I’ve been in the Philippines for the last two weeks on a mission trip hosted by a Filipino-American university. For those of you who don’t know, the Philippines is a country composed of more than 7,000 islands in Asia. This post will be mostly pictures; I have to give my dad photo credit for most of these. 🙂
We flew to Portland, Oregon, then on to Tokyo, landing finally in Manila.
We stayed in Manila for one day and then left on the next morning for Pangasinan, a province in mid-Philippines.
That there in the photo is a Filipino dessert called a Halo-Halo, which means mixed in Tagalog (the Filipino language), as that’s what you’re supposed to do, or else it isn’t supposed to taste very good. It was interesting. I’m not exactly sure what was in it (I don’t think I want to know), but it was pretty good. The only ingredients apart from the ice cream that I could distinguish were beans (as in kidney or pinto beans) and cheese. It was not bad. Just different. I’m pretty sure if I had more than one during our stay, I would have gotten to like it a lot.
I was disappointed that we didn’t have more traditional Filipino cuisine, but for the sake of time, we had traditional Filipino fast food. (Let me tell you: now that we’re at home I am eating nothing but vegetables for at least the next month.)
The Philippines is the only country in the world where McDonald’s is not the largest fast food chain. The largest fast food chain in there is Filipino-founded Jollibee. Their burger is called Yum! and their fried chicken is Chickenjoy. They also had spaghetti. It was interesting. (Again, that word, “interesting.” I did like it. It was simply different than what I’m used to.)
They’ve got a chain near Seattle, so the next time we’re there, I’ll have to look it up.
In Tokyo (at the airport), we got some amazing green tea cookie things that were so good.
I met a crew of fabulous people while we were in the Philippines. I don’t have Facebook — because I think it’s an overrated time-waster — but after this trip, I think I’m going to have to break down and get one just to keep in touch with my new friends.
I had many more pictures with other amazing people, but I forgot that just because your picture is being taken doesn’t mean that the device that is being used is your own. I’m kicking myself now, because I had a lot of photos taken with a lot of people whom I shall miss dearly.
During the one non-mission work day, we went to the Hundred Island National Park in Alaminos, Pangasinan. The park is made up of over one hundred twenty islands, only three of which had been developed for tourism (which is kind of amazing; if this was in the US, every island would probably have docks and concession stands).
These next things that I’d like to share are of great importance. In fact, I didn’t realize how I had survived life thus far without these.
First: GREEN TEA KIT-KATS.
I know, right? I’m pretty sure that all of you who knew about these are rolling your eyes, going, Yeah, yeah, green tea Kit-Kats, no big deal, but SERIOUSLY. I’ve decided I’m moving to Japan … So, yeah. Bye now. (These are matcha green tea kit-kats, but I did have a normal green tea one in the Philippines.)
Second: Artisan Filipino chocolate (Theo & Philo is the brand) with literally six ingredients. If you’re ever in the Philippines, get this chocolate. It is one of the best chocolates that I’ve ever had; what makes it even better is that it’s 100% sourced from the Philippines. And you can pronounce everything on the ingredients list. (So good.)
Third: cool money. Which maybe sounds stupid, but is still really cool.
The first few days I was back were spent in this strange stupor of missing the friends that I’d made, jet lag, and basically doing generally nothing. Now, I think I’m mostly recovered. I still miss my friends. I still miss trying to find people game enough to say the word “nakakapagpabagabag” (which is an actual Tagalog word meaning that you’re worried about something; try to say it ten times fast. Actually, try saying it once slowly), I even miss the sweltering heat. And fresh mango every morning.
I’m going back, folks, because I loved every second.