Tuesday, April 29, 2014

BE in the Philippines - On a Rock

“It’s called St. Simon Peter because the church literally sits on top of a rock,” explained Bishop Brent.

He wasn’t kidding. When we drove up it was exactly as he said. The Sagada part of the trip wasn’t planned, but flexibility is always called for during trips like these.  

It ended up being one of Buck’s favorite stops. Patrick and I went back and forth on adding Sagada to the itinerary but I could never find a good enough reason. Therefore when Bishop Brent invited us to accompany him for baptisms and confirmations in Sagada, we couldn’t say no. 

We packed up our things in Bontoc early Sunday morning, hopped in the car, and drove 45 minutes higher into the mountains of Mountain Province. Breakfast was served at St. Joseph’s Rest House, the Anglican guesthouse and restaurant. I believe there was enough coffee served to wake the dead. 

As we drove up to the church, we found out Bishop Brent wasn’t kidding. The church of St. Simon Peter sits on top of some pretty huge boulders. The church was packed with young and old alike buzzing with excitement for the baptisms and confirmations. The service was even a little different for me because it’s in mountain province – different culture, different language. We witnessed two baptisms and around 30 or more confirmations. Buck commented to Bishop how that’s a large number for us in VA. He chuckled back that it’s actually a pretty small number for him!  

Lunch was served afterwards. Some vestry members and a visiting priest joined us. Small world moment – the visiting priest was sponsored by a priest at St. James’s, Richmond in the 60s to attend seminary! 

For lunch they served pinakpikan or better known as beating the chicken slowly (cue Roberta Flack). Buck and Emily, regrettably, learned exactly how this dish is cooked. I unfortunately already knew. Yes, the chicken is slowly beaten while someone holds back its wings. This method allows the blood to rush into the meat and plump it up before cooking. Then the feathers are all burned off instead of the normal plucking. You know someone is making this nearby from the familiar burning chicken feather smell. While the method might be distasteful, the dish is quite delicious! 

Once we finished up lunch, we parted ways with Bishop Brent and our lovely hosts at St. Simon Peter. Andrew, our driver, is a native of Sagada and became our tour guide for the afternoon. We walked down to the entrance of Sumaging Cave to see the hanging coffins. Then we hiked straight back up – no caving connection this time! Pulled over to see a stunning sea of green rice terraces. Followed by a stop at St. Mary’s Anglican Church and the cemetery. 

The road trip continues with a stop at Tadian Demonstration Farm!

Thanks for reading!
Photos by Emily Cherry

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