Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back

Looking back I see that 2013 was a HUGE year for me! Sometimes I zero in on the day to day things or one month at a time and forget to look at the big picture. I was just scrolling through my instagrams and realized WHOA!  I finished a wonderful first job, lived in my first apartment, traveled to five new countries, enjoyed time spent with friends and family, and moved halfway across the world. 2013 gave me more than I could ever ask for - incredible adventures, life lessons, amazing friends, and more!

Like most people I’m not one to stick to specific New Year’s resolutions, especially once January is over. And as my brother always told me, “why should you have to wait for the New Year to change? If you want to make a change, just do it.” He’s right.

Instead I take this time of year to self-reflect on what I’ve taken away from this past year and what I want to focus on for the coming year. I’ve made a list of the Top 9 ( I was going to do ten but couldn’t think of a final one) from 2013 (in no particular order). It can be a place, person, group of people, or a thing that influenced my year:

Monday, December 30, 2013

Tadian Farm

After Sagada on Sunday, December 1, Ata Becky and I headed to Tadian to see Andrew. It was a little out of the way, but I wanted to see his placement that I’d heard so much about. We took a 45 minute ride on a Jeepney back to Bontoc, got some lunch, then waited in a van as it filled up and finally we were off to Tadian, another 1 hour ride into the mountains. It’s beautiful! However, as we rode deeper and deeper into the rural moutains I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through Andrew’s head during his first trip up here. This is truly in the middle of nowhere.

Andrew's house which also doubles as a meeting space for the farm.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Weekend Reading

Hope everyone had a relaxing weekend after the holiday hullah-bah-loo!

I spent hours outside this afternoon reading and solving Sudoku puzzles under the shade of the tree. It was glorious! I even got some sun on my legs. I was wearing shorts (that's how warm it still is here). I'm headed to a neighbor's family home tomorrow for a couple of days to celebrate the New Year. Should be a fabulous time! Looking forward to getting off the compound.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Little Things

Christmas this year resulted in a lot less hustle and bustle than previous years. No last minute errands or gift shopping. No rushing to wrap presents. No moving from one party to another. I showed up to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day church services. I only needed to be present with friends and community. The focus was on celebrating together. I enjoyed the change of pace.

A slower pace allows you to take a moment and look around you. Soak up the little things.

{Staff Holiday Lunch at Sir Patrick's house}

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

I bring good tidings and cheer! I hope everyone had a wonderful, merry Christmas. This was definitely the warmest Christmas I’ve ever had.

This past Monday marked four months. It’s the longest I’ve ever been away from home in a foreign country. The first time was for study abroad. During the experience, I was more than ready to come home at the four month mark. While I miss my family and the holidays were hard to get through without them, I’m not quite ready to leave. There’s no sense of finality.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Weekend Reading

{image via}

Happy Weekend! 

I hope everyone has a fun filled weekend and isn't rushing around for last-minute gifts too much. I'm now off for Christmas and New Years break! I'm not exactly sure what I'll be doing during that whole time. While that would usually stress me out (well it still is), I'm trying to make "go with the flow" my new motto. I know it will all work out for the best even if I don't know the plan a week or a few days in advance.

The Filipinos have this saying, "bye and bye." It basically means, it will happen when it happens or he'll come when he comes. It'll happen at no certain time in the future. At first it drove me insane. But now I'm embracing it. So when will I know about my Christmas plans? Bye and bye.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Little Things

The post office is my new favorite place! I mentioned it last week but today was the best trip, yet. Not only did I receive a package from my Best Friend and my Aunt, but my Mom sent a padded envelope stuffed with cards, drawings, and well wishes from the St. James' Community!

I can't even put into words how much it filled my heart and overwhelmed me with love. This community has supported me throughout my entire spiritual journey starting at the age of 7. I couldn't imagine my life without them. Thanks for the love and support, St. James'!

In addition, this week is filled with last minute tasks before the office closes for two weeks and preschool Christmas parties which have been chaotic but hilarious. On Friday, the diocesan staff has its gift exchange and Christmas party. I cannot wait for fellowship, games, and karaoke!

