Friday, January 11, 2013


I've been wanting to get back into blogging for a long time now,
but getting started has been the hardest part.

Well after our trip to the Philippines this last time
(Yes, I've now been twice since I last blogged)
Ryan asked me to write a blog post for their webpage,

That got me to thinking.

Why not do that 

It would be such a shame to not share the experiences we had there.
After all, thats what I wanted to do all along.

So I'm hoping this works,
but every
I want to write a post about



(PFF for short)

Here's to hoping I can pull it off.

Towards the end of the tour we were able to spend some time in

This was the one and only time we were in a place that was truly touristy. There were snorkelers, scuba divers, parasailors, and swimmers riding Banana Boars in the water. People building sandcastles, reading books, and playing sand volleyball on the beach. Plus hundreds of little shops with dozens of other restaurants and hotels along the whole length of the same beach. It would be safe to say that this is where Filipinos, Australians and Europeans would come for Spring Break.

But behind all that is a different reality. You don't have to walk far to find the type of Philippines that we were used to. The part where needs still need to be met and families still need to be fed. The part where mothers, fathers, and children are working day in and day out to make sure those things happen. The part where retirement is a just a word, not something you actually do. 

Well, what a lot of these people do for work is go down to the beach and sell things. Pearls, laser pens, excursions, hotel rooms, massages. You name it, someone probably tried selling it to us. Nine times out ten it was a middle aged man or woman. Occasionally you would find an older child, who had quit going to school so that they could support their family. Never had I seen this type of vendor in Puerto though. 

We had just spent the day at a Mungyan Village, reading to and playing with a group of preschoolers there. It was a little rainy, but since we had some free time and since there were so many souvenir shops Kade, Riley, Ryan, Todd and I decided to go find some things for our friends and family back home. 

There was one shop that we had been to quite a few times, where we found ourselves in once again. Kade was trying to decided on a couple of things when the tiniest little old lady came up to us. In her hands was a tin bucket full of mangos. Since Ryan spoke Tagalog, he was able to translate and tell us that she selling the mangos so that she could buy a bus ticket back home. My heart ached for her, but she didn't want to sell just one mango. She wanted to sell the whole bucket. What would we do with that many mangos? As much as we wanted to help her, we just couldn't take that many mangos. So we went our separate ways.

We wandered from shop to shop on our souvenir search. It had probably been about an hour when Todd decided that it was time for a mango shake. Mango shakes are a must; especially in the Philippines! So while the rest of us continued to browse, Riley and Todd ran back to the restaurant we always bought them at. Much to our surprise, it was only a few minutes later that the two of them came back. Disappointed. The restaurant was all out of mangos. 

All of a sudden I could hear someone running behind me. I turned around to see what was going on, only to find Ryan running towards the shop we met that lady at. "Are you going to go find the lady?"  I called out. That was exactly what he was doing. If we could get the restaurant to buy her mangos than Todd could get his mango shake! Everyone wins! 

I don't remember where Kade, Riley and Todd ended up. I'm pretty sure they ran back to the restaurant. Ryan amazingly found the mango lady so fast and began to walk her towards the restaurant. I met up with the two of them on a sidewalk that went along the shore. She held a black garbage bag over her head to protect her from the rain, and for one reason or another she had a slight limp that made it really difficult for her to get places fast. 

He had already explained to her our plan, so at that point he asked her for her bucket. He ran ahead to the restaurant and I stayed back with her to walk at a pace she could handle.

By the time we got to the restaraunt, Ryan had done his thing. They were going to buy her mangos! Todd was going to get his mango shake and our new friend was going to have the money she needed :)

The experience was something so unplanned, and so small. But it has stuck with me as one of my favorite memories from the trip. It is a reminder to me that when you are in the mindset of serving others, you can find those opportunities all around you.

It wasn't but a few minutes later that our dear friend pulled out a bundle of handmade bracelets from her pocket. She didn't even have to say anything. I couldn't pass her up. Suddenly I had a few less pesos, a handful of bracelets, and an overflowing heart. we went our separate ways after that but I will forever remember the things she taught me though. It doesn't matter if you've traveled to a foreign country to build schools or to spend time at the beach. There are opportunities to serve all around you. Both great and small. 

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