I never told you guys about my trip to Boracay over Chuseok (which fell on the first weekend of October)! I'll share through pictures.
|On the way out to the island of Boracay, we took one of these small banca boats.|
|This was my first view of the island.|
|My friend and I at church!|
Going to church was my favorite part of my entire trip. It's a challenge having to write about what happened, but as I do my best, remember that my experience there was deeper than anything I ever would have expected to come out of a 5-day vacation to paradise.
I was having some serious personal issues going on during this time, in many different areas, too. I was feeling swamped with pressures all over the place. Well, who knew that the messages communicated through children's singing (which I usually don't care for), a solo number by a fantastic belter, and the sermon delivered by a visiting missionary pastor from Shang Hai would flip my entire perspective upside down. I know, I know it sounds so cheesy, but if you'd seen my face as we walked out of the building and into the sunshine, you'd know it was real. Such a great weight had been lifted and had been replaced by a joy I hadn't know in ages. Ages.
The church we visited was where a virtual friend of mine went. See, I was searching the internet for blogs about Boracay and found Gretchen. I messaged her, and we struck up a conversation which led to me visiting her here and to us becoming real life friends. (Read the whole story here and see Gretchen's blog here.) Well, not only was it really cool getting to make Gretchen's actual acquaintance, but it was super neat meeting the other missionary teachers there and the locals. Gretchen invited us over to their certain area of the island for snorkeling, a boat ride, and beach volleyball.
|Of course pick up beach volleyball usually isn't the most organized of affairs, but it was a blast. Missionary teachers, two of my friends, and local children all having fun together.|
|Little guys in the sun|
|This is the boat my friends and I got to ride on! We sat out on the ends of the balances. We got so wet, and Sim almost lost his glasses.|
|Young'ins being cool|
|This is the view from our beach house balcony. Right on the beach, beautiful colors, sea smell... It reminded me of a perfect home I had in Puerto Rico. |
We stayed at the beach house of the Pito Beach Huts.
|I visited the missionary school one morning. I just watched for the majority of the time, but I did get to have a few small conversations with the kids. (Their English was so much better than my students' in Korea!)|
|Some kind of wall ball in the hallway of the school|
|Here are two other young beggar children eating at a buko.|
|There I am on the beach with the evening blue sky.|
|And here I am in my Chacos and super happy to be on a tropical island again.|
|In a van we drove in|
|I really like cows.|
|I really, really like cows.|
|On the way back to the airport|
|This is what was in the buckets. Tapioca, tofu, and some syrup. It was warm. I really wanted to like it, but I didn't get far before throwing it away.|
(Keith Cruise commented below let me know that the drink's name is taho. Thanks, Keith!)
And there you have it! My favorite part, outside of church and its effects, was getting into the culture. I hung out with local children, got to spend time with them at school, I got off the beaten path by roaming around the streets that go deeper into the island, and I asked some of the locals for their picture. (I'd never asked strangers for their picture before.) It was so great, and I'm so glad that I dug into The Philippines. I know that I would have had a great time if I'd only stayed on the beach and in the restaurants, but it would have been as rich nor as memorable. Through my short stay there, through the purpose behind my wanderings and the response I got from the people I met, I've developed an affection and a heart for the country and its people.
God bless Boracay.