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. πŸ™‚




We flew to Portland, Oregon, then on to Tokyo, landing finally in Manila.

This plane is sort of going to Oregon. Couldn’t you tell? :p
Manila is one of the world’s most densely-populated cities with almost 2 million people total.
More Manila.
Manila. Β© my dad.
The Mall of Asia is the 4th largest mall in the Philippines, and 13th largest in the world. Photo Β© my dad.
Manila. Photo Β© my dad.
Manila. Photo Β© my dad.
Manila. Photo Β© my dad.
Manila. Photo Β© my dad.
Manila. (I took this one. :p)




We stayed in Manila for one day and then left on the next morning for Pangasinan, a province in mid-Philippines.

Photo Β© my dad. (Because those are my hands in there.)

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.)

The Jollibee. By my dad.

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.

Me and a few of my Filipino friends (all of whom are students at the university). Photo by my father.
Me and Bong, my wonderful, fabulous, extraordinary translator and friend. Guess who took this photo?
Fernand, me, and Gilbert (who is currently one of my favorite people).
From top right: Aric (looking like he’s zoning out or about ready to give a speech), me, Brittany, the incredible Joven, Philip (who was hilarious), and my dad. Photo by J. Barton.
Me and Mr. Steve. Photo by J. Barton.
Ben, Joshua, me, Joven, Christopher, and several other folks who’s names that I’ve either forgotten or don’t know. Photo by J. Barton.
I cannot remember most of these lovely ladies’ names. I remember Diane (high-five, Diane!), and Joisa, but I cannot think of the others’. Which is unfortunate. If you’re reading this, and you’re one of the anonymous ladies, I do remember you! Just not your name. Sorry. (Dad took the photo.)
Of course I’m where the food’s at, folks! Photo by J. Barton.

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).

The boats going to Hundred Island Nat’l Park. By my father. Of course.
The part of Alaminos City near the seaside. (This photo was taken by my dad. I’m in there, wearing the shorts.)
Me, the zipline, and my dad (who’s behind the camera).


back home.


The bus back to Manila. Note the only other person besides the photographer who’s awake is me. Because I was knitting. (I also look like I’m incredibly mad, but it’s the camera angle, I assure you. Definitely not being disillusioned with the scenery because my photo is being taken. Definitely not that at all. Photo by J. Barton.

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.


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.



  1. in 2014 I was in Manilla for 8 weeks and it was the best time of my life. Those Youtube videos are still getting views. I loved EVERYthing about it outside of the traffic..LOL! Thanks for taking me back and reminding me of what I miss so much!


    1. That sounds like so much fun! You must have had an amazing experience and met so many fabulous people during those eight weeks! The traffic is the only thing I do not miss, either. Of course, Manila is much worse (concerning traffic) than in the place I was. I can only imagine what it must have been like day-to-day. πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting! I’m glad you liked the post. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Paula! I need to know: do they sell them here in the states? I haven’t seen them before, so I don’t know. (Maybe we could, like, exchange yarn for green tea kit kats if they’re available where you live …)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think there are a few Japanese markets here that carry them πŸ™‚ I received mine as a gift from a friend who lives in Japan. I also looked them up and you can buy them on Amazon! You can buy most anything on that site πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the few things Facebook is good for is getting the pictures taken on other people’s devices. πŸ™‚ It might be worth getting to keep in touch with your friends around the world. I’m so happy you had such a wonderful time, and I’ve been spending the last few minutes trying to pronounce … that word…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Josiah thanks a bundle for sharing, great pictures (by your Dad) … tell me more are the zip line adventure … those will be friends you remember forever. Lord thank you for blessing this trip.


  4. Josiah, thank you for your blog. I read today’s post and it felt like a privilege to read it. They all feel like a privilege. Your style of writing is so personal and touching. You share your heart with the world through your words. When you’re happy, I’m happy; when you’re sad, I’m sad.

    I forget how I found your blog, but I’m thankful I did.


  5. Hey, Josiah! I missed your posts while you were gone, but am glad you were able to make a missions trip to such an interesting and wonderful place and that you enjoyed it so much. I also was happy to see that you got some knitting time inπŸ˜„ I enjoyed seeing a little bit of your adventure through your dad’s pictures. Now I would like you to share a bit more an tell me how a green tea kitkat tastes compared with our regular ones?? And does the green tea make it more nutritious? Welcome home.


    1. The kit kats are simply fabulous. They do taste like green tea but with more sugar. :p And I don’t think that they’re more nutritious. Just yummy. πŸ™‚ Thank you, Rea, for your comment! πŸ™‚


  6. I haven’t tried the green tea Kit Kat just the Strawberry and the Original. I will try it soon!😊

    By the way, the halo-halo usually has jack fruit, purple yam, banana, melon, nata de coco, corn, crisp rice, sago and gulaman, sugar and lots of milk. It is either with caramel or ice cream on top. πŸ˜‚ It’s my favorite specially during the summer.


    1. They are completely fabulous!

      Thank you for explaining to me the ingredients in the halo-halo. What I would give to get one in this sweltering weather we’ve been having! πŸ™‚


  7. Awesome adventure bro! Next time try to visit Palawan, Boracay, Cebu, Davao and Ilocos (Philippines). Best tourist spots to visit PH.


  8. OMG! I went to the Philippines this summer! Looks like you enjoyed it! Just followed you! Love the posts and photos! I just posted my Netherland trip post! Very short! I’ll post more photos tomorrow! I have my Italy, London, and Switzerland posts up too! Let’s keep connected! Are you planning on traveling anytime soon? XOXO


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