Saturday, December 28, 2013

In and Out - Tacloban Transfers and Early Departures Nov 18-21, 2013

This was an unusual extra transfer week. The super typhoon that devastated Tacloban required the evacuation of all the missionaries and the temporary closing of that mission. It is miraculous that every missionary was found safe and taken to the Area Office in Manila. Most of the missionaries were reassigned to various missions in the Philippines. We received 15 transfers. These were exceptional young people who inspired us with their faith and determination to press forward in the missionary work in spite of the traumatic events of the typhoon. The week was a little unusual in that we got the arrivals first, and then the departing, this is the reverse of normal.

 Our Tacloban missionaries: Front (l-r) E Usares (Phil), E Quinco (Phil), Pres & Sis Peterson, S Galabo (Phil), S Flores (Phil), E Cabinian: Back (l-r) E Kaafi (New Zealand), E Santillian (Phil), E Magaule (Phil), E Manilili (Phil), E Crockett (CA), E Vimahi (Tonga), E Oblina (Phil), E Pangilinan (Phil), E Maramba (Phil), E Landingin (Phil).

Transfer day lunch at the mission home with the transfers and new companions.

Rubi and her daughter Abish who help with the lunch. Rubi works in the mission home.

The early departing missionaries were scheduled to leave in December, but were given the opportunity to help make room for the incoming transfers by going home early. All but two decided to head home a little early. This made things alot easier for us in the mission logistically. We appreciated their willingness to help us in this way.

Our early departing missionaries: Front (l-r) E Nerza, E Figuracion, Pres & Sis Peterson, S Calla, S Taobure, E Dait, E Cabacungan: Back (l-r) center E Illustrisimo, E Najorda, (sideways), E Sembrano. All Fillipinos.

Getting ready for departing FHE and testimony meeting with the departing missionaries in the mission home. Alway.s an uplifting experience to hear their testimonies and feel the spirit

Waiting for the vain. We waited about an hour and every bus we needed was full. Usually we can catch one in about 15 minutes.So...

We loaded up the van and the truck with missionaries and luggage and drove them to the bus terminal about 40 minutes away. Sister Calla (closest) and Sister Taoburae and Elder Nerza ready to go.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Corregidor Island, Oct 3, 2013

In October we took a trip up to Manila with 2 other missionary couples to see Corregidor Island. There is a nice tour with a 1+ hour boat ride to the island, a tram guided tour with lunch. We spent the night in Manila, got up early the next morning to catch the boat and tour about hours, then headed back to the mission home. It was a fun and interesting day. Corregidor Island played an important role in World War II. The tour guide made it fun, but war and it's devastation is not really fun. Here are some pictures of our adventure.

We took a side trip in the evening before the tour to the Mall of Asia. It was quite large with many choices for spending money. I did buy a new camera because mine had gone missing (this guarantees the old camera will show up soon). We ate at TGIF and it was alot like USA. We are with (l-r) Elder/Sister Smith, Elder/Sister Gines and us.

We stayed at the G Hotel. Just needed to include a shot of it at the front entrance for posterity. No surprises. Breakfast was a unfamiliar assortment of Filipino food. We weren't feeling our culinary-ily adventurous since we did not want any GI issues on the tour.

Sister Hansen, Sister Smith and Sister Gines at the cruise line terminal. We are ready to head out.

The boat. We sat below in an air conditioned area which was good, but our assigned seats were right in front of the very large AC unit and it was like the North Pole. We messed with the thermostat, which provided temporary warmth until the crewman came and reset it to subzero. We opted for the open air deck on the return trip which was breezy and nice.

Here is our tram. The Philippines is really refreshing in many ways. No seat belts, just lower the side bar and off you go. When we stopped, you left your stuff, hopped off. So even though the tour is pretty scheduled and scripted, you are pretty much on your own at the stops and everything is open to walk around, into, to touch most of the time. Refreshing.

First stop is the tribute to Gen MacArthur, who did return and win back the Philippines. A nice BIG bronze statue.

This was a area with some history of the wars of the Philippines against various ruling posers. This is a statue of a farmer by day/revolutionary by night. I would have like a little more time here, but....

One the WWII fortifications. There were some memorials to the Japanese soldiers here. From Japan's perspective, they were heroes too.

This is exit from the Malinta Tunnel where the Americans and Filipinos holed up during the Japanese attack. The courageous defense of Corregidor Island delayed the Japanese offensive toward Australia and gave the allies some time to regroup. These soldiers endured primitive crowded conditions here before surrendering.

This is one of the side lateral tunnels off the main tunnel. It has not been restored, as you can see.

A view from the island hotel/restaurant where we ate lunch. In the distance is Bataan Peninsula where the famous Bataan death march occurred.

Here we are at the enlisted men's barracks ruins. l-r Smith's, us, Gines.
It is amazing that these buildings are even standing after all the bombing and shelling they took.

Elder Smith and I at one of the mortar areas. Notice we can get up close and personal with the stuff.

Nancy with our tour guide. She was fun and made things interesting.

On of the big guns protecting the entrance to Manila Bay.

Above is the Memorial which is well done with several monuments, a nice museum. This area is located "Topside" on the highest part of the island. The officer's barracks and administrative buildings (ruins) are here.
Left is a touching reminder of the humanity of comrades in arms. Depicted is a US soldier helping a wounded Filipino. There is a companion statue in the US with the roles reversed.

The lighthouse area . Notice the Smith's up atop. We spent too much time looking for souvenirs, so we didn't make the climb. From here we headed down the hill, boarded our mighty ship and cruised back to Manila, then home.  A fun day.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Well there are many wonderful things to eat here, some that are new to us. We have noted several kinds of bananas and settled in on our favorite...the Senoritas.  So here are a few pictures of these delicious yellow delights.

