Hello Everybody! It’s been a while but I’m back and ready to update you guys. So this past weekend we went to an Ayta Village where we spent time hanging out and playing with the people of the village. I will never forget that experience just like I will never forget Inner Mongolia. It’s so beautiful and peaceful and just hanging with these people was soothing to the soul. To recap the time we spent there, we got there, watched them perform a courtship dance, had dinner on banana leaves (that’s right), had a bonfire while sharing stories and songs, then we set up mosquito nets so we could go to sleep. The next day, we woke up, played soccer, baseball, and basketball, then had breakfast. After that we went to a river where some of us took our shoes off and felt the gentle flow of cool water between our toes. Then we came back and had lunch with the whole village and then we played more games with the children. After mucho games, we sat and talked a lot about our lives and their lives. Then, as one would expect, we started to sing songs and then I got to teach them a children’s song that I learned in China and they loved it. We probably sang it at least five times. I think they liked the part in this song where I stick out my behind. After more fellowship, we gathered to say goodbye and gave each family of the village a bag (a kilo of rice I think) and some couldn’t say goodbye to our faces because they were crying. I’d have to tell you more about that experience later because I can’t contain all the details in one blog post.
After the village, we traveled to the church that helps support the village and stayed at an elementary school close by. It had A/C which is the first time the buys have had A/C on this entire trip. It was so cold that I had to escape underneath the blankets to keep myself even remotely warm. In the morning we had some breakfast which included some French fries, yummers! Then we attended the church’s morning service that we ended up being half an hour late to but it was alright I guess since we were the honored guests. After the service in which the sermon was half in Tagolog, we had lunch at the church where I was served an extra heaping of food since I finished my first plate off so fast. Then the vice mayor of the province took us to the monument of the beginning of the Bataan Death March. The Bataan Death March was a very important WWII event so google it if you want more info on it (I’m too lazy to explain it all right now). After the touring of that area, we came back to Manila (we were about three or four hours north of Manila). When we got back, we went back to the orphanage to play with the kids at the orphanage and help put them to bed.
The next day was spent shopping at the Greenhills shopping center where I used my bargaining skills to help out Sarah with some purchases. I bought some items too but the bargaining was vastly different here in the Philippines than in Beijing. They stick to a price here and won’t go down at all, even if you try to walk away sometimes. In Beijing, I could bargain down a price for at least half an hour. Anyways, we left Greenhills to get some lunch at Megamall and to get more money exchanged before our trip to Puerto Galera (so fun!). After that shopping filled day, we played with the children again and put them to sleep and then Charis, Mrs. Jones, Sarah, and I went to a spa. The girls got their nails done but I got an hour massage with oil. My first massage in the Philippines and oh what a fabulous massage it was. First off, it was the same price as a massage in China. Two, I could actually take off my clothes for getting an oil massage. Three, they could speak English and asked me whether the pressure was okay or not. It was just a great experience…almost. The lady then proceeded to massage my buttocks, but without the clothes. It might have been the most awkward thing I have experienced (okay, probably not the most awkward but it’s up there). I was just laying there enjoying my massage and before I knew it my towel was off and oil was being rubbed on my butt! It happened so fast that I didn’t know what to do. Meanwhile, the girls took about two or three hours to get their nails done and so we were out until 11:30 which is late considering we usually go to bed at 9:30 or 10:00.
The next day (Tuesday if you’re keeping track) was a normal day at the orphanage and at the school with teaching. That night we went out with the two ladies (Ate Grace and Ate Merci) who helped translate and organize our trip to the village. We went out to dinner and ate a ton of food at this restaurant called Max’s, which had chicken and traditional Filipino food. They even had a TV but all they showed were commercials for their restaurant, which were very entertaining since most of them were like mini soap operas. After dinner, destiny would rear its ugly head and we walked by a stand that said “Balut Express.” If you don’t know what balut is, google it. Just kidding, it’s a duck egg that has been fertilized for 16-21 days and steamed. I had told many people that I would take on the endeavor of devouring this Filipino delicacy and so I ordered one balut. My team was more than excited except Olivia, she couldn’t bear to watch it. The first part to eating balut is to drink the juice inside of the shell. I did this and to be honest, it wasn’t half bad. Then the moment came to bite into the actual egg. I closed my eyes and did it, only to spit it back out. The taste triggered my gag reflex and sent me into a whirlwind of emotions. But I couldn’t let the unborn duck to defeat me that easily. I had some of the yolk and then located the duckling and tried once more. And like before, it won the best of me and I spit it back out. All I can say for now is that there will be a second round. Maybe I won’t name him/ her next time (I named it Ralph).
Today Alex, Chris, and I helped out Uncle Jeff by pouring cement with about 20 other Filipino guys from the community. It was pretty exhausting work but a lot of fun and it was cool to see how we layered an entire floor of cement in one day. Now I am finishing packing for Puerto Galera so I hope to write sometime after that. Peace and love to you all!