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Philippines: Monday & Tuesday with an Update about Cebu!

Posted 7/4 at http://dep-thephilippines.tumblr.com/

Hello all! I will start out by covering the first 2 days of our time at Trinity Ranch then I will share my individual plans in Cebu City.

Monday was our first day at the camp. We thoroughly enjoyed our jeepnie ride to the camp and the opportunity to see the countryside outside of the busy city. We arrived at the camp early and got to meet and get to know the team of 21 high schoolers from Grenich, CT that we worked with for the week. We got started moving rocks and stacking bricks for the cabins. On Tuesday we continued moving rocks.. (the theme of the week for me and Bri’s team) and stacking the bricks with cement. We found out that when the property was bought it was covered in gravel and that the staff planting every plant there and now it looks like a jungle!  This was a testing time for all of us with the extreme heat, humidity, new team members,and manual labor we weren’t used to. Tuesday night our lack of sleep from the night before caught up to us. We spent time in prayer with just the 3 of us and it was a great time to give our fears and frustrations over to God. (read the others blogs for info about the bugs, geckos, frogs, and thunderstorms). Overall the first two days were a great bonding time for the team and a great chance to get to know the whole YL Philippines staff. It is amazing how cohesively everyone works together and it was a very fun week to be a part of.

I am now at my home for the next month in Cebu City. I just got my schedule and plans for my time here and I am excited to get started after a few days of rest. Filipino planning is so foreign to people from the U.S. I have nothing to plan around, so I have given up asking what the plans are and I am just surprised everyday! Basically everything we were told in the beginning has been changed, it’s been a fun adventure 🙂 My host Bebmie is the area director for Cebu South and she is involved with so much! I will be attending staff meetings, hanging out with students at 3 high schools, be a part of a leadership class, multiple bible studies, 3 YL club nights a week, and I will help lead a relationship seminar in a nearby high school. I am excited to start getting to know people in the area. I am going to discuss plans with Bebmie now but I will try to update once a week! I have easy internet access here and would love emails to hear how you are all doing in the states! happy 4th of July:)

—Hannah

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Philippines: Thoughts from Amelia

Posted 6/25 at http://dep-thephilippines.tumblr.com/

Hello all!

To start the journey, traveling on a 11 hour plane ride can have some perks. As we sat in our seats, right in front of us was our own TV. We were able to watch movies, play video games, listen to music, and the most interesting for me.. learn Korean words. As I leaned back in my chair, I decided to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. As the flight came to a stop.. I watched four movies, played random video games, listened to unique music and learned how to speak more Korean words.. which I thought my family and relatives would be proud of. Then flying from Seoul Korea to Cebu went by fast, mostly sleeping the whole way.

Exiting out of the airport, we were greeted with the Young Life team. After we were taken to the place we would be staying at for a couple of days, which was a pension house for the church. As we walk in and dropped off our things in our room we were greeted with lizards in the bathroom, who made it uncomfortable for us to do our business… (if you know what I mean).

The next day we were able to sleep in and travel around Cebu, learning about the historical places around the area. The first place we went to was the oldest Catholic Church called Santa Nino. Walking in, the architecture was amazing, with high ceilings and detailed work, including a beautiful painting of biblical characters. Being a people watcher, I loved watching people in their thoughts of prayer and seeing their love for their religion. Also something that was interesting to me, was as people would walk out they would turn towards the front and wave goodbye and also touch Mary for blessings.

Traveling around Cebu is so amazingly interesting. While in the US structure is a necessity, anything here goes! Cars can travel in any lane and while cutting off each other is natural, I’m terrified while sitting on a bus. There are many taxis and small buses that people use for transportation and while in the US we have certain bus stops and areas to get on, they are allowed to get on and off at anytime.

Experiencing just a couple of days here has already opened my eyes to things I take for granted in the states. As my mom stated before I left, “you will miss toilet paper” thinking to myself I thought that was silly, but in fact the toilet paper is so different here, or having to use a bucket for a shower, or not being able to be comfortable while going to the bathroom because you feel the eyes of the lizard staring at you, or having clean streets and the smell of fresh air. Yes just after a couple days here I can already tell I will be learning a lot!

I’m excited to see the Lord work in amazing ways here and starting Monday we will be traveling to Trinity Ranch (the Young Life Camp) and begin our construction work towards helping them build two more cabins for campers to stay at.


Philippines Blog Entry Numero Uno

by Brianna Byers

Keep up to date on Team Philippines also at http://dep-thephilippines.tumblr.com

We will periodically add some of their entries here so everyone can see them!

