Monday, February 22, 2010

February 15 – 21, 2010

Our devotion time, with our APRC coworkers on Monday, included a good discussion on things in our lives that are good, but that take too much of our time/money/attention from our relationship with God. It was led by Herald, who had arrived at work in the IT department with a cute girl's wig on! He left it on until we were finished with our singing, devotion, discussion and prayer, then whipped it off as we all said, “Amen!” – he'd had a haircut, shaved down to about 1/8”! Since Herald is a soft-spoken guy, it was twice as funny as if someone else had done it!  This was an added object lesson of reducing the stress in his life.

Herald Uncovered
In addition, it seems that the snack budget has not been spent in IT, so they decided to use the money on pizza for lunch and, even though I work with the girls in the other building, I got included too! With just a few pesos contributed by each of 6 of us, we got 2 Pizza Hut pizzas to share! They tasted particularly good, as we hadn't had any pizza in quite a while, since before we left the States... mmmm!

We hurried home after work and I started on a quick supper, shepherd's pie, since we'd invited Greg, Terri and Zach Taylor over for dinner. They brought a beautiful and delicious salad to share too, so we had a great meal together. When we were finished gabbing, we started playing on the Wii, trying the bowling and baseball and boxing and golf... what a fun evening! I shared our kids' photos on Facebook; we'd talked about them enough, thought we ought to show some pictures too!

Tuesday night's Ballroom Dancing class was well attended, with more steps added to the foxtrot after we learned the chacha and the mambo. I think we did reasonably well and I hope we review all of them next time so we don't forget the waltz moves! It's really fun talking with the other participants, missionary parents of kids at Faith Academy. They are such interesting people with years of living in the Philippines and other places around the world.

Dan worked on a video Wednesday that will be shown this weekend at the Sterling Invitational Bible Quiz Tournament. We're missing it this year, so Dan will be sending a video, for offering time, detailing the progress that was made in 2009 to spread BQM (Bible Quiz Ministry). I took the day off from APRC since I'd been invited to shop with Terri and Melissa at S&R – a Sam's Club spin-off here (with real Members Mark brands). There we can get things we're more accustomed to in the States, including Grape Nuts, Bisquick, and frozen fries (three of the things on my list)! We ate a quick lunch there and arrived home early afternoon. By that time, the little headache I'd started the day with had grown considerably and nothing I took seemed to change it; lying down didn't help either. When Dan came home, he said I felt warm, so I guess I was running a low fever. Ibuprofen took care of the rest of the pain later after we ate leftovers from the fridge, but we decided against joining the missionary prayer meeting in favor of rest. By morning, another Ibuprofen took care of the residual pain and we went to work.

At the end of Thursday, we stopped at the Phillipses' home to borrow the Zanes' snorkel equipment, as we'd planned to find a place to use it this weekend. In the process, we gained a dinner invitation for the Friday evening!

flowering vine at the Phillips home
The weekday lunches in the cafeteria are always a treat! It seems like there's always something new being prepared and everything that we've tried has been good. Friday's new dish included shredded banana flowers, pork, coconut milk and red chiles. With rice, it was great! The kitchen crew always has 3 or 4 choices ready for us, along with rice, and sometimes include a dessert, like cookies or a sticky rice “brownie”.

