Back in Batangas - cont.

Trip Start Jan 25, 2008
Trip End Feb 12, 2008

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Flag of Philippines  ,
Wednesday, February 6, 2008

HI all - I have another session so I can blog some more.

When we went our home visits for the handicraft co-op we all had some different experiences.  People assume that Canadians are rich because we have a lot of land and possessions.  Some people were actually asked for money.  It's really hard because you know that they have almost nothing but charity is not the answer.  After we came back to the co-op they had gifts set out for us.  Each woman received a hand bag and each man a hat.  We really didn't want to take them as they had given us little hat necklaces when we had arrived but they insisted.  We accepted them reluctantly and went on our way.  I can't describe exactly how I felt, sad that people have to live in such poor conditions, but happy that they are trying hard to have a better life through the co-op.  They also have families that are large as birth control is available but not recommended by the church.  Some people do use rhythm and it can be realiable but not totally.
We returned to our resort at Phaidon and relaxed for a few hours before the leaders of the co-ops we had visited came to have supper with us.  They had never been to the resort so it was a treat - we had a fabulous buffet meal and it was only 400 pesos each.  We asked if the kitchen staff could bag the food and give the leftovers to our guests to take home.  They did so willingly with smiles on their faces.  I'm not certain but I don't think that the owner was too happy with that request.  We loved the staff there - they were all there before we got up in the morning and they stayed late.  Some of them until 11 p.m..  We all chipped in and gave them 200 pesos each as well as some toiletry items that we had been saving.  Our drivers Franny and June Bug have been taking many meals with us as well and are starting to feel more relaxed with us. 
Today was a travel day we were up early and in the vans on the way to the ferry.  We stopped quickly at a multi-purpose co-op in Pandan although we only had a few minutes but it was important to them that we at least stop there.
We caught our first ferry at Caticlan which was about a 4 hour ride.  I fell asleep sitting up and Rich took a really nice picture of me with my mouth hanging open.  At least I'm wearing a Saskatchewan Roughrider Shirt!
We left that ferry and headed into the vans for a 2 hour drive to the SuperCat Ferry at the next stop.  That one took us to Batangas.  The vans have not gotten back with our luggage yet - but they will be back soon as they had to take a slower ferry.
We said that it is a good experience to be in a country where you are the minority as people stare at us quite a lot.  Twelve Canadians - about half of us are of the taller or wider variety walking into anywhere here is quite noticeable. 
We had a great supper waiting for us as Paring the cook is back taking care of us again.  Our guests stayed with us as we now have 2 days of dialogue with the leaders of the different co-operatives that we have visited.  Ricco - our SIDC host - has promised us one night of Kareoke this week before we leave.  I asked him if he thought that they would like my dancing in the Kareoke bar - he was sure they would as they would all be drunk!!!!!!!!!!
So, as you can see Ricco is fitting in with us quite nicely!
We are all glad to be "home" in Batangas and have a few days where we don't have to travel too much.  Travel in this country is quite stressful and it just simply can't be explained you have to experience it yourself.
We hope that you are all safe - we are all fine and are enriched by the experiences that we have shared so far.  Will try and blog again soon
"Stretch"  - okay for those of you that know how tall I really am - quite that laughing right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh year - and glad to see that the Giants won the Super Bowl last we heard it was 3-0 in the 1st quarter and that was 2 days ago!
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