This is the sixth part in a series of posts. If you haven’t read the first five yet, you can do so by clicking on the links below. Thanks for following the story!
I know that up until this point, the posts in this series have been pretty sparse picture wise. And I’ll just apologize in advance for the photo dump situation that’s about to happen here! Looking back at these images, my heart is just so full! I still kind of can’t believe we got to go and be there, in the Philippines, with my family! I’m so grateful our boys got to be there, experiencing the food and culture, the language, life in a beautiful, warm, third world country. It really is one thing to hear and learn about a place, being told about it by others. It’s something completely different to go there yourself.
And I’m thankful for technology. When we were mad packing, trying to get to the airport, I picked up my “big” camera. Batteries were dead. Extra batteries were also dead. I didn’t have time to charge anything and made a decision in the moment that my phone camera would have to suffice. Not the greatest quality, but it ended up being really handy and easy to have in whatever situation we were in.
I’ve thought about how to share these pictures with you, and basically decided to just post little explanations as I go! Hope this gives you a glimpse into our two weeks+ there…
So the day after we landed was a Sunday. After church and running a few errands, we all packed up, piled into a couple vans and drove for about thirteen hours to a house my parents had rented on a beach. We stayed there about four days. I’m showing you this picture first because I think it looks nice and calm and tropical. While we were there, we got to go see some sights and eat amazing food (like a whole pig roasted and then served on fresh banana leaves with fruit in its mouth!).
What we didn’t plan on was the relatively minor but still present typhoon that hit the area the day after we arrived! Of course we still had to go down to the beach 🙂
I really love this picture of my Mom and me. It’s very similar to a super windy selfie we took when my parents came to visit us in Ireland last year. Maybe we’ll take super windy selfies in every country we visit together!
The boys look really Filipino to me here! When we went to buy replacement clothing (while we waited for our luggage to be found), I really only bought them shorts and t-shirts and flip flops, because that’s all they needed the entire time we were there! This is literally what they looked like for the entire trip 🙂
Attempted group selfie. My favorite is Ethan 🙂
I’m definitely a portrait person, so unfortunately I don’t do a great job of taking pictures of scenery or really much else other than people. Also, my phone camera definitely doesn’t do this justice.
This is the front porch of the house we stayed in. That gorgeous little princess is my niece Lydia. She basically looks Puerto Rican, right?! If you can believe it, she’s even more beautiful in real life, even with the chocolate on her face.
Also, when I say “we” stayed there, I mean more than twenty of us in the three bedrooms. Filipinos don’t mind being close! There were two bathrooms, but bathrooms in the Philippines are pretty different from ones we have in the States or in Ireland. There is no hot water coming into the house. Sometimes the toilets flush, but many times you have to flush them manually with a bucket of water, and you don’t flush toilet paper.
To bathe, you fill a large bucket with water that comes from a spigot in the wall. If you want the water to be warm, you boil a kettle. Then you use a smaller bucket with a handle, which we call a “tabo,” to scoop up the water and pour it over yourself. The entire bathroom is one big wet room with a drain in the floor.
I’m so grateful my kids (and I!) got to experience that, learning to do things in a different way, seeing that different parts of the world are not as theirs is, and that there is much to be thankful for.
OH, THE FOOD!!
We spent quite a lot of time with a family from the church my Uncle and Aunt pastor. They have three boys, two of them about the same age as ours. Fast friends, here watching the typhoon over the beach in the distance!
And here, enjoying the fact that you don’t have to wear seat belts in the Philippines!
This picture is proof of two things:
1. Boys under the age of 13 DO NOT know how to look at a camera and smile. Literally, their faces malfunction if you are trying to take a picture!
2. My uncle (far right in the hat and shades) can still pull off the “I’m so cool” pose!
We got to experience so many cool things while we were there. For a long time, the boys have wanted to open a fresh coconut and drink from it. Well, you see that seventy year old woman in the picture below? She has this stand on the side of the road where she has hundreds of coconuts and opens them for you with a giant machete on a tree stump. 6 coconuts for less than $2. She literally hacks away at the tough green exterior until she gets to the center, sticks a straw into it, and hands it to you to drink. Once all the water is gone, she cuts it in half, makes a spoon out of part of the shell, and gives it back to you to eat the meat. Authentic experiences we’ll never forget!
We got to visit the house my Dad’s mother grew up in. There were a few different times while we were there, when we got to drive through different areas each of my parents grew up in. Lots of things have changed, but there were certain stores and buildings that had stayed the same. Listening to them tell stories about those places, about walking those streets on their way to school or going to the market, seeing where they grew up, was a treasure.
My Dad with his youngest grandson, my handsome nephew Liam. He’s sweet and funny and clung to my Dad for so much of this trip. Which of course made my Dad the happiest!
Ethan got a real taste for one of my favorite Filipino desserts, a treat called Halo Halo, which means “mix mix.” It’s shaved ice and sweetened milk, with a variety of toppings mixed in. We ate it every chance we got!
Okay, if you made it to the end of this post – congratulations! If you’re up for it, there is one more post in the series, also full of pictures! And at the end of it, there’s a special announcement. Hope to see you here tomorrow!