Sunday, December 23, 2007

Day 2 & 3: Manila

Well, we have had a great trip here. Our second day was filled with more fun. After a very quiet, restful morning, we decided to venture out to see what we could find. We ended up at this mall/market place close by where we are staying. We decided to stay there all day. We ate lunch there. Found a starbucks read and had some yummy coffee. We watched a movie in a freezing movie theatre. Went to a few book stores, shopped at a local market, and ate dinner at Chili's. Very fun day!
On Saturday we went to a place called Intramuros, which is a walled city in Manila from the 1500's. We took a carriage ride around, went to some really old churches and museums, and walked around a fort. It was really neat. You could still see the bullet holes in the walls from WWII. The rest of our day was spent at another mall where we got Christmas presents for each other (from the same store, at the same time), and we even found a Dairy Queen! yumm...
Well, today is Sunday and we have been talking to family most of the day and have just been lazy. We leave tonight for Thailand and will get there at midnight! We are really excited! Hope you all are doing well. We will let you know how Thailand is!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Day1: Manila

Well, we have arrived here in Manila, the biggest city in the Philippines. And if we didn't look too hard, it felt like we were back in America. We have settled into the SIL guesthouse here, which is very nice.
It was around lunch time when we got here, so we decided to go to the Mall of Asia to eat and look around. When we got there, it was enormous. I mean, the biggest mall I have ever seen. Our first mission was to find a place to eat. We immediately look for Wendy's (thinking about yummy frosties) and sure enough, there was one! Yeah for Wendy's!
We walked around the mall for a long time, and went in a few stores. We found a VERY nice bowling alley and decided to bowl. There were couches instead of the chairs and flat scene TVs.
It was really nice. After bowling for awhile we went this Discovery and Science Center where they had a planterium, and watched a show. The end of our day was topped with eating at a nice Italian Restaurant.
It is really nice to feel at home for a little bit. In Davao, the only American anything we have is McD's and KFC. But here, there are American stores and restaurants. Doug, there is even a Chili's! Don't get me wrong, we are happy to be in Davao, there are just certain things we miss about America, and we are so thankful that we get to have a little taste of home!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Vacation

Most of you probably already know this, but for the few of you who don't.... we are going to Thailand for Christmas, and I am so excited about it! A friend of mine here just showed me pictures of her trip to Thailand and it makes me even more excited! So, here are our plans:
Leave: Thursday December 20th fly to Manila, Philippines
Leave: Sunday December 23rd fly to Bangkok, Thailand
have lots of fun in Thailand
Leave: Monday December 31st fly back to Davao, Philippines
I think we are going to have internet on most of our trip, so I will try to blog and take you along with us. No promises, but I would love to share our trip with you as it unfolds. Otherwise, I will just do one big blog about it when we come back. We love you and miss you all!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I know my mom likes to picture where her kids are, so these are for you mom!!!

This is MICA (the high school)
This is FAD (the elementary and middle school)
This is the covered court on FAD's property
This is the SIL building. It is on the same property as MICA and FAD. In fact it is right next to MICA. Nae and D- this is where D would work if you guys were assigned to Davao! No pressure, just wanted to post this for fun!
This is the route we take every morning from our front gate to school. That White gate is FAD's gate. Yeah, we live about 2 blocks from school, so nice! Oh, and that strange looking vehicle is a jeepney. Philippine public transportation.

Monday, December 10, 2007

One Busy Weekend...

We had an extremely busy weekend. I am so glad that Christmas break is coming up. A two and a half week break will be nice right about now! Here's how our weekend went....
Friday: Right after school the boys had a soccer game which lasted from 3:00 to a little ater 5pm. We ran out to a local restaurant to have dinner and ran back to school for the FAD Christmas musical called Angel Alert. The kids were so cute and did a great job. After the musical I helped with merienda (meaning "snacks"). After cleaning up, we were on our way home..
Saturday: Our shopping day. It is hard to get to the grocery store during the week so we usually get most of our shopping done on Saturday. This took most of our late morning and early afternoon. Around 4pm it was time to get ready for our Christmas Banquet. Student Council is incharge of this banquet, and I, being the advisor, had a lot to do for the evening.
Everyone arrived at 6pm for the banquet where we talked, ate and played games. What's a Christmas banquet without making human Christmas trees? We also did a white elephant gift exchange, done just like we use to in youth group days. How fun! The kids seemed to have a great time. After all the festivites comes the after party. We loaded all the students in jeepneys and heading off to the bowling alley... until midnight!! Rob and I came home exhausted, but very excited that the evening had turned out so well.
Sunday: There was a Christmas outreach over at FAD for the poor kids that live in the neighborhood around the school. There were about 350 kids that came! The was singing, the Christmas story, crafts, more singing, and even a lesson on brushing your teeth.
At the end, they gave Christmas gifts to each of the kids. They recieved a packet with a shirt, flipflops, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, and soap. They were so excited to recieve a gift. Of course I couldn't help myself. I ran around a lot of the time, taking pictures of all the cute kids. They LOVE to get their picture taken. I was walking around with the camera and the kids were asking me to take their picture. Then they would scrunch together really tight so that they would all be in the picture. So cute. I only wish I knew more Cebuano so I could communicate with them better. We came home pretty tired, but so excited about how the weekend turned out. Seeing so many different people's smiling faces this weekend was such a blessing. We are so thankful God has given us the opportunity to be here right now. We know we are exactly where He wants us and there is no better place to be.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


