Saturday, July 2, 2016

Final Philippine Post

Starting on Thursday my picture taking gradually ended. It turns out that I was starting to have some stomach problems (which you do not want to hear about I am sure) and so I just had no energy. So, here are a few assorted last things to say about the Philippines.

One goal in coming the the Philippines, besides seeing friends was for Steve to do some lectures. His first two were for the Catholic Biblical Association of the Philippines. The second one was at Ateneu University, which is a Catholic institution run by the Jesuits.

We also met up with our friend Don Goertzen, a college friend. It was great to spend some time together and catch up. He is such an interesting person and has done some very interesting things in his varied career. He is about to go off and work in Kabul, Afghanistan for a few months!  The Philippines is home to him and where he plans to retire. He speaks Tagalog fluently.

I think one of the first interesting things I saw here is a Jeepney. They are everywhere. The history of them is that at the end of WWII there were lots of jeeps and so they were cheap. People got them and repurposed them by making them long and they became one of the main types of transportation in Manila.

The second common type of transportation is a tricycle. It is actually a motorcycle with a sidecar built onto it so that it can carry two or three extra people. They are all over. Our friends here at times said that they would think of taking one, but it was way too small for our American bodies.

They also have a metro (light rail) and busses and taxis. Even with all of the various types of transportation the streets are congested most of the time. We spent lots of time in traffic going to one place or another. Most of the time we were taken in vans or took taxis. Unfortunately I did not get to experience a trip on a Jeepney.

One thing that was happening here which reminded me very much of home was the inauguration of the newly elected president. Rodrigo Duterte was elected despite swearing and offending most people. He even slandered the Catholic church which is very strong in the Philippines. One thing that is interesting is that in the Philippines the Vice President is elected separately from the President, so a more liberal person, Leni Robredo was elected Vice President. Because they do not see eye to eye they had separate inaugurations!

What is happening to our world when so many people are voting for people who are so offensive and for isolationist policies?

Final Impressions
Filipinos are friendly and optimistic people!  Almost everyone has a smile and sincere welcome. I wasn’t here long enough to know how deep that goes, but from the few people we know long-term I think that it might be deep. They took such good care of us. We did not pay for hardly anything and were given lots of gifts (a Barong (a man's shirt), a large piece of material which is a woman's traditional clothing, a t-shirt and jacket from Ateneu) I think we will try to go back sometime and try a different beach place. In the meantime I may try to like eating food with lots of bones. My apologies for the horrible picture of my friends, but I did not take all of the right pictures. I also cannot believe I did not take any pictures of the nuns!

It is also still a pretty inexpensive place to travel. For example a nice meal at a rooftop restaurant was the equivalent of $30.

Coming up
Next I will write about our adventures in Seoul, South Korea. It is about a 4 hour plane trip from Manila and then another hour by taxi.

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