Hello all of my Adventure Followers! I am sitting in a tiny dark internet cafe in Cebu city after eating of lunch comprised of pancakes, lumpia (ie spring rolls; this one with carrots and ground pork), and fresh mangoes! I have only technicaly been here two days but so much has happened so here is a brief summary of my experience so far. The flights were not very fun; there was a good amount of turbulence and I felt nauseous for most of it. The first was a 12 hour flight to Seoul Korea which actually had lots of movie options so I watched The Tourist, Just Go With It, and The Green Hornet. The layover was only an hour long because our first flight was delayed so we had to rush through security to catch our next flight. The second flight to Cebu was only 4 hours long and I was finally able to sleep so it went by pretty fast. We landed in Cebu and met the three ladies we will be staying with at their airport at around 1230 am Cebu time. Then we went to a pension house where we would stay three nights, two of which have already passed. Our bathroom has around five geckos and 10 spiders and we even have our own gecko in our room – but thankfully it stays on the wall by the windows. The temperature and humidity here is insane! We are sweating all the time and there is no air conditioning at the club I will be staying at in Bacolod. We found out that we will not be spending the first 3 weeks together – instead it is only the first 10 days. This definately threw me off, but I am just tring to lift that uncomfortablness up to God. These first two days we have spent seeing some of the sights in Cebu city and starting on Sunday we will meet up with the team from Conneticut and begin our week of construction projects. We will construct 2 cabins in five days so prayers for that! The first day we visited the oldest church in Cebu, possibly all of the Philippines, known as Santa Nino. Mass was in service and it was so beautiful there! There were even ladies selling Avon outside Cathy :] Then we visited a museum of a reconstructed house from the 1880’s. Oh and all of this was after a breakfast of McDonalds which is everywhere in the Philippines. The only difference is that they sell rice and spaghetti there! We went to lunch at the largest mall in Cebu where we ate some lechon (aka pig meat straight off a whole cooked pig body) and other Philippino food. Then we went back to the pension house to take a nap and shower – much needed at the hottest time of the day. Oh and dinner was pizza lol – I am very excited to get to the YL camp where we will be eating more fresh fruit and real Phiippino food. At night we went to the N. Cebu Young Life center and met a lot of the YL leaders that Hannah will be working with in Cebu. All of the leaders are in college but here you start college at 16 or 17 so they are all pretty much younger than us. They were so amazing! They asked us all sorts of questions, taught us new words, and even with the semi-language barrier we were able to laugh and make a connection. Apparently my name is really hard to pronounce though. Bri is too short and the “i” sound is weird for them so I end up being called Braae? And brianna is too long for them so either way my name is causing some trouble :] Today we woke up at 6 am (saturday) aka 3 pm of yesterday(friday) for you all. We went to one of the largest markets in Cebu today and bought some mangoes and looked around. The smells are interesting to say the least – when the fish gets rotten they throw it out in the street and it sits there…so ya… Then we went to Eden’s house for the lunch I described at the beginning of the post. Here is a rundown of the people I have met here – they are all so warm and loving and genuinely amazing people. Mimi who I will be living with in Bacolod, Tata who will be living Amelia in San Carlos, Bebme who Hannah will be living with in Cebu city, Wilbur who is the director of YL Philippines, and Eden who is his executive assistant. We also met tons of YL leaders including Archie, Recca, Christian, Maw, “Dimples”, Juliet, and Hazel ( I apologize for any mispellings). I am kindof bummed because I should have brought a smaller camera. This one I can’t take a lot of places because it draws too much attention to me. Which is unneeded because my skin and height make me stand out enough as it is. Kids yell at us when we drive past saying ” I love you American” in Tagalog :] But it is okay because we will all share photos. Life is very different here than it is in the US. The streets are terrifying – people walking across traffic, “jeepies” everywhere you can run up to and hop on, horse driven carts, and overall just a melee of vehicles. And the poverty is definately more evident. There are SO many people sleeping on the streets – not just adults, but infants too. And there is a lot of garbage everywhere – we can only drink water out of the bottle and eat the foods our hosts give us because many things are contaminated. While some sights break my heart, most of them just make me feel extrodinarily blessed. Sorry if this post was sporadic – I am kindof overwhelmed and have never written a blog before. I encourage you to read Amelia and Hannah’s posts as well because they will probably go into detail on things I forgot to mention. I love you all – thank you so much fo your support – and I cannot wait to see you when I return :] Feel free to comment on these posts – it will let us know they are being read. -Brae