On Thursday Faith Academy held their annual Canival. Each of the classes makes a booth and all the money earned goes to a local orphanage. This years theme was pirates. Although it is a carnival for Faith (the elementary school) Every year, they ask MICA (the high school) to do a booth as well. MICA Student Council is in charge of the booth. This year they had two booths, a Slave Auction, where people could buy a high schooler and they would be their slave for 10 min. It was pretty funny to see what some of them did. You saw little kids making high school boys do push-ups and give them piggy back rides! It was quite the successful booth. They also did a Pirate Factory booth, which was face painting. It was a great afternoon and came together quite nicely. Here are some pics:
The Pirate Factory

Even Rob went to the Pirate Factory and got a tattoo (a heart with my name in it, aww....)
Every year at the carnival they have a jail where you can pay money and the 8th graders will throw whoever you want in jail for 5-10 min. depending on how much you pay. Well, half of the fun is running away when they come to put you in jail. I think Rob was thrown in jail 4 times and ran every time they came for him. The kids loved it!
Rob in jail
The kids loved buying slaves and making them do fun things like push-ups while they sit on their back. (Our slaves were very tired by the end of the day!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Since we are about 14 hours ahead of America, it is already Thursday Nov. 22 here. Thanksgiving day! Wow, this will be one weird thanksgiving. We have school today, so we have to teach. And tonight we are going to an Italian restaurant that is serving the typical American thanksgiving meal, with some Irish friends, and don't forget, we are living in the Philippines. Talk about an international thanksgiving! Just thought you all might enjoy that.... Everyone eat some good ole turkey and pumpkin pie for us! We miss you all.
What I am thankful for...
1. My Lord and Savior
2. My Husband- he is my support and best friend. I don't know what I would do without him
3. My family
4. My friends
5. God's incredible provision
6. the internet- It has made being halfway around the world a little easier!

We love you all. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Welcome to our apartment

So, I have been meaning to post pictures of where we live and just haven't gotten around to it. So, here it is. Our apartment....

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Camiguin Island

Last week was our fall break from school. It could not have come at a better time! We were in desperate need (well, I was in desperate need Rob was just in need... I'm a little more dramatic than he is!) of a break from the crazy life of a first year school teacher! So, what did we do with our week of? Travel! Of course, we have to take advantage of this season of our lives, no kids, living outside our home country... We had heard about this small island north of Mindanao (the big island we are living on) that has volcanos, beaches, hiking, hot springs, and plenty of cheap places to stay! So, we decided fall break would be the perfect time to go.
We had quite the adventure getting there. We had to take 2 buses, a boat, and a jeepney. The entire trip took about 12 hours! Talk about a cultural experience. At all the bus terminals, we were quite the sight to see! Everyone came running up to us, trying to sell us something or bring us somewhere or just want to know what we are doing. Wow, I usually don't mind all the attention in Davao, but this was very overwhelming, not to mention we were tired, hungry, and I was trying to get over my motion sickness. I was beginning to wonder whether all this travel was worth going to Camiguin Island. Once we finally got to the beach club we were staying at, ate dinner, and rested, we were glad we came. We spent 3 full days there, going to beaches, hiking to waterfalls, going to hot springs, cold springs, snorkeling, and eating Philippino food. We spent 2 nights at a beach club right on the coast and 2 nights in this mountain resort that was probably the nicest place to stay on the island! And it was ony $50 a night. In America, you can't even stay at a Motel 6 for $50!. At the highland resort, we had hot water and a bathtub!!!! We haven't seen a bathtub in 3 months! They would bring us movies to watch in our room, ice cream, ohhh it was so nice! We had a great time there!
There are many motorcycles here in the Philippines! Rob and I decided the best way to get around the island would be to rent a motorcycle! well, Rob has driven a motorcycle like once and that was a long time ago! So, of course he learned with me on the back! Yeah, and there really aren't any laws here about how many people can ride on a motorcyle, helmets, small children. It is very common to see 5 people on one motorcycle, no one with helmets on, and one is carrying a newborn! Crazy! Rob got pretty good at turning and shifting on the motorcycle by the end of our trip and I got more comfortable riding.
Then was time for our long trip home. We went on the boat back to the main island and got on our first bus, but it was full and there were no more seats! Rob and I were no very happy because we did not want to wait an hour for the next bus. As we were about to get off, we hear a bunch of people talking about extension. And of course being the Americans we were, we had no idea what they were talking about. Finally this man comes with these wooden boards (it looked like a peice of a 2x4) and he puts it in the aisle between the two seat for us to sit on! Oh it just cracked me up! So, Rob and I got the extension seats for awhile until some people got off the bus.
What a trip, after the 2 12 hour bus rides, being attacked by Philippinos, and our nalgene water bottle and motorcycle helmet being stolen, we were glad to be home! We did have a good time on our trip and quite the adventure! It was great. But I don't think we want to do long bus rides for awhile!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Davao Elections

