Friday, October 14, 2011


Senior Missionaries, younger Missionaries (Elder Tyler Haws) and Volunteers Filling Bags of Rice for Typhoon "Pedring" Victims

(l-r) 1. Wall of Water Coming from Manila Bay to Roxas Blvd. 2. U.S. Embassy Flooded 3. Overview of Manila Bay Water 4. Flooded Streets of Bulacan Province 5.Roxas Blvd. Manila
On our way home from Angeles on Tuesday, September 27, we noticed that the rains had begun to increase in intensity. By the time we reached one of the two good highways in the Philippines (Northern Luzon Expressway or NLEX) we had lots of rain and wind. There was very little traffic....a few large semi trucks were hold up under over passes to wait out the storm. We learned that Typhoon Pedring, a category 3 typhoon, was now moving inland over the area. We felt our car move across the road a few times from the wind, and the trees on the side of the road were bent over by the force. Water poured across the road and often, tree limbs came rolling across the road as well. We were blessed to drive all the way back to our apartment in Mandaluyong without any incident. We later learned that the area we had visited was severely flooded. NLEX was on higher ground and didn't suffer like those in the pictures above. Over 50 people died in this storm and thousands were flooded from their homes. Even many of our missionaries in the Angeles mission were affected by the storm, but all were kept safe and lived on their 72 hours kits that the Mission President had stressed each have. Sister Martino (Mission Presidents wife) told us that her husband had felt very impressed last August that each missionary have a 72 hour kit and their own cell the time, only the zone leaders had cell phones. They promptly responded to that impression and their missionaries were so blessed. Later that week, we had the opportunity of putting on the yellow "Helping Hands" vests...recognized all over the world as the church's humanitarian efforts.....and taking a Saturday to bag rice and clothes for the victims of this flood. It was quite a privilege to take part in this service. We truly feel blessed to be in this land.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


(l-r) E/S Bird and Angeles Missionary, Sister Bird and Lorie Pangan (SPAD), Public Affairs Committee and E/S Bird, E/S Bird and Pres. Briones (Angeles Stk. Pres.) Elder Bird w/ Pres. Briones in Front of 2nd LDS Chapel in the Philippines

President Briones Teaching Mayor's Wife About the History of the Church in the Philippines

E/S Bird with Angeles Stake Jubilee Committee
We had another wonderful experience in the Angeles Stake and Mission. They were very organized and had invited many leaders from their communities. President Briones, prior to the ribbon cutting of the Open House, led a group of reporters through each of the Jubilee Exhibit panels explaining our beliefs. This was aired on television the next day. It was great!! On Sunday we attended church in one of the ten wards/branches in the Tarlac area. The map looked like it was only 40 km. away so we ventured out and lo and behold, it took an hour and a half. The Church directory also said Church started at 9:30 a.m. but when we arrived sacrament meeting was just coming to a close. Church had started at 8:30 a.m. We were still glad we had made the effort because we so enjoyed getting to visit with the members there. They were so friendly and everything was taught in English. Yahoo!! Also, it was on this slow, "curvy" road that we happened upon the "Bataan Death March Memorial". Another highlight of this trip was a lovely dinner and visit with President and Sister Dave Martino (Angeles Mission President). Sister Martino and I grew up in Arco, Idaho and attended the same schools. She was a Baptist at that time and took seminary determined to straighten out her "Mormon" friends. It was fun to hear about her conversion to the Gospel and seeing how the Lord has guided her life. They are from Texas now. Also at the dinner was the office couple, Elder and Sister Jewkes. This was the first Jubilee Exhibit that we were able to drive our car to. That was so much fun....Elder Bird drove and I enjoyed looking around, as usual. What a great life we are having!

Friday, October 7, 2011


Bataan Death March Memorial at Capis

The Bataan Death March was the forcible transfer, by the Imperial Japanese Army, of 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war after the three-month Battle of Bataan in the Philippines during World War II, which resulted in the deaths of 11,000 prisoners. The march was 97 km (60 mi) long. They were given no food or water for the first three days. The monument at Capis reminds us of their arrival by rail after the deadly march to Balanga and then on to San Fernando. At San Fernando, they were packed into train cars (100+ per box car) and taken to Capis. From there they faced another march of nine miles to Camp O'Donnell, which had been turned into a holding camp for prisoners, and there they remained until the end of the war.


