Friday, May 12, 2006

Something Old, Something New

Something New....
Today is Friday, which means our Outstation in a little town called Balibago. Friday afternoons we go there and invite the neighborhood to come and hear a short gospel message. We usually have two parts to the congregation. The first group will come right up with us and sing and listen, the second group is a little too cool to join us, but a little too curious to completely leave, so they listen from afar. It was very windy today, a typhoon is making it's way toward us (they say it will hit on Sunday) and the wind blew the bamboo tree that we were under high and low. So, I found a new use for my umbrella, to keep the branches off of our heads!

Something Old...
(Letter from our first trip continued)(1/20/05)
For those of you who know them, Rev. Reed, Rev. Macdonald, Rev, Jordan and Pastor Davis preached in the evening service during the conference. There was an interpreter there for each of the services. And on the last night, there was two, a Tagalog interpreter and a Korean interpreter. Many Koreans come to the Philippines as missionaries and workers for God. They attend the services to help them learn English. One missionary’s son, found a reality in God with our church there, and attends our church instead of his own father’s church!

The trips to the market and the mall were great adventures. Riding a jeepney there…taking a trike (motorcycle with a side car) back to the hotel….dickering with the driver over the amount….walking along the open market on the streets. That was a colorful experience. The jeepneys are privately owned and decorated with very bright colors and usually a theme or phrase. Many of them have references to God. Such as “Gift of God” “My Savior” “God Provides” and then there were those that had references to Bob Marley, or a certain section of town, even some with American flags on them. Walking the sidewalks, means walking the streets, for many of the vendors use that area for there wares. Jaywalking is common, so much so, that a recent government idea was to hang a wet sheet from a pole on the side of a vehicle about 7 feet high and drive through the streets, soaking those who were off the curb on the streets. The idea was mocked and as of this time not yet implemented.

Music CDs, DVDs, and computer software were openly sold in kiosks in the mall area and along the streets. I perused their offerings and found software that would cost hundreds of dollars here, for just three or four dollars. I am sure (tongue firmly in cheek) that it was all legal and not pirated copies…Actually, I was told that when the police come to do a piracy crackdown, they confiscate the whole rack of material and as soon as they are gone and out of sight, the proprietor brings out a brand new rack! I did buy a couple of Rolex watches for only $5.45 each! I gave them as gag gifts that I hoped would at least last 15 minutes.

One benefit to those who would not abuse it, was that prescription drugs could be bought without a prescription. Some bought their allergy or headache medicine that cost them $3 a pill in the states for the equivalent of 45 cents a pill.

After a week in Angeles City, we went to Clark Air base and got on a commuter flight to Manila and then caught a jet to Mindanao. The prop plane on the first leg of the trip required us to be weighed and seated according to our weight. The flight cost us about $18 dollars a piece and saved almost 2 hours traveling to Manila on a bus. The flight to Cagayan de Oro, the city on the island of Mindanao that we were going to, was smooth. There was no gate to pull up to, but we disembarked down a set of stairs that were rolled up to the plane. At the bottom of the stairs, there were umbrellas to be used to keep the sun off of one’s skin during the 100 foot walk to the terminal. The Philippinos are obsessed with wanted to have a lighter skin complexion and take whatever precautions necessary to keep from getting darker. I was amused at seeing the advertisements that went something like this “Tired of your dark underarms? Use Cortez’s whiteneing soap and you will have lighter underarms in days!” Yes, there was an actual advertisement to lighten their underarms….

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