Some "Relatives" We Met Here!
Elder Bird at the Java Inn
First Time to Hold an Adorable Filipino Child
Children Playing on a Sunday Afternoon
Beach at Hannah's Resort...South China Sea
First "Trike" Ride
The Java Inn Sights
Sights on Our Way to Kabigan Waterfalls plus Bojeador Lighthouse
Here is our tour around the area of Laoag. Our driver, Alfred (47 years old....yes , we asked.... asking someones age is considered very acceptable here!) said he knew just where to take us in the time we had....we realized we were being very trusting, but we made sure everyone at the front desk at the hotel knew where we were going! We went along the northern coast line of the Philippines. It was so beautiful to see the ocean on one side and the beautiful plush green vegetation on the other. After about an hour and a half of driving we arrived at the oldest lighthouse in all of Asia, the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse. Alfred stayed with the car and we hiked up to the most beautiful view ever out across the ocean... the South China Sea. It was so beautiful and sooo windy. From there we drove to the famous Kabigan Waterfalls....and yes.....another hike....this time a mile each way. It was such a beautiful hike and would have been perfect if it hadn't been so hot and Elder Bird hadn't been wearing flip flops which wore blisters on his feet. I was so grateful I had my umbrella with me to help against the heat in some of the open areas. We were so glad we went....it made me think what the Waters of Mormon may have looked like. Along the way we saw rice fields (it is the planting season), Carabao, a white Brama cow and calf, and such beautiful scenery. We then drove to Hannah's Beach Resort and sat on the sandy beach in some shade and just relaxed (and tried to cool off from the hike!!) It helped and I felt much better when we left. It was a fun area and since no one was there (it is the rainy season so very few tourists), we had it all to ourselves for the most part. We then rushed back to the airport in time to learn that our flight had been delayed. Much to our surprise, on the same flight were Pres. and Sister Odgers (from New Zealand), Laoag Mission President and wife, headed to Manila for his/her yearly check-ups at St. Luke's Hospital. We had a very enjoyable visit with them while waiting for our flight to arrive. All during this trip we had many opportunities to share the Gospel message...and we did. We left pass along cards or article of faith cards with hotel staff, tour guides, taxi drivers, and our guide on the hike to the falls. He was a very nice man and was grateful we came because it's how he makes money to feed his family. Elder Bird asked him if he was a Christian. He said "No, no, no, he was Catholic"! So we let him know that he was, indeed, a Christian. We had a good laugh with him.
A few "firsts" we had in Laoag:
- Our first ride on a Trike....this was from the church to our Hotel. Several were lined up wanting our business. I chose this guy because he had braces on his teeth and sunglasses so I thought he might be a little better off and not kidnap us for ransom. We knew the way back, so when suddenly he turned down this dark dirty alley, I looked at Elder Bird with the look of "Oh, great, what are we going to do"?......and sure enough......it was a shortcut!!!
- My first time to hold a little child since leaving my own little ones....they are mostly a little afraid of us....we look different....so when I held out my arms to her, she looked at her dad and he nodded approval, and she reached out to me!! I was so happy.....I wanted to hug her tight and kiss her on the cheek.....but I controlled myself and just talked to her a minute and then gave her a sticker of Jesus. Now I am content.
- The first Jubilee Exhibit.
- The first close-up of a Caribou.
- Our first walk up an unknown street into a barangay.....we could see it behind our hotel...so on Sunday afternoon we decided to walk up there. Lots of people came out of their homes and looked at us.....we waved to them and they waved back. Then we saw some children playing....soooo cute.....and I held up my camera and they smiled and sat together on a wall for a picture. They were so excited when I showed it to them. These are wonderful, beautiful people.