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Monday, July 4, 2011

Week 36: Waterfalls and birthday donuts

This is AJ's area, a roughly 40 X 50 mile area in
central Philippines. Aritao is the red arrow in the middle.

This is the town of Aritao. AJ says the Mister Donut and the awesome ice cream
store is in south Aritao across from the Municipal Hall.
Elders Balaich and Griffin live across from (and behind) the elementary school.
Notice the basketball court across the street from the Elders.  

AJ: Hey, ya still up? We just came back from some sweet waterfalls
DAD: Sleepy-eyed, but still up. Got any pix?

AJ: Ya, I got a bunch. Just a sec. We also just bought a dozen donuts in celebration of how awesome America is!
DAD: Nice. Mmmmmm. Donuts. It's 1:10 in the a.m. and the screen is a little blurry. These early morning meetings are killing me.

AJ: Man I'm sorry. Oh and next week we are probably going to Banaue, so don't bother staying up for me. Also I was thinking ... Do you want me to send you all a package for Christmas? If so, I'll probably grab some stuff in Banauae, because that's where all the cool cheap stuff is ... and I don't know if I'll go back to Banaue again after next week.
DAD: A package would be nice. We have one ready to go for you, but I wanted to get my latest magazine in (it comes out Wednesday). Anyway, you don't have to send us anything, but it would be fun. Just use some of your money from your bank account.
AJ: Okay. I can probably buy lots of cool stuff for 30 or 40 dollars and then 30-50 dollars to send it home. So I'll grab some stuff next week. I might hold on to the stuff for a bit and get some cool stuff from the Palengke too. I just figured that might be kind of cool for Christmas for you all.
DAD: Yeah, it would be awesome. So do you live in Aritao? I am looking at it on Google maps. Looks pretty cool. Where are you at exactly -- what are you next to?
AJ: Ya Aritao. Pretty close to the market. In Barangay Poblacion. In front of our house is a big dirt lot and it has a basketball court. By the way, the falls were pretty awesome. Best falls I have ever seen in person – 30-feet plus. And next week the ones in Banaue are supposed to be even more incredible.
DAD: I see Aritao city hall, Aritao elementary and high schools, Aritao cemetary, Aritao public market ...
am i close?
AJ: Oh and across from the city hall is the awesome ice cream place and the Mister Donut.
Behind the elementary school. Like if you go from the one end of the elementary school straight then to the dirt lot then right across the street is our house.
DAD: So do you walk everywhere, or take tryke's or what?
AJ: We walk most of the time. If it's far away but on the highway we can take a jeepney. Maybe only once a week do we take tryces. And I hate tryces. The tryces here in Nueva Viscya are way way smaller than in Tuguegarao also.
DAD: How big is your area. Several towns? What towns?
AJ: We have the municipality of Aritao and Santa Fe, but we never have worked in St. Fe yet. We have the Barungays from Kirang to the west, Daripudiup in the north, Bone South in the south and Tubueng in the west. Our area is HUGE!
DAD: Whoa, I think I found the basketball hoop. You are right across the street? Where's the church?
AJ: We take a short cut though the jungle, sort of around a mountain about a half mile to get to church. But yeah, like right across from the basketball hoop. Our house is by a grove of trees and in our yard is like a small water tower thingy. Get the pics?
DAD: Cool pix. Love the baptism one and the donuts. Is there wildlife out in those trees you were hiking thru?
AJ: There are like 7 million frogs and they are so loud at night. There are tons of dogs and mosquitoes and lizards, but that's about it. I haven't seen a live snake in the Philippines yet – only a few smashed on the road. Knock on wood....
DAD: Sounds like you are having a good time with Balaich. How are your feet? Doing OK?
AJ: Aside from running around waterfalls and riverbeds barefoot all day, they're just fine. I got the one pair of shoes fitted with airplane tires a few weeks ago. They are doing all right.
DAD: We got some sweet Hush Puppy shoes comin' at ya in a few weeks! Found a lot of those places on the Satellite photo. Santa Fe just seems like a bunch of jungle area. You don't go up to Bambang?
AJ: We go to Bambang every Tuesday for district meeting. It's not much bigger than Aritao. Solono is where it's at, though. It has Save More and Macdos. We only are able to go maybe once a month. It's 2 hours away by jeep or 1:15 by bus each way. But sometimes buses are hard to get.
DAD: It's very cool that I can see all these places on the sat photo. You really are kinda out in the sticks! They even have the LDS church labeled in Solano's sat photo. Hey, I found the Save More too
AJ: That's awesome. But even Save More doesn't have real milk – how lame is that? Gotta take off. Love you!
DAD: Love you son, Be good!

Happy Birthday America!

So we just downed a dozen donuts from Mister Donut in celebration of America! We also took the district and visited Imogen Falls in Ste Fe (about 30 mins south of Aritao). It is the most southern city in the mission. It was pretty awesome and didn't take too long, either.

Good week! Elder Balaich is awesome and I love it. We just work hard and are really good friends, too. It's been a pretty good week, although it's been hard getting people to go to church. We have a couple people that will be baptized most likely this month.

First, Sister Marybeth, older sister of Karen (she got baptized last cycle) and she is really smart and close to baptism. She actually passed the baptism interview on Saturday, but then she didn't go to church on Sunday!!! Ahhh! So we are going to their family later and we'll see what happened. The family is really cool though. Karen is awesome. Marybeth is really good, too. The older brother we finally got to start listening a few weeks ago, but he has yet to go to church. The parents always listen and are really nice, but they haven't come to church either.

A few weeks ago this inactive family came back to church on their own and they want their child to be baptized. They were converts in 2008 or 2009. They are really nice and don't seem to have any problems with Word of Wisdom or tithing or anything, so I am not really sure why they went inactive in the past, but they are ready to return now. The ward is being really helpful and we are focusing on the parents and Erickson, their 10-year old son. Hopefully they can go to the temple in the future. They are really nice and really poor ... its pretty humbling.
Some Answers:
1- Do the people over there even know/care what the 4th of July is or care about America's independence?
Nope, not a soul. But the Philippines Independence Day used to be on July 4 back in the day. Then they got conquered again. After we, the US, kicked out the Japanese they got a new Independence Day.

2- Do they have big holidays there that have fireworks and stuff like that?
New years is huge. My first weekend in the Philippines was pretty epic. I don't know how much i told you about it, but it was crazy. I was actually at Balaich's apartment in Tugeuegarao and we watched fireworks from the rooftop. Everyone had dangerous fireworks. They were going off all round our heads.

3 - Does anyone there BBQ and cook out like us?
Well.... Yes and Not really...... They love to BBQ but they love to BBQ Chicken intestines, dinguan cubes (basically blood cubes), chicken heads, chicken feet, pig fat ... hungry yet? Needless to say, I stay far away from Pinoy barbeques.

4 - Is there anything that you and your comp are going to do before he goes home? Remember to keep the rules, Elder.
Well, we are pretty tempted to go to Baguio City. It's only 2 hours away (the mission home in Cauayan is 5 hours) and Baguio has Wal-mart, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Wendy's and everything else awesome the states has. Very Bawal (naughty, as it is out of the mission) though. We are going to do cool things though, like go to Banaue (the extra beautiful part I haven't been to yet), make tons of smoothies and good food and get trunky. Maybe... Joke-lang.

Love ya all

1 comment:

  1. You've got to try eating the pork chops at the Boulevard restaurant in Bambang... so good!