{A cobra found by my building! They killed it and made a stew but I couldn't bring myself to eat it}

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sagada's Fear Factor

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I visited Sagada in Mountain Province two weekends ago. On Saturday morning after a cold, sleepless night, Ata Becky informed me we would be going to see the caves with our friend, Sarah. I pictured Luray Caverns style – a simple hike down into the caves to see cool stalactites and stalagmites. 

We walked down to the information shop to receive our guide. He turns to us and says, “Are you ready for Sagada’s Fear Factor? Repel down cave walls? Swim in water as deep as your chest? Slide through small holes?”

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sagada, Mountain Province

A few days before I left for Hong Kong, my co-worker asked if I would want to accompany her to Sagada for some meetings and R&R the weekend after I returned. Jumping at any opportunity to see somewhere new, I said “yes!”

When I returned from Hong Kong exhausted, I wasn’t sure if I was up to go away for another four days. But after an amazing week with friends, I knew I didn’t want to sit alone in my apartment all weekend in Santiago. Sagada ended up being quite the adventure I needed.

First on Friday morning, we arrived at 6:30am to catch the bus to Bontoc. Now I had just ridded the Super Deluxe Florida bus from Manila to Santiago a couple days ago. That was a five star resort compared to this crappy motel on the side of road bus we took on Friday. This rickety, old metal bus pulled up and I thought, “that is going to drive us 7 hours up steep mountainous roads?!”

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Weekend Reading

Happy Weekend!

I hope everyone back home in Virginia is staying warm in the snow! I'm not jealous. Actually, I was complaining alongside all the Filipinos about how hot and humid it was today! After a quick trip to Manila to accompany a visitor from ERD, I'm ready to do some weekend reading and relax. Also, only five days of work until it is Christmas break! Crazy! Can't believe the New Year is right around the corner.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Beauty of the Philippines

On Wednesday, Sara Delaney of ERD (Episcopal Relief and Development) came up to Santiago City to check out the Processing Center here. Then on Thursday, yesterday, she was headed back to Manila with a pitstop at a community which was greatly affected by Typhoon Santi (more on that next week). I accompanied her on the long over 12 hour day. Then this morning it was back to Santiago City, another 9 hour trip! Hence the lack of a blog post, yesterday.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Little Things

In my mind I know it’s December. Two Sundays of Advent have passed. Christmas decorations are out and I’m on the hunt for great gifts. However, it’s still strange for me to realize it is the Holiday Season. While it has gotten cooler, I’m still sweating every other day and blasting my A/C.

Christmas for me is baking in the kitchen, sipping hot cocoa underneath cozy blankets and snuggling up by a warm fire. I hate the cold but for me that is the Holiday Season.

One thing that’s helped me cope about not being around close family during this time of year is the love I’ve been receiving from home! I’ve been making quite a few trips to the Post Office recently. It’s gotten to the point where Michelle who handles the packages knows my name and got my cell number so she can text me when I get mail!

Not only is it wonderful to hear from my parents and other family members, but also a recent package was full of Christmas cards from family friends from Church and former co-workers. It’s incredible that I can receive their love halfway across the world. I almost cried when flooded with such love and support while reading the notes! I now have them hanging on my wall as a constant reminder.

{My new weekly stop}

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hong Kong - Reflection

My last day in Hong Kong was spent at Lantau Island, again. There was one destination I read about prior to coming and didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see it. Fortunately, Katie and Caroline were heading out that way on Monday. I tagged along with them. Upon arriving they wanted to ride the Cable Car, see Big Buddha, the Monastery and do some shopping in the village. I’d already done all that. My main goal of the day was to explore the Tai O Fishing Village.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Weekend Reading

Happy Second Sunday in Advent!