Lasagna was just out of the oven Friday night when we arrived for dinner at David & Naomi Phillips' home. Keith Killen (in the Philippines, from Ohio, for a 4th time to help facilitate APNTS Board of Trustee s meetings) was already there and the 5 of us polished off the pasta, green beans, and iced tea before dessert of coffee and homemade cookies! We value these evenings where we learn so much about our friends and their fascinating lives, hopes and dreams, and future plans. Before the evening was over we had each been prayed with and for. It's a privilege to know these godly individuals!
These always entertain Janet's inner child.
We were up early Saturday to finally hit the road to find a beach; after all, we're living on an island in the Pacific! The early start was more to beat the Manila traffic than out of concern for the distance. We traveled south on the C-5, one of Manila's main arteries, then south on the SLEX through Santa Rosa until we got to Tagaytay (say “tuh-GUY-tie”) City, our breakfast destination. After a delicious breakfast at ChowKing, we headed west toward the coast. Our GPS came in handy more than once, even though all roads weren't on the map... 
We could see the ocean from the road, but many private neighborhoods prevented access. We checked out one place with a tiny public beach, but decided on Munting Buhangin (“tiny sand”) Beach Camp, which had a line of cars waiting to get in, a group of people traveling together to spend the day. The process turned out to be: fill out a form for the guard, drive dowwwnnnn a bumpy road to a parking area. Park and walk down lots of concrete steps to the beach area – registration building and “cabins” to stay in, restaurant, canopy-coverd picnic tables for groups to rent, a shower building, and quite a few nipa huts for eating or staying in, including a couple of tree houses for groups to camp in! We paid our 170 pesos each for the day to swim and enjoy the beach.

Back up the hill, we got our gear (we had waited to see if we wanted to stay before dragging the duffel bag around) and went back down all those steps. We changed into swimsuits and walked into the ocean! It's great to float in the ocean where the salt water helps keep you on top! There were mild waves and we saw tiny jelly fish; boat owners were waiting for groups to hire them for trips to nearby island beach trips.
We enjoyed the water for a while, then went to the restaurant, complete with wood booths and dirt floor, for our lunch – shared some pancit (rice noodles with vegetables and meat) and Cokes – delicious! Dan decided to rest on his beach towel while I searched for pretty shells. A couple asked me to take their photo on the beach, as did a group of 5 young people. It was a popular place! But not crowded at all.

We got back in the water with snorkel masks for a while (not much to see though, so we'll try that again somewhere else soon), until we decided we'd better shower and get on the road, as we wanted to get back to Tagaytay before dark, to see the lake there that surrounds the Taal (say “tah-ahl”) volcano! Now this part of the trip was an adventure all by itself. Dan had seen another way back to Tagaytay on the GPS that would take us closer to the lake so he wanted to try it. At first it was just another nice two lane through the countryside, then it became a bit more rural. Soon it became one of those ridge top roads (down on both sides) with an occasional house in denser groves and very curvy. The pavement disappeared many times, leaving us to bounce along on a bumpy single car wide dirt path, but the GPS kept showing we were on the right road!
After 22 km of the “ride” we did arrive at the lake! From that level, we could see any rustic raftlike building – SO unique!

The sun was going down, as we hurried up the only road to the city. This 2 lane street zig-zagged more times than we could count, Dan said they were so tight that they made the switchbacks of Colorado look very tame.
We did get a sunset photo as we climbed the old crater rim wall (by car), but the lake view itself was still too hazy for photos. Dinner was a shared meal at Teriyaki Boy, before the 90 minute drive back to Manila. We were home by 9:30 and enjoyed a slice of buko (young coconut) pie purchased on the way back before going to bed. What a full day!

Sunday morning, I opened the Bisquick and made pancakes, just like in the States! They're one of our comfort foods, accompanied by pineapple juice and coffee, melon and mango... Mmmm! We attended ICF on the APNTS campus and really enjoyed the music and Pastor Jason's message on “getting it” - what Jesus and the Holy Spirit try to show us. And it was great to hear the topic expanded in the Sunday School time after the service.

We'd already promised Keith that he could go grocery shopping with us after church at SM Taytay (he'll be here until April 12, like we will) so we joined the Phillipses at the “French Bakery” for a wonderful lunch – and lots more conversation before getting the shopping done.

We relaxed the rest of this lazy afternoon, punctuated with teenagers laughing, doing Bible study and singing praise and worship songs... and I think we'll each have another slice of buko pie before we go to bed!

No comments:

Post a Comment