Holiday Inn Clark--We Stayed Here

(Pics l-r) Gate to Clark Memorial Cemetery, Main Gate to Clark AFB, Clark Cemetery w. Mt. Pinatubo Volcano in background, Sign on cemetery gate, two grave markers with visible signs of arsenal hitting the markers.

Clark Air Base is a former United States Air Force base on Luzon Island in the Philippines located 3 miles west of Angeles City, about 40 miles northwest of Metro Manila. Clark Air Base was an American military facility from 1903 to 1991. The base covered 14.3 square miles (37 km²) with a military reservation extending north that covered another 230 square miles (596 km²).The base was a stronghold of the combined Filipino and American forces until it was overrun by Japanese forces in early January 1942. The base then became a major center for staging Japanese air operations. Japanese aircraft flying out of Clark participated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, considered to be the largest naval battle of the Second World War. During the war, the Allied prisoners of the Bataan Death March passed by the main gate of Clark Air Base, as the soldiers followed the direction of the railway tracks north, towards Camp O'Donnell. Clark Air Base was recaptured by Americans in January 1945, after three months of fierce fighting in the Philippines. Clark grew into a major American air base during the Cold War, serving as an important logistics hub during the Vietnam War, and until 1975, it was a backbone of logistical support during the Vietnam War. The base was later closed due to the refusal by the Philippine Government to renew the lease on the base. After extensive damage from the Mount Pinatubo eruption, the Philippine Government attempted to reopen base lease talks, but terms could not be reached and the lease was not extended. In November 1991, the United States Air Force lowered the Stars and Stripes and transferred Clark Air Base to the Philippine government. With the United States military's withdrawal from Clark, the base was systematically looted and was left abandoned for several years. It finally became the Clark Freeport Zone and the site of Clark International Airport (CIA), renamed to Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in 2003. It is also the home of a very nice Holiday Inn.....where we stayed during our visit to Angeles! It was amazing how it felt like being in the U.S. as soon as we passed through the main gate......wide roads, a 36 hole golf course, regularly spaced traffic lights, and well marked street signs, just to mention a few things we noticed right off. It was a great experience being here.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Kick Off Celebration...Mayor of Caloocan (center in red)
Filipino Dancers
Sister Goss and Sister Bird with children in Caloocan
Children of Caloocan
National Family Week is a very big deal in the Philippines! Each year a city is designated as the "host" city for the event. They spend a year planning a big opening ceremony to kick off the week. Every community does something to celebrate the family. Our wards and branches combined the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Welfare Program with the family week events. Most did wonderful service projects in their areas. Anyway, for 2011 the host city was Caloocan, located about 15 miles to our North. It took us 2 hours to get there.....we were so lost! Elder Goss drove while Elder Bird sat in the front passenger side and navigated. Sister Goss and I sat in the back and mostly laughed the whole time. It is the Filipino culture to always say "oo" (yes) if you ask if they know how to get to a location, and then they point you the way. We kept stopping and Elder Bird would get out and use his little tagalog and ask someone if they knew where the Holy Rosary church was with the big pavilion in the back. They all knew exactly where it was and directed us....always the opposite way from where the last person directed us. It became so many little crowded side streets that you could barely get through with absolutely no clue where we were! We were just ready to try to find our way out of the maze and head home when suddenly there it was right in front of us!! We were an hour late and the place was packed with standing room only. Well, you would have thought that the four of us were royalty....someone from the organizing committee saw us as we walked up and stood along the side, and immediately several people came to us and escorted the four of us to seats on the second row from the front. We were brought drinks and snacks and shown such heart was so touched that I thought I was going to start sobbing before I got to my seat. I knew it wasn't "us", but the church whose tag we wear.....they love the service this church gives to them, and especially our values and support to strengthening the family. It was a sweet and very humbling experience. They honored several people for their contributions to the family, the mayor spoke, the runner-up to their equivalent to American Idol sang, and some amazing dancers performed. It was wonderful. Afterwards, we saw a group of children that lived close by to where we had parked the car playing a card game. We gave them our water and they were so excited to be in our photo....they love to see themselves! It took us another two hours to get home, but what a memorable experience we had.