I cannot believe the first week in December is almost over! Sorry for the delay in this week's installment of "Weekend Reading." I got distracted by a wonderful skype call with Grace and enthusiastically delving into new packages on Friday night. Then, a successful but exhausting half-day trip to the market with my neighbor and a fun dinner with coworkers on Saturday. Today, Sunday, I finally have time to just relax, do menial tasks such as laundry and cleaning, and catch up on YASCers' blogs!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Little Things

My life has been so crazy busy lately that I forgot to share about my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving! Actually, it probably helped that I was busy. I didn't have time to dwell on missing sweet potatoes, pineapple casserole, Grandpap's homemade stuffing, pecan pie, and of course, being with my large family!

I returned to Santiago City at 3am on Wednesday morning last week from Hong Kong. Recovered a little bit during the day before going back to work. Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, celebrated a co-worker's civil wedding followed by a huge lunch, which I took as my big "thanksgiving meal." Then, Friday got up at 6am to catch a bus for a weekend in Mountain Province! Phew!

{Penny, Me, Rebecca, Charity, the bride, Dex, the groom, and Sandra together after the marriage}

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hong Kong - Wandering Around

My fourth day of my visit to Hong Kong was a Sunday. Naturally, the day the started off by attending church at St. John’s Cathedral. With the congregation consisting of Filipinos, British, Americans, Chinese and most likely other nationalities, it was the most diverse church service I’ve ever attended. The Reverend Nadim Nassar, who is originally form Syria and has an impressive list of achievements, also graced us with a wonderful sermon.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hong Kong - Big Buddha

After traveling for 24 hours and going without stopping for two days, I decided I needed to sleep in and not have a jam-packed day. Sara and I took it easy in the morning with a delicious brunch at Waygnu Lounge with her friend, Chris. I forgot just how good smoked salmon, with a mound of cream cheese on a warm bagel is!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Hong Kong - Birthday Celebrations

Day 2 of Hong Kong was Sara’s 23rd Birthday! It was a day full of celebration, friend time, delicious food and more sightseeing. There was only one mission for the day – giving Sara a wonderful birthday celebration!

Katie’s older sister, Caroline, arrived late Thursday night for a 10 day trip. They joined Sara and I for our tourist excursion of the day, Victoria Peak. The plan was originally to hike the 2-hour trail up to the peak, but after a late start and laziness we took the peak tram, a very steep vertical ascent up the mountain.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Weekend Reading

Happy Black Friday! 

My trip to Hong Kong currently feels like a dream. Did I really travel to mainland Asia last week and see amazing friends?

I've gotten back into the swing of things in Santiago. It's like I never left. Today, Friday, through Monday I'm off to Sagada! My co-worker is taking me with her as she has meeting up there. It's one place in the Northern Philippines I've been looking forward to visiting. Can't wait to see some hanging coffins and Echo Valley! Also, we'll be stopping in Tadian to see Andrew, another YASCer, and his farm.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Hong Kong - A Day in the Life

Due to a many factors – weather, people, the place, food – Hong Kong is up there as one of the best trips I’ve taken in my life. Since a great amount was packed into 5 days, I’ve decided to break down my blog posts instead of doing one gigantic one.

Looking at my list of places I want to travel in my life, Hong Kong wasn’t on there at all. However after learning I was going to the Philippines for YASC and there would be three other YASCers, Katie, Will, and Sara, in Hong Kong, it went straight to the top of the list!

Hong Kong is only a short two-hour plane ride from Manila. After riding on planes, trains, buses and automobiles, I finally reached my destination after 24 hours of travel. Of course, it was all completely worth it!

Sara, Katie, Me and Will at Tacos Locos. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Little Things

I had the most wonderful trip to Hong Kong! Perfect weather, great friends, scrumptious food, and impressive city - I couldn't have asked for more! I'm exhausted after climbing many hills and non-stop walking, but it was good for me. I'm sad to leave my fellow YASCers but ready to get back to the Philippines. This week and next I'll share in more detail about my trip but in the mean time here are some of my favorite little moments!

{I had to indulge in a cupcake}

Monday, November 25, 2013

Third Month's the Charm

October took forever to get through. Now all of sudden it is almost December! It’s hard to believe that I’m a quarter of the way through my YASC year! The third month was hands down the best month so far.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Weekend Reading

Happy Weekend!

