'Round the World in 44 Days travel blog

Top of the Mountain


Mindanao Coast

Entrance to Manny's Resort

Beach Resort

Fishing Boat--Tuna is big business

Another Beach

More Beach

Tuna for Supper; Too Bad I Had to Fly

Drinking from a Buco

RPJ, His Wife, and Her Parents


Last time I was in Gen San, a young pastor named RP Jay took my Developing Leaders for Youth Ministry class. He showed up several times during the class this time just to hang out and listen to what we were doing. He is an awesome pastor that is having much success at his church. And he is a great partner to Pastor Dave, the President of Shekinah. When the folks at the school realized my flight didn't leave until Friday evening...and atte Anne was going to be taking a bus to Davao on Thursday night, they convinced RPJ to entertain me. Filippinos really are the most gracious and thoughtful people in the world.

I slept in a little and RPJ showed up at about 10 a.m. We drove and talked everything from church to politics. First, we made our way to this cool mountain resort. It overlooks the ocean on the South end of Mindanao and really was an amazing place. You have to spend 100 pesos each at the restaurant to hang out that, so we got a ripe mango shake--yum! The place was tranquil. Little birds were chirping all over the place. Someone had been working on bonsai trees for a generation. And, well, it was just well done. You'll see when I post the pictures.

After that, we headed to a beach resort. RPJ thinks it is owned by the same people, and I could see it. It was also an attractive place...and also required you to spend 100 pesos. We opted for some sweet chili shrimp. Yum. RPJ wanted to give me the opportunity to go for a swim. The water did look inviting, but I had no towel and no place to take a shower. So whatever I took out of the ocean would be going all the way to Manila with me. No real beach, just gorgeous rock cliffs, but they had put in some metal stairs that went right down into the sea. I was wearing my chacos, so I decided to at least stick my toes in the water. Camera in hand, I started down the steps. I guess my chacos don't have the tread they used to because I went almost all the way down the steps on my butt. RPJ was horrified. I guess he was thinking, Shekinah told me to take care of the American and I've dropped him down into the ocean! Well, I thought I was going all the way into the ocean. Somehow my feet stopped on the last step and I just got my feet wet. I guess that was the plan from the beginning. I picked myself up and promised RPJ that only my pride was truly hurt. I'm not sure he believed me because I think the last thing he said when he dropped me off was, Are you sure you are ok?

There were some little crabs on the bottom step. Tried to get a picture but they were pretty shy. I found a tiny hermit crab later and took a video of him skittering across the walk. Poor guy. I couldn't get the video going and kept picking him up and putting him back where I wanted the video to start. He must have thought he was a goner.

RPJ's wife was with her parents and he told me we were going to meet him at another place along the coast. As we drove, he alternated between telling me how safe Mindanao is and telling me stories of things Muslims do to other people in Mindanao. All in all, I think hanging with a Filippine pastor who knows his way around when you are driving through little campos where local terrorist groups live is a good thing. Well, the hanging with the pastor part.

I think RPJ's family was amused by me. RPJ offered me chicken adobo when we arrived. I love adobo, so I accepted of course. He offered rice, bananas, a really chewing white corn, and some vegetable. I can't remember the name of the vegetable, but it looked a little like asparagus, but was sort of slimy like ocra. I said yes to everything; didn't take too much, but tried it all. RPJ told me that they usually see Americans that are afraid to eat if they don't know what the food is. They loved the fact that I just tried everything...and seemed pleased that I liked it all. RPJ said he was going to get some water and asked me if I minded just hanging out with his wife's family. "Sure," and they seemed tickled by that too. By the time we left, I had tried suman, a kind of sticky rice cake, suntol, some kind of fruit where you chew on the fleshy fruit around the seed, and some of the local mango. I think the only thing I said no to was watermelon and, honestly, I was so full I thought they would have to roll me to the airport. One of RPJ's uncles wanted to buy me a buco (fresh coconut) and sent some guy to the top of a nearby tree to fetch it for me. He cut it open and gave it to me to drink the milk--very good, but also filling, and did I mention I was already full. RPJ busted it open further for me and cut some of the flesh out for me to eat.

We took pictures, which I'm beginning to think is the way Filippinos say good-bye. We started back to Gen San and to the airport. We were actually running a little late. I didn't really stress when we kept getting behind really slow trikes...except for the fact that the coconut water had pretty much run through me and was looking for a way out. I didn't want to stop because we were pretty late. Filippino men don't seem to have any qualms about just peeing on the side of the road; if they are modest, maybe beside a tree. But I wasn't quite sure how RPJ would respond if I suggested he let me try that local experience. I've never seen an American doing that. So I just gritted my teeth and tried to wait. Ha! His family would have probably really thought I was a hero if he had told them I peed on the side of the road on the way to the airport.

We got to the airport about 30 minutes before flight time, but Gen San is not exactly JFK. I visited the Comfort Room, got my boarding pass, paid my airport fee, cleared security, and was in line to get on my plane within about 10 minutes. Try that in America. So, I'm on my way to Manila. I'm staying at a cheap airport hotel. I dropped my big suitcase there before flying out, so I'm hoping it's still there. One more night in the Philippines. Tomorrow, I'm on Asiana to Korea.

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