, and the rest can be found here.
This map shows where Drew is serving his mission (Tuguegarao), and where Tia's grandparents are from (near Cebu).
The Peninsula Hotel is almost too good. It's hard to leave and come back to reality.
Security "bomb dogs" sniff any baggage coming in and out of major buildings (hotels, offices, etc).
This monument at RCBC Plaza is to commemorate Phillipine independence (July 4, 1946)
Drew's apartment in Tuguegarao. Most of his neighbors are college students.
Tuguegarao City. The green building is the mall / market.
These taxi tricycles are the main method of transportation. They can pack in 5-8 Filipinos.
A traditional bamboo house and a traditional shoulder ride.
Maybe I'm bias because our kids are part Filipino, but the kids over there seem a lot cuter than the ones in the states.
A Saturday morning service project (weeding / clearing land). I'm holding a traditional local dish -- hot chocolate made straight from the bean. It was a sweaty 95' degrees and we are drinking hot chocolate and they are wearing jackets (apparently trying to avoid a tan, light skin is more attractive in their culture).
Dinner with a nice family from Church. The second boy from the left is named "Fourteenio" because he's the 14th kid in the family, and born on November 14th, 1994. (I was also born on Nov 14!)