Sunday, February 12, 2012


General Douglas MacArthur's Return to the Philippines at Leyte Landing

National Historical Site

On February 3 we flew to Tacloban City on the island of Leyte. We arrived in a major down pour which lasted until Monday morning. On Saturday we did Public Affairs training. We so love meeting these people...they are truly our "favorite thing" in the Philippines. Sunday we attended church at the Tacloban 1st Ward and especially loved it because it was all in English! I just kept watching these 3 young boys sitting in front of us....ages around 9, 7, and 5 yrs.....they were so so cute. The oldest boy was so attentive to the speakers. The next boy was very attentive, but looked through the hymn book also, and the youngest boy listened, but folded a very nice paper airplane! I just felt that I was looking at the future of the church. Another thing that impressed me so much was the singing. Everyone sings!! From the young to the old, they sang with all their hearts....AND to top it off, we sang Hark All Ye Nations, which is my favorite hymn here. It's hard to sing without shedding a few tears.

After church our driver took us to the General McArthur Monument depicting his return to the Philippines toward the end of WWII. It was beautiful! Because of the week of rain, the ocean water was so brown from being stirred up and many waves were crashing on the beach. I imagined that it could have looked like this, as they came ashore many years ago, because they had just defeated the Japanese in the biggest naval battle of the war, right here in Leyte Gulf. Leyte is also where the first organization of the church in the Philippines was located, due to the American servicemen sharing the gospel. Inspite of the pouring rain, we loved visiting this area and just wandering around.

Monday morning was the Jubilee Exhibit in Tacloban. The rain had stopped. It was a beautiful day and they were well prepared for the exhibit. There was a large audience there with many of their government leaders attending. We had to catch an 11:00 flight back to Manila, so we were unable to hang around very long. We continue to be amazed at the service given by these saints and know that the church is in good hands here.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Scenes from Wawa Dam

Wash Day at Wawa Dam

The Children of Wawa Village

Interesting and Unique

Garbage City, Bikers having Lunch, Interesting Sign

Since our arrival in the Philippines, we had been told that we must go to the Wawa Village and Dam. January and February are the only two months that you can hope for a break from the scorching heat or the torrential rain, so on January 28 we headed out on the trek along with Elder and Sister Goss. It was a very nice day with only a brief sprinkle of rain. It was such a unique experience!
The road to the village took us first through one of the enormous garbage dumps of Manila....we drove North and East about 30 miles. Now this was eye opening! We passed truck after truck headed back to the city after unloading their load of garbage. All of the garbage was in large plastic bags and was unloaded into large walled areas or into large storage sheds. For blocks and blocks and as far as you could see on the right and left were places stacked to the hilt with bags of garbage. Then the people started dumping out bag after bag and going through it looking for anything valuable or that they could plastic or tin....yes, recycling!! I couldn't imagine going through someones garbage.....especially when much of it has been there for months in the heat and moisture before it gets gone through.
When we arrived at Wawa Village, we hired a guide named Eduardo to take us on the hike up to the dam. We had never seen such enormous boulders lining the river bed at the bottom of the damn. It was truly beautiful. This was the area where many Japanese soldiers held up that refused to surrender after WWII. Many were found hiding in the caves along this remote area. The villagers along the way had so little of any worldly possessions, but they were just so kind and happy....adorable little children were playing here and there along the trail, some were stripped naked and ready for their bath in the lake. It was wash day, and many were doing their laundry and hanging it to dry all along the way. A funny sight was the line of disposable diapers that were washed and hanging to dry!! Another fun sight was to see a group of guys playing pool. Eduardo told us that it is a money making investment....someone buys a pool table and then charges by the hour to play. We also saw a television set up with video games on an arcade screen...once again to make money.....looked to me like a pretty good investment!!
The Wawa Damn was so beautiful and serene. Many people go to this place for summer retrieves of picnicking and swimming. You could rent rafts made of bamboo poles to float around on...all had a little covered area so that you could stay out of the sun....NO ONE here wants to be in the wonder they all look so young!
Along the path we met many men of all ages, carrying huge bags of charcoal on their backs headed down to the village where they sell it in the markets....they use it for cooking. Also, we saw some carrying large buckets of coconut milk balanced over their shoulders. We passed a group of "bikers" that actually bike up these paths into the mountains. When we came walking back down, we saw the group ahead of us had stopped for some food (pictured). It was a mixture of rice, green beans, squash and rice milk cooked in banana leaves. They had no utensils, but just scooped it up in their hands and ate it. Right across from them was a large tub full of slugs for sale...yes, those black slimy things!! I do wanted to take a picture, but the vendor was standing right there watching me, and I would have felt like I needed to buy some....that was out of the question!!! Eduardo said people love them....some like them raw and others like them boiled! The bikers were so nice as they saw me stop and stare at the slugs, and they invited us to join them for lunch.....I said, " Thanks, but my stomach feels very full right now"......and it suddenly did!!!