Well, this past Monday, elections where held here in Davao. It was quite funny to me to see the difference in campaigning here as compared to America. Most of the signs here painted on rice sacks that were cut up. One thing I have learned here: nothing is trash. It can always be used. Why throw away rice sacks when you can use them for campaigning? I love it...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sadie Hawkins Mystery in the Library

We had a very busy Saturday this past weekend. Not only did we go to AJ's Birthday Party, but the MICA Student Council also had a Sadie Hawkins Banquet that evening. We came up with the idea of a mystery dinner. You know where everyone is a character and you get clues throughout the entire night to help you solve the mystery. In this mystery, all the characters from books in a library would come alive at night. And the King turned up missing one night. The mystery: who stole the King? So, each of the students and teachers were a different character. Their costumes were amazing! They did a great job. One of the things I have learned about MICA students: they LOVE to dress up! Although no one solved the mystery, it was a really good night. The students really seemed to enjoy themselves. Here are some pics:
Goldilocks and the 3 Bears!
Snow White and one of the dwarfs
The wolf, little red riding hood and the grandmother
The Genie, Aladdin, and Jasmine

Cleopatra and Dr. Watson
Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes

Monday, October 22, 2007

AJ's First Birthday

So, Rob and I have a househelper (I will tell you more about the culture in regards to the househelper thing in a later blog) whose name is GieGie! She has been so much help to us and we are so glad she is a part of our lives. GieGie is from "the mountains" an area about 2 hours south of here called Malungon. In fact there are some missionaries working on translating Scripture in this area in her native tongue! She is helping them translate! She has a son AJ, who just turned 1! In Phillippine culture, it is a very big deal when your child turns one because the infant death rate is very high here. So, they always have huge celebrations when a child turns 1! She invited us and two other couples to AJ's first birthday party at her parent's in the mountains!
Yes, it was our first opportunity to see what "rural" living in the Philippines is like amongst many other cultural lessons! Talk about the experience of a lifetime! Luckily, one of the couples had a car, so we drove there. Once we got to the town, Giegie came to meet us to show us how to get to her parents. We then had to drive on a VERY bumpy dirt road, where we got stuck a few times (Usually only motorcycles go on this road, thank the Lord it didn't rain, we would have NEVER made it!). Finally we came to a stopping point and had about a 10 minute walk to her parent's.
As we came down this hill, all I saw was about 100 Philippinos staring at us! There were so many people there! It was amazing! Talk about watching every move you make! Wow. She had all her family and friends there.
One of the first things they wanted us to do was ride the caribou. So, all the boys took their turns. Next was to see how the food was being cooked. They were cooking rice on the fire in bamboo. And no Philippino celebration is complete without a roasted pig (lechon). Rob and I even had the opportunity to roast it for a little bit. What is amazing is that they made all this food on a fire! There was no stove or electricity! In fact their house/hut had no doors and dirt floors. I'm not so sure what they do when it rains! Well, we were the honored guests! We were the first to eat, at a nice table with soda and everything. She even got buko juice for us! Buko juice is the juice from a young coconut. You drink it right out of the coconut! How fun! After our very Philippino meal, we went in their house/hut to relax a little. Next it was time for children's games! There were so many kids there, and they were having a great time! It was fun to watch them play. Giegie's brothers are really into boxing and boy do they start them at a young age! The next spectacle was a boxing match between two very young boys!
After all the games, it was time for ice cream and cake! They were all so excited, the man serving the ice cream just about got attacked! Being the "honored guests," we were served buko salad (the meat from the coconut, mixed with fruit and cream) and cake! After our desert, it was time for us to go. But not before taking some family pictures. One thing I have learned being here is that if you give someone pictures, it is considered a very nice gift. None of the Philippinos had a camera, so I was happy to take a ton of pictures! I'm not sure when Giegie's family ever had the opportunity to take a picture together. We waved goodbye as we heading on the path through the rice paddies back to the car!
On our way back, we had to go through the bumpy dirt road again, and of course we cannot do that without a little adventure. There were a few times the boys had to get out to push and once where we got in a very deep hole! Thankfully some Philippinos came to help us! (Philippinos are so nice!)
And so was our adventure. It was a day that I will never forget. An experience of a lifetime! I am so thankful to have the opportunity to experience other cultures. We Americans have no idea how luckly we are! That our bathroom is not a hole in the ground, we don't have to build a fire just to cook a meal, we can drink tap water, heck, we have running water, we have electricity, carpeted floor and aircon! All of which they had none! And yet they are happier, and more content than most Americans! Makes you think....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tabernacle Project

More school fun. In Rob's Old Testament class he had them build a tabernacle for a project. The students really got into it! They built some amazing tabernacles! He then made them present them in class! Here are the pics:

Mr. Johnson inspecting the project as the student presents!

Two of the students pointing out their impressive features to their teacher!

It was fun to see the students' creativity!