Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hellmann's vs. Kraft

Yet another cool Filipino tradition: Flores de Mayo. Each May the children will meet at the tiny barangay chapels and bring flowers to honor the Virgin Mary. I'm not entirely sure, but I guess the closest thing we have in America would be Vacation Bible School, since it's done in May when kids are out for summer.

Tonight was the big parade the kids have to celebrate the end ofMay. I watched it from my house; I'm on the official parade route luckily. The streets were packed with kids, girls mostly in white dresses and the occasional veil, and boys in white shirts and shorts. They all had candles and flowers. There were also some girls that were dressed in gowns. They were supposed to represent different queens, like Queen of Charity and Queen Conviction, which all have been related to stories in the Bible or in Philippine history.

I think the best part about the parade for me was seeing all the kids that I've gotten to meet since being at site. We've been on summer break since the end of March, and school starts tomorrow, so it was fun to see people I've missed.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Check it Out Now

I like the tv show Grey's Anatomy. They have it on tv here, it's just always a few episodes behind what is shown in America. That's no big deal, I can handle that. I was watching it last Monday, and was able to see the one where Izzie and Alex get married. That's the same episode where instead of Meredith beginning the show off with her monologue, Izzie did it. She pointed out how some days are the biggest days, but when they begin, you don't know how big or special they're going to end up being. The day after I saw that episode, I had one of those days.

I've been going to school almost everyday I've been in town during the summer break. It's pretty routine, I text to get the front gate open (or else I get to climb up this mountain of a hill, literally having to grab onto trees to try and drag myself to the top), label books by color, then number, then type all that information into the computer. It felt like an endless job, and no, it's technically not done yet, so yes, it is officially an endless job.

Well, this week is the last week before students return. I thought going to school on Tuesday would be the same as it has been all summer, but the ordinary day that I thought would happen turned into the day where all the hard work paid off. Instead of another day of encoding and sweating, it was a day of moving books onto new shelves in the newly enlarged library and sweating.

This is it. All of the boxes of books that have come in (all 2,800 books so far, with more coming!), all the organizing, and all the kids stopping by to help and to ask if they could borrow a book before school started has made this awesome room with enough books for not only the students at school but also the community. WOOHOO!!

Thank you for helping.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


It's avacado season here, so I decided today was the day I would make guacamole. I'll be the first to admit, I have no culinary skills whatsoever, and I'm a much better eater than cook. But I mean it's guacamole... how hard can it be to whip that up?

So, I got on the bus, and bought all the avacados, tomatos, onions, and whatever else google told me I'd need to make it, and then I got to thinking... what do you eat guacamole with when you don't have Tostitos? This is when my amazingness kicks in. I decide to buy the the spring roll wrappers in the market, which are basically really thin tortillas. They will be perfect once I toast them in the toaster oven...score for creative thinking.

So I get back to the house, and find out the avacados are practically rotten, yeah, this is where my amazingness was not kicking in, and i had to figure out what to do. I get my host mom, who finds some people in town that have an avacado tree, crisis diverted. Plus now I have my host mom there to help me make the guacamole.

Guacamole isn't really made here, because they tend to only use avacados as a dessert. There are avacado shakes, and my host mom said she loves eating them out of the peel with just sugar sprinkled on them. So, that being said, she kept wanting to add sugar to the guacamole... but I had a feeling that was just not right. :)

It was all super delicious.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Brigada Eskwela

Today is Monday. Ok, not just Monday, but the last Monday of our summer vacation... oh wait, that was until they unexpectedly moved up the Brigada Eskwela to TODAY. Oy, nothing like getting a text at 7am that summer is over, report to school now.

Brigada Eskwela is a really cool tradition they have here where parents come to the school and get it ready for the new school year. It's a way for parents to be involved, and cuts the costs of preparation by having volunteers complete tasks such as painting, pulling weeds, and yep, you guessed it, building new bookshelves for the library!

The brigada is announced with a small parade that winds its way through town. This is just a way for parents to know that it's time to lend a hand at the school. The participants for the parade were the police and their new police car (which I got to ride in and would highly recommend for the mere fact of its AMAZING airconditioner), 2 put-puts (bicycle taxis) with a Brigada banner tied between them, and then a small gang of motorcycles driven by teachers and PTCA board members. It definitely got the people's attention... especially with the police siren blaring the whole way.

So, it was a cool tradition to see, and it'll be fun to meet the parents throughout the week as they volunteer at the school, I'm just still adjusting to the fact that POOF, Summer is over.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

That pretty much sums it up

"Fiesta is over, next up...Christmas!"-- Anita, My Host Mom

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Viva Snr Isidro Labrador!

So how do I know it's fiesta time? Well, I've been listening to the drumming for the sunolog (dance) competition, I just watched them hogtie a pig outside my window and then cart it off to the place where piggies come back crispy, and lastly, which I can't tell you how much it bothered me, I went to write the word "feast" the other day, and it automatically came out at "fiest." So, without a doubt... It's time for Fiesta!

I know it seems like I've written about fiesta a dozen times on this blog, and that's because I have. They seem to happen all the time, but this one is for the town that I'm staying in. Their patron saint is San Isidro Labrador, a farmer. There are a lot of rice fields surrounding town, thus the choosing of Isidro.

The official fiesta isn't till tomorrow, but for the past week it's been a whirlwind of activitiy. A couple nights ago there was a singing contest, where the winner ended up coming from another town. And then last night they had the coronation of her royal Miss Inopacan 2009. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I'm told I could be a contender for next year's crown...hahahahahahahaha. With just a little stateside backing, it could be a reality.

So today starts the beginning of the feasts, and tomorrow will be the official "go to the house of everybody you know and eat until you feel like you might explode" festivities.

More to come, I'm sure :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hello, my Name is

I just read that this year's most popular baby names have come out in America, and it got me thinking about names here in the Philippines. While Emma and Jacob are now the most popular names in America, and the number of Baracks and Mileys are rising in ranks,you won't find those on the top of the list here. I don't know for sure, but I would say Marie and Andre are the most popular names that I have come across. Others that I really like, and have stuck with me are Lyka Mae, Jevie, Janelyn, Rodjerick, and Jolever.

A trend here is for parents to give their children unique names. Some of the more unique ones that I have met so far have been Juggle and Princess.

I've been told that one of the ways parents come up with names is to combine their own. So, for example, my parents' names are Dave and Nancy, so my name could have been one of the following rockstar names:

-Dancy- I kind of like this name, different, one of a kind, pretty cool.
-Davy- Another cool name, I like it a lot.

and last, but not least

-Navy- so whether I'm old or blue, probably wouldn't have been that great of a name choice... although I could always use Anchors Aweigh as my theme song...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

kenny rogers

Holy Cow, I've discovered the peso gambling in town!

Fiesta is coming on May 15, so things are already starting to get put into motion. One of those "things" is carnival type games set up by the water. They had BINGO, which was played in rapid-fire, speed-racer speed and in Cebuano, so needless to say I did not win; also they had darts, a coin toss game, and my favorite, the basketball drop.

Basketball drop consists of a large square with the center cut out. The outside of the square is made of wood with the number 1-25 written in individual squares, then inside the square is another smaller square that has 25 divots in it, each numbered 1-25. Connecting the big square with the little square is netting. So how it works is, the better puts a peso on a number, and then somebody rolls the basketball down the net and it eventually settles down into one of the divots. If it lands on the number you bet on, you earn 20 pesos for each peso bet.

It's low risk, low skill, highly addictive.