[So I stole this idea from my friends Katie and Mandy back in Chicago (thanks girls), but I think it will be a good way to help you see Manila during my time here!]
1/20/12 - Quezon Avenue - One of the main roads that goes past my community and through Quezon City here in Metro Manila. Took this picture from a walkway over the road on my first day in Manila!
1/21/12 - My room! Maybe 8'x5' but very spacious compared to the way most people live here in Tatalon. The family I am living with has 5 children, aged 2, 13, 14, 16, and 17. Four boys, Gabriel, Patrick, Jason, and Daniel, and one girl, Abigale. They gave me Abigale's room for now, but just finished turning one of their closets into a room for her. The three older boys sleep in another room, and then my parents, Sonny and Grace, and Gabriel sleep in the living room/kitchen. I love my place and my family. Praise God for providing me a place to stay!
1/22/12 - Tatalon sign. More pictures to come, but for now you just get to see the sign ;) It is a humble community, though one of the largest in Quezon City, with about 30,000 people. Tatalon is one of the 39 barangays (local communities) in Quezon City, one of 17 municipalities of the Manila metropolitan region. QC has about 2.4 million of metro-Manila's 11 million. Most of Tatalon is either poor or extremely poor. In fact, Tatalon is one of the poorest communities in the Manila region. Most people live in slum-like dwellings and are not owners of the land. Many live in areas that are regularly flooded. (http://base.d-p-h.info/en/fiches/dph/fiche-dph-7207.html) Again, more pictures to come!
1/23/12 - My new brother Gabriel! He is two and a lot of fun to be around! He especially likes to play with his toy animals, any kind of ball, look at pop-up books, watch the computer or tv, try and grab my cell phone, and play with toy cars! He is great with people and very friendly. He and I are learning tagalog together :)
1/24/12 - Yakimix with Joe and the ARC Manila staff. Joe is a businessman and owner of A Runners Circle LA and Manila. I met him during my time in Manila, and he has connected me with his store and team here in Manila! It looks like I'll be running a race for them in August in Cebu and potentially many more before then. Running has been difficult this week with orienting myself with the community, but there are a few parks nearby and a few tracks too. Looking forward to continuing this partnership with Joe and ARC Manila. BTW - this Yakimix is at the Mall of Asia, one of the largest malls in Asia! It is huge. Can't hardly describe the malls here - at least 2-3 times the size of most malls in the US. Didn't have my camera this time, but should have pictures of the malls eventually. You wouldn't believe it!
1/25/2012 - Pictures to come! (Have to get them from someone from my language school from our culture orientation)
1/26/2012 - Balut! This is my first experience with Filipino Balut. If you don't know what it is, it a duck egg with an already developed duck (well, partially I guess). Luckily I didn't taste any of the feathers or the beak. Actually, if you can get past the idea of eating a baby duck (I mean, we eat adult chickens, right :) it actually tastes pretty good.
1/27/2012 – The following is a picture of the stairs of the house I’m living in. The house is shared by about 12 of us, 8 of us being in Pastor Sonny and his wife Grace’s care, and the others being either Pastor Sonny’s two sisters or “boarders” who rent from one of Pastor Sonny’s sisters. The house is owned by Pastor Sonny’s parents (who are both dead) and thus divided between the three siblings. The stairs are a bit difficult to ascend and descend, but any tree-house lover’s dream! I feel so at home here, and think it’d be hard to live anywhere else for the time being.
1/28/2012 – Today I had the chance to go to downtown Manila to visit the ARC (A Runner’s Circle) running store that I connected with in LA and sign up for a 5k race next Sunday morning (at 3am!). I am also signed on to run a half marathon for a half ironman relay team on August 5th on another island, Cebu, for the ARC team. I brought my host-brother Daniel with me and signed him up for the race too (since my entry was paid for by the store). Daniel and I have been training a bit for the run and are excited for him to do his first ever race! The place we picked up the packet was a place called “The Fort” which reminded me of the nice part of LA or Chicago along the lakefront. Hard to describe the feeling of going from a place of clean streets, huge condo buildings, nice restaurants and shops, and open parks to the relocation sites on the outskirts of Manila. Hopefully will process this more in the future.
1/29/2012 – These pictures are from the community and church I may be serving in for the next six months. The pastor, Pastor Arnold, hosted me for a night over the weekend, and I shared one of their two bedrooms with him and his sons Joshua and Kian, while his daughter and son shared the other room with his wife. They have a beautiful plot of land with a huge garden located right next to their church. I was able to visit five or six families after church on Sunday, getting a chance to pray for a few, and it gave me a great insight into the community and church.
1/30/2012 – These pictures come from two of the first four Birthday parties I’ve experienced here in the last week! (the other was my host-mom’s birthday) The first party was Pastor Romy, who is also one of my teachers at language school. The language school is a school specifically geared at training missionaries, all of whom are from out of the country. Because of this I have been able to meet missionaries from the US, Canada, Austrailia, Korea, and Nagaland. The other pictures come from a party we had for one of the people in my house group Bible study, held at the house my classmate Brandon is staying here in Tatalon. They sure know how to party here! And the food of choice for Birthday Parties is an American favorite – spaghetti! A good change from the every day rice and ulam!