Solano is a little bit bigger town than Bagabag so we went there to run a few errands and see the market yesterday. Here’s a slideshow of Solano.
Molly is 4 and she’s a pro at making expressive faces. I think she’s hilarious! Maybe she has a future as an actress or comedian. Here’s a slideshow of more of her faces – all of which she has names for! The music is her favorite song – the theme song for Thomas (the train) and Friends.
Sarah and I, along with two other missionary wives (Joy and Amy) took the plane over to Baguio for a day of shopping. Baguio is on the top of a mountain. It’s cool with no humidty, making it a popular vacation location. Unfortunately the car/bus/jeepney exhaust keeps all the roads full of black smoke. Sarah and I shopped in the market in the morning, went to the mall for lunch at our favorite Chinese place Mann Hann, went to Easter Weaving to see the weavers work, went to Mines View for the view and more shopping, then stopped by the Botanical Gardens on the way back. We went to dinner at O Mai Khan, a Mongolian Barbaque place. We spent the night at Doane Rest, a guest house owned by another mission organization. Then back on the plane this morning. It was a short but fun trip. This large traditional capiz shell Christmas decoration, called a parol, was my splurge purchase for myself.
Here’s the slideshow of our trip.
This is the Stallsmith’s house and if you look closely you can see Molly and Ida, the helper, out waving goodby to us. The little house I’m staying in is next door.
These are some of the many rice fields we flew over. The view was fantastic!
We shopped and shopped for bargains in the market – till we ran out of pesos! Here Sarah is buying asparagus, something you can’t find in Bagabag.
First let me say DC traffic is nothing compared to traffic in Manila! It’s crazy – if there are lines on the roads no one pays any attention to them and the bumper to bumper traffic is stop and go for miles and miles.
We left the guest house in Manila early and drove south to see the Volcano Taal with a stop to see the world’s only bamboo pipe organ. We also had a wonderful lunch at Sonya’s Bed and Breakfast, also in Tagaytay. The gardens were gorgeous and they grew the lettuce for the salad right there.
In the slideshow you’ll see the Stallsmith family enjoying a treat of Starbucks on Manila Bay, street scenes on the drive to the church with the bamboo organ, lunch at Sonya’s Bed and Breakfast, volcano Taal, a roadside nursery in Tagaytay, a pineapple field on the drive back and school kids boarding a Jeepney. Jeepneys and tricycles are very common forms of transportation and are everywhere, like cabs in NYC. The last slide is coming into Manila. The metal structure is a billboard – which are huge and everywhere – with the sign taken down for the typhoon season.
On my way to the Philippines, I had a 12 hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see a little of Germany, plus I’d get a stamp in my passport if I left the airport. So, not knowing a single word of German but with a few tips on which trains to take, I ventured out. I went to the zoo first and then walked around at the main downtown stop and happened upon the Christmas bazar in the square. The only sign in this picture that means anything to me is the one with the U as that was one of the trains I took. Somehow I managed to take the right trains in the right directions on the first try. The strangest thing about the train system is that you don’t have to show a ticket your to ride. I guess it’s all on the honor system. Here’s a slideshow of Germany.
My first day in Manila Glenn, Sarah, the girls(Catherine, Madeline and Molly)and I took a boat over for a tour of Corregidor Island. It was a significant spot in many wars as it is located at the entrance to Manila Bay. The Spanish Lighthouse remains, but all the buildings built by the Americans during World War II are crumbling. This picture is of the movie theater that once entertained thousands of American soldiers. We had lunch at the hotel on the Island. The drink is buko pandan (translated young coconut and leaf – the coconut you can see, the green color is from a leaf). Here’s a slideshow of Corregidor.