Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Flat Ainsleigh Project: Philippines Edition, part II

Grandpa continues his travels with possibly his best (most portable?) traveling companion yet! (part I here) (the links are to more pictures and should open a new window - enjoy!)

Dear Ainsleigh,
We had such a good time visiting Isabela together, I wanted to continue on to Negros Oriental, a beautiful island in the center of the Philippines. We arrived by plane on Monday and briefly chatted with the Governor. We then went to the office and picked up four sets of the "School in a Box" to deliver to Day Care Centers in Manjuyod. Manjuyod covers land from along the sea to the tops of the mountains. The children and their families were so glad to greet us and even cooked food for lunch. We had corn on the cob, boiled cassava, and sticky rice wrapped in a banana leaf. A good snack. You were introduced in the day care center and the girls wanted to be your friend. During our drive back down the mountain you got to meet a water buffalo (Carabao) taking a cool bath in a stream. I think that he deemed you cute and friendly, cause he just looked at us.

After delivering the boxes we then visited the local street market in Dumaguete, the capital city. Lots of fruit and veggies. Buddha wanted a pose with the beautiful redhead from Colorado. Did you know that bananas come in many varieties. Some are 2 feet long and must be cooked before eating. We found some pretty red ones for you. We ventured to the pier to watch the ships. The island on the horizon is Siquejor, home of black magic. We won't go there.

Of course, a stroll with Grandpa isn't complete without some chocolate milk from the supermarket. The small carton costs 18 peso ($.39) and we enjoyed 2 and one for later at the hotel.

Each day we traveled up to the mountains through the sugar cane fields on nearly impassable dirt roads. We even had one road that got so narrow that we were by the cliff. We turned back and went to another center. One of the centers was all decorated for Christmas so you got to pose with the Star made out of bamboo. Everywhere the children enjoyed the learning materials.
We even visited the village named Tara (maybe after Tara [your cousin]???) Our trusty driver Freddie was very careful and kept us safe on bad roads. Near Tara is a cave named Crystal cave because of the stalagmites and stalactites. Even the bats welcomed you.

Our last day care center (Baican, Bugas) was made of woven bamboo with a thatch roof and a dirt floor. Your new friend has in the green dress has cute dimples and liked to play the tambourine. Her classroom is especially interesting because it has a resident rooster and a very large ant hill. The locals believe that the ant hills are inhabited by a dwarf, which could be good or evil. If they tear down the ant hill then sickness or other calamity may occur. So they are very careful not to damage the hill. Your standing on the top was no problem cause you are small and light.
We then took the plane back to Manila, but will return to Negros next January.

End of part 2 of the Odyssey of Flat Ainsleigh in the Philippines.

Love you. Grandpa Hill