Happy Birthday to my dear friend and fellow YASCer, Sara Lowery! I'm beyond excited to be in Hong Kong celebrating with her! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Microfinance 101

What is microfinance? The answer is never simple or concrete. As an economic development student I've studied many theories behind microfinance, worked with a student-run microfinance institution, La Ceiba, and am currently working at a micro-lending institution. I've wanted to write this post for many weeks now but I never know where to begin. With so many different theories and ideas of microfinance out there how do I write about it in layman's terms in less than 500 words?

Well, here is what I came up with and I hope it provides insight into my passion and what I’m doing. Please realize there is much more information and resources available if you want to learn more. This is only a brief introduction.

Me interviewing a potential microfinance client

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

News & Resources from Episcopal Relief and Development

As you read this post I will be enjoying fellowship with my fellow YASCers, Will, Katie and Sara, in Hong Kong!

Image via // Photo: REUTERS/Erik De Castro
As you all know from the news reports, Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Central Philippines on November 8, 2013. It caused great destruction and damage knocking out power, communication and killing thousands in its path. Heartbreaking stories have been all over the news here in the Philippines. Many have wondered and asked how they can help. While there are many great relief organizations setting up camp in Tacloban and other damage areas who you could donate to, I believe Episcopal Relief and Development is a wonderful organization taking the long view on disaster recovery. Their plan isn't simply to provide immediate help but to work with community churches to assess and plan for years to come in order to make the community self-sustainable again.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Little Things

By the time you read this post, I'll be on bus to Manila to catch my flight to Hong Kong. To beat the traffic and ensure I get to the airport in time for my flight, I'm taking the 9 hour bus trip overnight. That means I'll have plenty of time to chill and read at the airport until my flight takes off. I'll be so full of excitement I don't know how I'll be able to pass the time!

The past couple of weeks have been crazy busy. I'm ready for a break and some fun with friends! However, busyness never takes me away from enjoying the little things.

{"Are you ready?" asks this bobble dashboard thing. I don't think I ever am.}

Monday, November 18, 2013

Who's on your sidewalk?

Last week, I received an email from my Mom saying my home parish’s priest, Rev. Kate, would be mentioning me in her sermon on Sunday. There were no more details. I wasn’t worried, more intrigued. Fortunately for me, St. James’ uploads audio recordings of every sermon.

I recommend to everyone to take 12 minutes and listen here. Rev. Kate makes the point that the church is not simply a building but it’s the people and community. The church is us, but not only all of us in the global community in all places but also throughout time. Rev. Kate reminds us that God is the God of the living, which means those who have come before us are still alive. And those living now and throughout time, the people of the church, our community are supporting us.

{image via}

Friday, November 15, 2013

Weekend Reading

Happy Weekend!

Again, I want to thank everyone for the support, prayers and concerns during Super Typhoon Haiyan. Don't worry I am safe! I was never affected by the great storm which ravaged the Central Philippines. It is going to take many coordinated efforts and generous donations and time for them to recover. Prayers are continually needed.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Linking of Two Dioceses

There is something to be said about being in a foreign country and witnessing two different cultures sharing and learning from one another. It was an out of body experience as I watched the world get smaller.  Not only am I here learning about Filipino culture but here I also had the opportunity to soak up information about Kenyan culture through song, dance, and fellowship.

Yesterday, the Episcopal Diocese of Santiago (EDS) hosted eleven visitors from Kenya’s Anglican Development Service. They included Bishop Joseph Sapit and other regional development officers. Last year, September 2012, Sir Patrick and a couple others from the Episcopal Church in the Philippines attended the Anglican Alliance Board’s Empowerment Conference. A couple of the Kenyans in attendance took interest in Sir Patrick’s presentation about St. Mark’s Foundation and EDS’s work with cooperatives and micro-lending, which led them to plan a short trip to the Philippines to learn more firsthand.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Scouting the Divine

I’ve been somewhat of a book connoisseur lately. I’ve read more books in the past 3 months than in the last year and a half. Before I say any more, I must thank my Mom for all the amazing book recommendations and buying them all for me to put on my Nook.  I truly love to read, but in college I only had time for the assigned reading instead of reading for enjoyment. I’ve found reading helps me escape into a completely different world or relate to the story of someone struggling along a journey.

