Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Parting Shots

A neighbor with a sermon on a shirt


Saying good-bye to my good friends at the tailoring shop.


Our last time meeting the missionaries at the port, including a new sister from Pakistan.


Getting the rice starts ready to plant.  It takes 100 days from planting to harvest.


Our last day at the Calapan branch.  Heartfelt love and good-byes.  We will miss our special friend Nephi with Elder Bellessa.


Saying good-bye to Sir Roger, the best hair stylist in Calapan.  P150 ($3 US) includes shampoo, haircut,  with an assistant standing by to brush off any cut hair, a shoulder massage and after cut wash out .



Last visit to the Lazareto Elementary School.  We were surrounded by children giving us  the "bless, respect"  gesture of bowing their head and taking our hand to their forehead. 


A unique window covering with umbrellas of many colors.


Since we've been here we've seen a new mall rise a short distance from our home.  It is fascinating to see the process of building.  It is done mostly by hand.  There are probably 40 or 50 workers at work passing along buckets of concrete one by one.  They have a line that goes down three stories of stairs to the cement mixer.  Video


Many workers at the Provincial Capital. 


The Christmas tree from our last blog gets more adornment each time we pass.  It is surrounded by beautifully wrapped boxes and stars that have a light behind each one to shine at night.


Each classroom made a star using bamboo, pop bottles, plastic spoons, straws and other found objects.


Downtown Calapan is covered with festive banners celebrating the Christmas season.  Video



Mangyan boy with his puppy

Hitching a ride through town.  These little children walk miles and miles with bare feet.





Hanging out with a bunch of clowns.  Preaching the good word.


Last time we pass this at the port.


Last breakfast at the Filipianna Hotel where we've been staying while we ready our apartment for the next couple coming.

As we make our way off the island we pass "Monte Maria"  which is in the process of being completed.  It is taller than the  Statue of Liberty.  Sadly, like many things (Kentucky Fried Chicken on Rizal St.), We won't by here to see them completed.  

Depiction of Monte Maria

Farewell Calapan!  Thanks for the wonderful memories .



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Almost Gone

We are fast approaching the end of our mission.  We take with us the love and admiration we feel for the powerful missionaries, the Filipino people and faithful members.   We admire their resilience, their kindness, their patience, their courage and generosity.  We have been richly blessed for any service we have given.



It is always so fun to see missionaries we have worked with when we go to zone conference.  Elder Vave is a selfie expert.


You wouldn't see this in the U.S. grocery stores


 Full walking gear: (not always worn) Long sleeves, scarf to cover neck that also serves to wipe sweat and catch what drips down the back.  Sunblock, hat and a face mask (Hello Kitty with American flag) to protect from fumes, glasses to keep dust from getting in the eyes, name tag with phone number on the back to call in case of emergency.  Not shown: umbrella to give shade and protection from frequent torrential downpours.  


Saturday morning playtime at the beach


We had the opportunity to be with the other senior couples for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner at the mission home.  On our way we stopped for a Whopper at Burger King which is a happy time for Elder Bellessa.  We hear there is now a Burger King in Heber Valley.


Another interesting discovery at the grocery store.  Small print on the box says, "Stay Young, Stay White".


We attended the Miss Mindoro pageant which was a very interesting cultural event.  Pageants are huge here.  As we entered the arena with about five thousand people, we were given the VIP treatment of being seated right next to the runway.  It had amazing staging and outfits, dancing and music.  It lasted four hours with no air-conditioning.  We left after two hours but we were told it was broadcast live on Facebook so everyone could see it.  Each community came to cheer on their contestant.  It was very loud and raucous. Amazing Costumes

We left after the bathing suit competition.  We heard later that Miss Naujan was the winner.



A few days later Sister Bellessa was asked to judge a pageant put on by the district Young Women leaders.  A very different experience but well done and fun.


T-Shirt Sermon at the mall


The Sosa family we home taught and love.


This was one of the most interesting Christmas trees we've seen so far.  It is made from discarded tables, chairs and stools. Nothing goes to waste and is used with amazing creativity.



Three siblings from a part member family just baptized.




District meeting birthday party for Elder Lemalu


Outside of Pinamalayan there is an artist who makes all kinds of interesting things from worn out tires.  You can see the ducks drinking from the sunflower fountain.


Tables and chairs


He tried to sell us this incredible rooster.  We had to tell him it wouldn't fit in our suitcase.


Scary looking alligator

Because we are leaving we have received kind tokens of love from the missionaries

Surprise notes from each of the 16 missionaries from the Mindoro Zone.

Rice harvest is over.  Time to plant anew.  Symbolic of the end of our mission.





Sunday, November 5, 2017

To Keep in Remembrance

Sister Bellessa has a ghost like quality since she is so white and pale next to these beautiful sisters.


Always such beautiful sunsets.  They only last a few minutes and then night time comes quickly.


Many Filipinos drink water from the neighborhood well and it is these children's job to bring it home.


We were able to find a much bigger, nicer apartment for the sisters.  We had members and one investigator help us clean the old apartment.  The zone leaders came with their van and along with Elder Bellessa did most of the heavy moving.  A hot sweaty, tiring day.


A family from the branch

Rather than being buried, the dead are placed in tombs.


This week there were three holidays, All Saints Day, All Souls Day and Halloween.  It is a time when families come back to their provinces and have family reunions.  They take flowers to the cemeteries and celebrate together.  There are flower vendors all over the city.  It is more of a religious time, not so many ghouls and goblins which is a good thing.


Waiting for a Haircut  P100 which is $2


When we stopped at the gate of the Pola Elder's apartment these young boys were sitting on the ground singing.  There were three but as we brought out the camera to make a video one ran away and the others became quite shy but managed to finish their song.VIDEO


The patron saint of Pola is John the Baptist


A full life depiction of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus.



We're going to miss the big event of seeing Colonel Sanders come to Calapan.


Another Beautiful Sunset