Safe from typhoon's and Thanksgiving in the PH!
Trip Start Mar 21, 2006
55Trip End Oct 05, 2008
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For starters I am safe, well and have stayed relatively dry during the latest typhoons. Apparently they have been making the news in the States and I have appreciated all of your e-mails and concerns about my safety.While I'm at least seven hours north of the most
recent damage there are many PCV's whose sites have been affected. It is very
sad to see the damage these typhoons can cause and sadly they always seem to affect
the poorest of the poor. People in these regions learn to live with these tragedies as a yearly way of life!
I spent a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday with fellow PCV's in the beautiful tourist mountain town of Sagada located about 6 hours north of my site
potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, even cranberry sauce and of course Turkey's! Getting the turkeys was quite an experience. We were worried we would not be able to find any and have to settle for chickens but two days before we left I managed to find some in the madness of the Baguio City market. I was wandering around picking up some last min. vegetables and saw a guy that was selling live chickens. I asked if he had turkeys and he said he would have them the next day (the day before we left). I was not sure what to expect when we went back to pick them up, but there they were, three beautiful and almost US sized birds. It was quite funny to have three American's walking through the market with live turkey's in a bag and riding on the Jeepney with them. I never would think I would enjoy taking pictures of the live food I would soon eat until that moment. Life is indeed very different here!! It was wonderful to spend my first Thanksgiving in the Philippines with fellow PCV's and I had so much fun cooking up a storm. We nearly had 50 guest for dinner so we mashed more potatoes then I have ever seen in one sitting. Thanks to my Host Uncles zucchini I even made my mom's famous zucchini and parmesan cheese dish. Needless to say, between the Thanksgiving dinner we all helped prepare, and amazing food of a local French Chef the night before we were all in food-coma heaven!!
The week after Thanksgiving we hosted the first seminar at my host families' farm. Ten local farmers came to learn about Bio-Dynamic Farming from an Australian trained Filipino farmer. While there is still a lot of work to be completed at the farm, it was a wonderful trial run at hosting such an event
your farming. This is the indigenous knowledge that has been used by Igorot (Mountain People) farmers for many years prior to the influence of chemical farming. Again I never thought I would have so much fun preparing compost and learning about using chicken manure to garden, but I love it!!
I spent this last week in San Fernando, a beach side town about two hours NW of me for language camp. I chose to learn Ibaloi, the native language spoken at my site for the week. It was really nice because I was the only one learning Iblaoi so we had one on one instruction. There are very few similarities between Ilocano and Ibaloi so it was difficult to get my brain to think in the new language as opposed to Ilocano. I decided I will start speaking a
combination of both, so Ibakano!! The best part about the week was being near the
beach, nice to have a change of scenery and get some sand time in. Each day after
we finished our language classes we headed to the beach and enjoyed playing in
the huge waves!
nice to be by the ocean or to be exact the South China Sea.
It is hard to believe it is nearly Christmas, it really does not feel like it. Perhaps that is because I am not at home and I am preparing to spend my first Christmas away from my family. As I suspected I am missing home and each of you a lot around this time, but I am very blessed to have a family to spend it with here. My plan is to spend Christmas Eve and Day with my host family and then New Year's in Baguio with some other PCV's.
On December 28 the US Ambassador to the Philippines is hosting a Holiday Party at her beautiful residence in Baguio. Almost all of the North Luzon PCV's from my batch will be there and then we will bring in the New Year together!!
I will try to get out another update before then, but if don't I am sending Happy Holiday's wishes to each of you!!
All my love and Peace!