During YASC orientation, the leaders emphasized the importance of maintaining our spiritual health, whether through daily prayer, meditation or reading scripture. I started with the Bible Challenge to help guide me through the scripture instead of blindly diving in. After a week, my diligence faded away. I had trouble connecting with some of the passages and would lose patience in my confusion. I know I’m not alone in my feelings about the struggle of tackling stories of the Bible.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Little Things

Thank you again for all the love, support and prayers received over the weekend. Again, I am safe and perfectly fine. I feel blessed to have been in an area that suffered from only heavy rain and a cloudy day indoors. However, the area hit by the Super Typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan (whichever you prefer) was greatly devastated. Reports say up to 10,000 could be dead, with homes and stores leveled to the ground. Please continue to keep all of those affected in your prayers! You can also follow this link to learn how you can help.

Of course after a heavy storm, beautiful weather follows. I spent Sunday afternoon under the shade of a tree reading, journaling, and enjoying the light breeze, sunshine and 70 degree weather. I wish winter was like this everywhere! Today, the office was abuzz preparing for our special visitors from Kenya. They've traveled all the way here to learn about the micro-lending of the foundation and cooperatives. We're excited to host them but only for one day!

Don't worry, I'm still taking time to enjoy the little things!

{My neighbor's have a pet turtle in their kitchen sink. He's been there for 8 years!}

Friday, November 8, 2013

Weekend Reading


I don't know about you all but I've had a crazy, busy week! We've been catching up after the long, holiday weekend and preparing for visitors next week. The staff was supposed to plant trees tomorrow as part of a development project but it seems as though one last Typhoon is going to hit the Philippines. Hopefully, it is the last for the season!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Super Typhoon Haiyan

Hey readers, friends, and family!

There's been much concern over my safety and the safety of the other YASCers as Super Typhoon Haiyan. I'm happy to say that we are all on the Northern Island of Luzon. Below is a map with an arrow of where I am versus the trajectory of the storm.

While my weekend plans have been rained out, I will be safe! Thanks for all the prayers and concerns. I feel blessed to be out of the storms path. Although, please keep everyone else in the Philippines who will be greatly affected by this storm in your prayers.

Compassionate God… Draw near to us in this time of sorrow and anguish, comfort those who mourn, strengthen those who are weary, encourage those in despair, and lead us all to fullness of life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen
— Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (Church Publishing: New York), page 733

{image via}

Driving 101

When learning how to drive, a part of me was thankful to learn how to navigate the craziness of aggressive, defensive, fast, stop and go traffic of Northern Virginia. I felt that if I could handle the NOVA drivers than I could drive anywhere. Well since arriving in the Philippines, I’m rethinking that theory.

There is no logical order to traffic – no passing lanes, speed limits, stop signs or traffic lights signaling when to stop and go. I’m thankful to have a driver who is familiar with the madness or else I would never go anywhere.

First, let’s talk about the various vehicles and obstacles on the road:

On top of regular cars there are trucks, who are the slowest on the road,

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Puppy Therapy

Who doesn't love puppies? They are cute, cuddly, lovable, playful creatures! My neighbor's dog had six of them about a month ago. They're finally old enough to be out and around. Once I knew they were born, every morning I would look out my window waiting for the day they would finally show themselves. It may sound pathetic, but I have to admit I sometimes (read: most of the time) prefer puppies to children. The anticipation was killing me! Finally, last week the day came that six little fur balls were out exploring their new world.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Little Things

It's back to a normal work week! Due to a low pressure and typhoon hitting the south, we are being dumped with gloom and rain. I'm tired of clouds and want the sun back! I can't believe it is already November. It's hard for me to wrap my brain around it since it's still feels like summer here. 

