Do you know the sun rises here at 5 AM? I guess that’s why they like our days to begin so
early? We went to the church for another wonderful breakfast this morning and then loaded into two buses and traveled to Mercedes. There we arrived at Mangcamagon Beach and boarded two catamarans and set out onto the smooth-as-glass, turquoise sea. I took so many pictures! It was absolutely gorgeous and seemed like every time I turned my head something caught my eye.
We first went to a small island for some siesta time. I have never seen water so clear and beautiful in all my life.When we were probably fifty feet from shore we could see to the bottom. Tracey and I spotted some starfish hanging out on the sand and we startled some sort of tiny fish that skipped over the surface of the water like stones. After exploring for a bit, we decided to swim. Melody and Jun advised us to swim within a rectangular post-and-net fishing area to avoid jellyfish. But even inside were tiny, see-through jellies, each with a dark brown spot in the middle the size of a pea. I can’t remember if jellyfish have brains, but I think not, so maybe these were their hearts or stomachs? Anyway someone said they don’t sting so we scooped them up in our hands to feel their textures. I understand why they are called jellies. Ha!
After a swim, we all spread out in the various hammocks and benches and rested to the sound of birds chirping and small waves crashing. I can’t remember the last time I felt so relaxed, but I wish my family could have been here to see it. There was even a tree hut that the kids would’ve loved to see. We snacked on sausage Mcmuffins and the watermelon Ariane gave me yesterday. It was delicious!
While we rested, the other boat went on to Camingo Island and rounded up the local children so they could be present for our visit. No one could say these young men and women don’t work hard for their Lord and Savior!
We arrived at Camingo Island around 1 PM and Jenny and Eric immediately set to work telling the children about David and Goliath and putting on a fun skit with masks and a slingshot with squishy balls. The kids loved it when David slew Goliath and he fell to the ground! Eric is probably bruised from all the falls.
We divided the children into groups and Diane and I did face paint while Jenny did games with the parachute and beach balls. Matthew preached to the grownups inside the church (I never even went and looked in there!) I painted so many pusas on the children’s faces today, along with stars and hearts, but Diane was the real talent. She was able to do butterflies, fancier stars than mine, clown faces, and I don’t even know what else. The people on this island live, for the most part, without electricity and have to travel by motorcycle to get fresh water. Diane said that some have generators but will only use them at night if they need to. It also seemed that the children could use some medical attention for possible pink eye.
The boat ride back felt long, and the motor was very loud. So much so that we had to shout to talk to the person next to us. My ears are still ringing and it’s been hours. If I ever come back and have the privilege to do that again, we will all wear ear plugs! But it truly was a beautiful day!
We rested for a couple hours at the hotel once we got back to Daet and then went to the church for dinner. They prepared something extra special for our last night here: a boodle fight. They lined tables up, covered them with cleaned banana leaves, and laid the food down the center of the table. Everyone present picked a spot and after prayer we used our fingers to eat. No utensils at all. Rice, eggplants, skewered and grilled veggies and meat (pork and chicken), squid, stuffed squid, tofu and onions, pineapple, and watermelon. It was so much fun! We didn’t even sit in chairs! Watching the young people of this place do it put us to shame. They really knew how to grab and stuff.
Someone brought balut for Eric and Bill since they had promised to try it before we left. I won’t describe exactly what it is because it’s nasty, but you can Google it if you’re curious. I am pretty sure Eric swallowed his, but then I’m not sure it stayed down. He ran out of the room pretty fast. Bill ate his and washed it down with about a gallon of water. Yuck, yuck, yuck! Several ladies of the church ate more after the men and loved them. Even little TJ ate one. Gag!
Ijon presented me with a photo of him on his 3rd birthday last week with a super sweet note from his mother Zyrine on the back. Then he sang two songs for me and gave me the biggest hug ever. We stood outside and watched the sky for a while, enjoying the constellations that seem flipped on their heads. Daryl and Tracey seesawed with TJ and Ijon. I cannot wait to go home and see my family and my good ole East Tennessee, but it will be hard to say goodbye to everyone tomorrow. We have fallen in love with the church family here. I hope I get to see them again someday.
One of my favorite parts of today was sitting side-by-side with Tracey in the hammock and visiting and laughing. We have friends in the Philippines now, and I hope that never changes.