Wednesday, May 7, 2014

BE in the Philippines - Longest Drive

As the road trip continued, Monday, March 24, was our longest on the road. We made the 13-hour trek from Tadian to Manila with a stop in between.

The stop over worked perfectly as it was six hours between our two endpoints and was the location of another YASC placement. Yup, you guessed it – Baguio!

Before arriving there, the Philippines’ beauty continued to impress as we glided through rolling countryside and climbed towering cliffs where we skirted along the tops of the mountains through the clouds. I’d never driven this route before.  We made two stops to take in the fresh, cool air and the impressive views. One stop was marked the “Highest Point in the Philippines Highway System.”

We met Margaret at Easter College where she took us on a tour around the campus. Summer break had started and graduation was happening later in the week, so the campus was mostly empty of students. We met fellow teachers, Ma’am May, principle of the high school, Ma’am Bridget, and Padi Alice. Another small world moment, Padi Alice had just returned from Virginia Theological Semiary (VTS) where she was a guest speaker at a conference! Who knew we’d find so many connections to the Diocese of Virginia throughout the Philippines!

We enjoyed lunch at one of my favorite places, Health 100. It’s completely vegan and organic – the type of food I never get in Santiago. I learned they aren’t lying about it being organic by finding a little inchworm in my salad! Ma’am Fe, the Social Justice Ministries Officer of the Episcopal Diocese of North Central Philippines, joined us. We learned all about the advocacy work she’s developing especially serving migrant workers. She’s quite an impressive lady!

After a short tour of the Cathedral and diocesan offices, located right next to Health 100, it was time to pile back into the car for another six hours to Manila. By 9pm we were collapsing on our beds in the hotel.

Tuesday brought another chance to continue building bridges between the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church in the Philippines. My home parish, St. James’, Leesburg, lovingly sent the most precious tote bags made by the Kids with Purpose group filled with craft supplies for kids affected by Typhoon Yolanda! Everyone at the National Office was touched by the labor of love and couldn’t wait to deliver them.

Buck, Emily, and I met with Attorney Floyd, the Provincial Secretary of ECP, and other National Office staff. The meeting allows a bond to form that can only take place by sitting down together and listening. We both shared stories, our hopes and our goals about our churches. In addition, we learned how this newly formed relationship can continue to grow and reach others.

Afterwards, we shared a scrumptious Filipino lunch. The afternoon we had off to chill. It was a welcomed break. That night we planned to get dinner with Attorney and a visiting Episcopal Relief & Development staff member. Unfortunately, ERD got a late start back to Manila from the field. Our break continued while we enjoyed reflecting on first seven days of our trip. Then headed to bed early as we had an early 4am start to fly to Davao on the southern island of Mindanao.

I would say the road trip continues but it kind of stops as we flew to the next stop on our whirlwind journey!

Thanks for reading!

Photos by Emily Cherry

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