There's is much coming up in the next few weeks and I cannot wait share! In the meantime, enjoy some little moments from my life! 

{More love in the form of Fall Cheer from Aunt Susan & Uncle Bill and the Diocese of Virginia Staff}

Monday, November 4, 2013

Celebrating the Dead

As it is said, "a picture is worth a thousand words." And so, I believe they can display a deeper meaning of All Saints' Day than my description. Although, I will give a little background.

Here in the Philippines, Halloween is not widely celebrated or really even mentioned. All Saints' Day, the day after Halloween, is traditional, family holiday. Almost everyone has November 1st off of work. This year it fell on a Friday, so it was a long holiday for everyone. Our office closed at noon to allow people to travel. Buses and Jeepneys were completely packed. People even talked about how if some wanted a ride they would have to stand or sit in the aisle. It's one of the busiest travel times of the year.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Weekend Reading

Happy All Souls Day!

Today is an important family holiday to Filipinos. They spend the day cleaning their dead family's graves, sharing fellowship with one another and blessing their loved ones who passed.

I continue to be inspired, amazed, and entertained by my fellow YASCers' posts! I hope you are too, and follow the links to read only a snapshot of the adventures we are all on.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Inspiration from Social Enterprise Training

I apologize in advance for the length of this post but I couldn’t pick simply one inspirational experience to share.

You read that I was in Manila all last week, but I didn’t share many details on why. While in Bontoc, Attorney Floyd, Provincial Secretary of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP), invited me to attend a seminar on Social Enterprise for the development officers and workers of the ECP.

First, let me give some background. The ECP has a foundation called “Episcopal Care Foundation” or “E-Care.” My understanding is E-Care works to serve as the developmental and social ministry arm of ECP. Each diocese has a Development Officer and Community Development Workers or CDWs. These Officers and CDWs work with communities to evaluate how E-Care can assist them in developing projects such as a water system or agriculture production. The goal recently is not to simply pass out grants to these communities but work alongside them to discover assets and skills within the community and utilize them to develop projects or businesses. They’ve been using the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach. The main end result trying to be reached is poverty alleviation for the communities.

Attorney Floyd addressing all the participants.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Church Leaders share about YASC

I'm sharing the last of the YASC videos done by The Episcopal Church. This one titled, "Church leaders talk about YASC" features priests, bishops, and program leaders from South Africa, Philippines, and Hong Kong. They share their thoughts on why the YASC program is important to their church and communities.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Little Things

Made it back in time to join in on the fun, birthday celebrations on Friday night after an exhausting 9 hour drive! I'm greatly appreciative that I only have to work two and half days this week. Due to elections yesterday, All Souls' Day on Friday, and closing the office early on Thursday, everyone in the office is looking forward to the short vacation.

One thing not pictured from recent little moments is Andrew Joyce, the YASCer continuing his placement here in the Philippines for another year, made it back from his month-long recharge in the states. Some were worried he wasn't actually going to make it back. I happened to in Manila when he arrived and got breakfast with him and Floyd on Friday morning before heading back to Santiago. It's good to have another YASCer and American on the island, again.

Cheers to the little things!

{Mornings spent at Starbucks in Manila}

Monday, October 28, 2013


Vote for me! Not really for me, but that’s what candidates were exclaiming before voters entered the elementary school grounds to cast their ballot.

Today was Barangay Elections throughout the Philippines, a public holiday (read: three day weekend). If you don’t know what a Barangay is let me break it down for you: Country -> Region -> Province -> Municipality -> Barangay -> Purok. I’m in Region 3, Province of Isabela, Municipality of Santiago, Barangay of Divisoria, Purok 4.

The Elementary School campus 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Weekend Reading

Happy Weekend!

The picture above slightly sums up my life lately - road-tripping through the Philippines. Last week, I drove round trip to Bontoc, 10 hours, and then this week was a round trip to Manila, 18 hours. Somehow even though you are simply sitting in a car, it is exhausting! But I have to find energy for a birthday celebration of two co-workers tonight!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Little Things

There are some moments one can simply not capture on film. My tagline for life here has become "It's More Fun in the Philippines." That's the actual motto of the tourism bureau here but to me it has a deeper meaning.

