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July 14th 2009
Published: July 27th 2009
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Brian and I were given the amazing opportunity to stay with a family for a week in small town Philippines. Our friend and co-worker here in Taiwan, Kristina is a Filipina Canadian who hadn’t been back to her home country for seventeen years. So when we were given a week off from school, her and her husband decided it was time to go back to the homeland. And in some very fortunate circumstances, they deemed Brian and me worthy to spend that week with them.

We stayed in the Bataan peninsula, infamous for the WWII Bataan Death March. The peninsula is on the Philippines’ big island, which has very few tourist attractions and the peninsula itself has nearly none. In fact, when I tried looking for a one night getaway hotel at a beach in the area, I found only one hotel for the entire area. Other than the one hotel there were a few WWII historical sites mentioned online but the featured destination on the ‘MyBataan’ website was the Bataan nuclear power plant… We weren’t sure if this trip was going to be very exciting but we were sure that we weren’t giving up the chance to stay with
Cockfighter with stitchesCockfighter with stitchesCockfighter with stitches

He is a three time champion. If your cock wins you get to eat the other guys...rooster.
a local family in an exotic country. Plus we figured her Canadian husband could use a little extra company.

The trip turned out to be amazing! We stayed with Tia Maria, Krisina’s great aunt. Tia is 82 and ½. Tia loves bright red lipstick, instant coffee, poetry and her harmonica. Tia has eccentric qualities like only sleeping from midnight to 3AM everyday, occasionally trying to start dance parties with us in the living room, buying three new house dresses every Wednesday so that she has a rack of these brightly colored garments that reminded me of the overplayed comedic scenes where the big shot business man hangs up his blue slacks in a closet with nothing but hanger after hanger of the same blue slacks. She also has a shelving unit near her bed filled with her favorite snacks so she can watch T.V. and eat in bed. Tia took amazing care of us. Had breakfast and coffee prepared for us every morning. One morning she prepared a Philippine sausage with sweet bread and joked that we call them hot dogs, “They’re not hot, they’re cold!” a funny reference to the fact that she cooked our breakfast every morning
I am so tired...I am so tired...I am so tired...

in this picture. The dancers helped though.
when she woke up at 3AM and so it was always cold by time we came down for it. Tia loved having her great niece in the house and showered us all with food, gifts, music and love.

The first morning we were there Tia walked us through the neighborhood showing her niece off to all her friends. We walked through Kristina’s old school and then to her aunt’s shop/restaurant where we met up with one of her many cousins, Adrian and his new wife and Kristina’s childhood friend, Ruth. By the end of lunch Adrian, Ruth and Kristina’s other cousin Raynon had our entire itinerary planned: That afternoon we were headed to the mountain to see a large cross on the top then off to visit Kristina’s father’s side of the family, Tuesday we were off to the WWII site of Corregidor Island, Wednesday and Thursday to the beach and cousin Ellen’s then Friday to Manila to be in the live studio audience for the Philippines’ famous Eat Buluga, a two hour talent/variety program that is probably like a mix between The Price is Right, SNL and American Idol.

Brian and I loved the Philippines. It was

actually videoke. claire and Jason
so reminiscent of Thailand in so many ways but maybe a bit better. Our pictures will show our excursions better than words. And I think the love and friendship showered upon us is even evident in the smiles of all our new friends. Many of which have demanded we come back for at least a month in Bataan. To that we could only quote Mcarthy, “…we shall return!”

Additional photos below
Photos: 105, Displayed: 24


At SchoolAt School
At School

Tia and Kristina during our walk through school
Kristina and RuthKristina and Ruth
Kristina and Ruth

17 years since they had last met (although friends on Facebook)

They look cooler than the small contraptions used for transport in other countries, but they just aren't that comfortable.

Cockfighting is a respectable sized sport.
Three time winnerThree time winner
Three time winner

but not without some damage. Adrian is showing us some stitches on the poor guy
Pregnant PigPregnant Pig
Pregnant Pig

She is two days away from birthing here. Check later for the piglets.

The eggs were given as a gift to Adrian's dad. They're from South Carolina. They're too young to tell the sex.
On the way to the Bataan WWII MemorialOn the way to the Bataan WWII Memorial
On the way to the Bataan WWII Memorial

Bataan may sound familiar because it was the site the Brutal Bataan Death March. There are markers at each kilometer for the entire length of the march. What was done has not been forgotten.
Quite a large cannonQuite a large cannon
Quite a large cannon

Fighting sure has changed in the past sixty years
Cannon 2Cannon 2
Cannon 2

I can't remember how large...55mm...does that sound right?

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