Well, since I have once again dropped the ball and let too long go by without a blog post, I’ll save the apology and get write (get it-‘write’) to it.
So, in the past month, I have been from one end of the country to the other. I’ll begin my blog with the trip that was the longest ago and continue on chronologically until present time.
My first trip was to Bohol, which is an island in the Southern half of the Philippines. Even though it is a relatively small area of the country, it is one of the more famous areas of the Philippines. It is home to the worlds smallest mammal, the Tarsier, and the Chocolate Hills, both of which draw tourist from all over the world. Along with me, I was joined by all of the Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines. We were also lucky enough to have Cannon Peter Ng and Rev. Cannon Bruce Woodock join us. While we did attend one day of meetings, the majority of time, for me at least, was spent relaxing and taking in the beauty that is the Philippines. The country is remarkably beautiful. It is easy to lose oneself in the surroundings. It takes no stretch of the imagination to be transported back a few hundred years. You walk down streets that are walled by Spanish architecture; you hear the ocean, birds, and children instead of cars, and you smell grilled fish and coconuts, which I think smells the same now as it ever did. It was a wonderful trip.
The next trip for me was to Davao, which is also in the lower half of the Philippines. I, along with the whole Community Development team, flew down for the Ordination, Consecration and Installation of a new Diocesan Bishop. Bishop Jonathon Casimina was installed as the first Bishop of the Diocese of Davao. I had the pleasure of meeting and spending some time with him in Bohol; I think the Episcopal Church in the Philippines has gained an excellent leader in Bishop Casimina. I expect many great things out of the Diocese of Davao in the very near future.
While in Davao, I was introduced to John Deane, the director of the ABM (Anglican Board of Mission), in Australia, and to Philip Miller, one of the ABM board members. Besides being excellent companions for a few days, they have offered an invitation to me for February. If everything works out-I will be going to Australia with Attorney Floyd Lawlet, who is the National Development Officer for the ECP. While Floyd has other business, I will be giving a presentation of the basics of YASC, along with what YASC has meant thus far to me and the benefits that come from a program like this. Needless to say-that excites me.
The trip to Bohol was at the end of October; the trip to Davao was at the end of November; the time in between the two were just as busy as always. During this time, I attended the ordination and the baptism of which was mentioned in my previous blog.
The ordination went very well and as I said before, I am honored. It was a bit of a strange feeling for me, though, vesting someone. I felt a tad out of place. I also felt a little strange vesting someone who is only one year older than me; I do not think her age takes anything away from her accomplishment-if anything it makes it more impressive; I guess it is just strange to have to look at someone of my age in that type of position. Luz Tobe is a Deacon, which is a position that is given respect world-wide. She is directly responsible for the spiritual and financial health of a parish. The thought of that kind of responsibility is daunting to me. I am not one who is afraid of responsibility, in fact, I even search it out at times; but, that specific type of responsibility seems a little different, to me at least, than being able to produce a presentation or document by a deadline. Shoo-growing up is a weird thing.
We have also been busy in regards to the farm. We submitted two proposals, which have both been accepted. The first, is for the construction of a second, larger greenhouse. This greenhouse will be 20mx20m; the materials have been donated by the Tadian Department of Agriculture. Construction will be beginning within the following week. The second approved proposal was for a new water entrapment pool. This is exceedingly important to the continued growth of the farm; without this pool, the farm would be severely pressed for water in the coming months. The pond is also dual usage-we will grow and harvest Tilapia in it. Cool, right?
We also have begun the SRI, which is absolutely backbreaking work. My legs have been sore for dayssss. I don’t know if you all know this, but walking in shin-high mud all day is very tiresome. The fields have all been prepared, and the planting will be commence in 12 days. We have also just finished installing a net roof over the tree nursery, which will be harvested in late April and early May.
Bishop Brent and I are in the beginning stages of creating a youth in agriculture program as well. It will focus on organic farming and smart financial planning. As I said, it is in its fledgling stages, but I will keep you informed as we move along.
In my time, here in the Philippines, I have eaten several strange things. But, this past week, I ate the strangest. We harvested a Bee hive; I ate wild Bee. It was not good.
I have also been given an Igorot name, which is Gatan. I may be wrong about the legend, but if I understood correctly, Gatan was this herculean type figure from one of the tribes here in the Mountain Province. Anyways, Gatan was said to be able to do anything and is single handedly given the credit for numerous battle victories and for bringing gold and water to the mountains. Naturally, I am flattered. The meaning of the name is nice, but its the meaning of them giving me one which is nicer. The Bishop said that by them giving me a name they have adopted me as a son into the community. He says it rarely happens to Americans and even less this quickly. So, that’s cool.
I also did the most un-American thing ever on Thanksgiving-we had tuna, river eel and squid. I felt like a traitor, but I think it would have been most difficult, if not impossible, to have found canned yams or a butterball turkey. Or, for that matter, an oven or stove by which to cook it. So, the Tuna sufficed.
Anyhow, I hope you have enjoyed this blog. I would say expect to hear from me again soon-but lets be real-history repeats itself-my blogging seems to be no exception to that rule.
Be Good, Y’all!