{Perfection sometimes is popcorn, Gossip Girl and pineapple juice}

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's Not Easy, but Worth It

Two months have come and gone in my year as a missionary with the Young Adult Service Corps!

I'm not going to sugarcoat the journey and say it's been all joys. The highlights always outweigh the low moments, but it is not without it's challenges. Adjusting to a new way of life, new culture, new friends, and a new language is a roller coaster ride!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Community Celebration of Love

Wedding bells were ringing at the All Saints Cathedral in Bontoc last week. As I posted yesterday, Attorney Floyd, the Provincial Secretary of ECP, invited Margaret and me to attend the wedding of an Episcopal Deacon, Kurt, and an American young lady, Crystal, All I knew, beforehand, was it was going to a wonderful cultural experience. I cannot deny that it was.

First let me say, weddings are a community affair in the Philippines. While in recent years in bigger metropolis areas like Manila, they’ve started to become modernize where you only attend if received an invitation. Up in the Mountain Province the custom is still everyone is welcome to participate in the fellowship.

All Saints Cathedral

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bontoc, Mountain Province

Last Wednesday, I headed to Bontoc, a six hour drive from Santiago, with Sir Patrick, my manager, and Sir Junior as our driver. Attorney Floyd, Provincial Secretary of Episcopal Church of the Philippines, who coordinates the YASC program here in the Philippines invited Margaret and I to a Filipino wedding between a deacon in the ECP and an American young lady a couple weeks back. He said that if he was in America and learned a Filipino was getting married that it’s their cultural tradition to attend the wedding and show support. I didn’t tell him that’s not really our tradition. Wedding crashers are not welcome. Nonetheless I jumped at the opportunity to witness and experience another cultural tradition.

However, I’m not going to talk about the wedding in today’s post. Sorry to psych you out. Check back tomorrow! Today is solely on Bontoc.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Weekend Reading

Happy Friday!

I hope you all had a wonderful week! I spent yesterday, Thursday, at a wedding in the Mountain Province. I can't wait to share more with you about this amazing cultural experience next week. It was a quick, three day trip but completely worth it. I'm ready to recover from the journey, though.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Little Things

Currently, I'm in Bontoc in the Mountain Province. A couple weeks ago I received a call from Attorney Floyd, Provincial Secretary of ECP, inviting me to this wedding of a deacon from the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines and an American. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to experience a wedding celebrated in another culture and country. I'm trying to reserve my expectations to enjoy it in all its glory!

In the meantime, here some things and moments I've been enjoying over the past week!

{Me interviewing an applicant during inspection of their property}

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Communicating through Laughter

Language barrier is currently the biggest hurdle I have to jump over. There is no substitution to a long, in-depth conversation in your first language. It’s icing on the cake when it’s with someone from your generation because you share common slang, pop culture.

This doesn’t mean I cannot communicate with those around me. Fortunately, most people speak or understand enough English. Merely different vocabulary is utilized, changes in intonation and pronunciation are made, and the speed is greatly slowed down.

I’ve been writing how much I laugh and smile in the Philippines. It’s true their joy and laughter is contagious.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Indigenous Sunday

I know last week I posted about finding a home parish. Nonetheless while I was having coffee with Fr. D’Abugao after helping with preschool, he invited me to attend their Indigenous Sunday service that coming Sunday at St. Stephen’s. There was a promise of gongs and native dance. How could I refuse?

I woke up early, 6:30am, to go. The Bishop drove us on his way to another parish, hence the early leave time of 7am. Emelda, her 6 year-old daughter, Amitess, Sandra, her 4 year-old son, Graynaan, Penny, and her 19 month-old daughter, Skye joined me in attending the service. We were about 2 hours early for the service, in the mean time we enjoyed coffee with Padi (the priest) and his wife, Myra.