On February 26, we returned from Stake Public Affairs Council/Area Seventy training for two days in Iloilo. On the 27th we were on our way to Olongapo, located on this island of Luzon, and about a 3 hour drive northwest of Quezon City. Olongapo was hosting the Jubilee Exhibit, so we arranged to do Stake Public Affairs Council training while we were there. The drive to Olongapo was very beautiful...more flat with some hills and much less jungle like. We saw mile after mile of rice fields and sugar cane fields. We drove through some small towns and villages. Along the way we noticed markers indicating that we were traveling along the route made famous by the American and Filipino soldiers during WWII called the "Bataan Death March". I mentioned the historical significance of this in an earlier blog. When we arrived, we stayed at a beautiful hotel located on Subic Bay. Subic Bay was a major ship-repair, supply, and rest and recreation facility of the United States Navy located in the Philippines. It was the largest U.S. Navy installation in the Pacific and was the largest overseas military installation of the United States Armed Forces after Clark Air Base was closed in 1991. Following its closure in 1992, as a U.S. Naval Base, it was transformed into the Subic Bay Freeport Zone by the Philippine government. Each night we ate in a very nice restaurant where we enjoyed beautiful live piano music. The first night the musician kept playing the most beautiful arrangements of songs that we recognized from the LDS Hymn book. I finally walked over to him and asked him how he knew those songs, and he said that a friend had given him a green hymnbook and he really enjoyed arranging those hymns. He was a very gifted musician.
The Jubilee Exhibit opened on Tuesday morning. It was a beautiful but hot day. The public affairs director, Monette, had prepared quite the program. It consisted of a local high school choir singing the Filipino National Anthem, groups from local schools doing native Filipino dances, music from a zone of LDS missionaries along with their Mission President, and talks by local dignitaries (Mayor, Vice Governor) and remarks from my husband. Randy had a good visit with the mayor after the opening ceremonies and he thanked us for the cleanliness and beauty of our churches and for the service the Church renders to his community. We then left the opening ceremony and attended the ribbon cutting to the exhibit. As we entered the cultural hall, primary children were singing the beautiful Jubilee song called "United". The Spirit was so strong as we entered. As the children got to the chorus of the song, this large group of youth stepped in behind the children and sang with them...it was so very touching. We walked through the exhibit with the minister of tourism and a city councilor. We had a great time and were so glad that we were privileged to be there. In the afternoon, we did training for the PA Councils of Olongapo and the Balanga Stake. We had another beautiful drive back to Quezon City.