Here is a typical bunch and they look pretty ordinary, but look how small these are

Just a little bitty banana

And white just like the normal insides fo a banana...And NEXT....
One mouthful ....easy!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

In and Out Missionaries - November 3-6, 2013

Another Transfer Week with a departing group of 12 Elders and only One Sister. The Arriving group of 16 with 7 Sisters and 9 Elders. We have been here long enough to know the departing missionaries now, and it is always bittersweet to see them go.


A great group of missionaries, Front from the right: E. Tolentino (Philippines), E. Torculas (Philippines), E. Alvaro (Philippines), Pres. Peterson, Sister Peterson, S. Buduan (Philippines), E. Cello (Philippines), E. Natividad (Philippines), Back Row from the left: E. Hansen (California), E. Howes (Utah), E. Thompson (Utah), E. Burton (California), E. Adams (Utah), E. Ah Wong (New Zealand), E. Kartchner (Utah).

Here are the foreign missionaries who came from the Provo MTC two years ago in their suits, which have been hanging in the Mission Home closet since then. Most of the Elders find their suits are a little big on them when they get ready to go home and some find that the suit pants that they wore during their mission are long gone.

Here is Elder Howes who was one of our Office Elders til today. We really enjoyed his good nature. He said transfer week was like Christmas because you got all these new missionaries. He has a twin brother serving in a nearby Philippine mission who will be released in December and our Elder Howes will be back with his family to pick him up.

Sister Buduan needed extra hugs since she was the only Sister headed home. 

Here is Elder Burton who came to the office the same time we did and served as an Assistant to President Peterson. He was a great missionary. His last two transfers (12 weeks) he asked to go back to the field where he trained a new missionary and served in a branch with many deaf members. When President made the assignment, he was not aware that Elder Burton could sign for the deaf. There were several people baptized during his sevice in the branch.

Meet Elder Mathew Hansen. He was a hard worker and played the piano.


The bus stops across the highway which is always busy and we go to greet and unload.

 Here is a snapshot of the organized chaos of unloading. The new ones are anxious and bewildered, and we are trying to get things unloaded and across the highway in a really friendly sort of way. This was a successful de-bus-ing, no luggage or personal items left on the bus.
Here is the November Batch. From the left in front: Sister Grey (Samoa), S.Richman (Utah), S. Japus (Phiippines), S. Cortes (Philippines), Sister Peterson, President Peterson, S. Legaspi (Philippines), S. Maagad (Philippines), S Tautali (Tonga),  Back Row from the left: E. Toleafoa (Tonga), E. Wise (Hawaii), E. Acain (Philippines), E. Lapena (Philippines), E. Javier (Philippines), E. Limpin (Philippines), E. Taguim (Philippines), E. De Sosa (Philippines), E. Campos (Philippines)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Typhoon Yolanda - Wow!

POST TYPHOON UPDATE 10Nov13: I wanted to update our situation since my original post below. First, thank you for all the emails asking about our well being. It's nice to know someone cares about us old folks.  The night of passage, I was up after posting til about 11:30pm. The door to the apartment was rattling, wind howling, and loud bursts of pounding rain. At 11:35 the power went off and the only light was from my iPad. I went to bed. But after experiencing the fury here some 100 miles from the path, I do not want more thrills. We awoke to power restored but no water. It took about a day and a half for water to come back on.  So in case you didn't notice the green pin on the map, it points to us in Alaminos.  Except for the power and water outage, we fared well. Our missionaries are all ok, so we feel very blessed. Others were much harder hit and we continue to pray for them.

8 Nov2013: This is a really big typhoon, Cat5. It's path is across the southern tip of our mission and about 100 miles south of us. We are getting winds with gusts to 60+ mph and heavy squalls of rain. Our missionaries are grounded to their apartments. It's 10:30 p.m. here November 8, 2013 and the things should be better tomorrow as the storm will be past. Here are a couple of images I captured earlier today.

The top is the track. The green pin is Alaminos where the Mission Office is located. The picture below is cool and gives you an idea how big this storm is. If you look at the 11:00 o'clock position of the circular storm cloud, you can see the north end of the Philippines sticking out.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

School Colors

We can probably all remember our school colors whether it be high school or univiersity. For me it's easy, they are both the same....good old USA red and blue. As we have driven around the Philippines we noticed that the people aren't shy about painting their schools with bright colors (houses too, but that's another post).  So here are a few pictures of some of the schools we've seen.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

In and Out Missionaries - Sept 21-24, 2013

We had a pretty large batch of departing missionaries this time and another almost large group of new ones. It is always a good week. One of the office elders says it's like Christmas when the new one come, and it is in a way to meet all the new missionaries.

Departing Missionaries

Here is the departing batch. From the left: S. Marino (Philippines), S. Lamosa (Philippines), S. Folau (American Samoa), S. Pitman (Australia), E. Alinsoot (Philippines), President Peterson, Sister Peterson,,S. Huni (Tonga), S. Maka, yellow blouse (Tonga), S. Carmichael (Utah), S. Pacampara, purple blouse, ( Philippines). From the right, E. Ayap (Philippines), E. Pascua (Philippines), E. Edvalson (Utah), E. Sasagy (American Samoa), E. MacMillen (Australia), E. Collado (Philippines), E. De Leon (Philippines).

Elder Pascua served as an Ass't to President Peterson, so we got to know him quite well. He is a gentle and kind person. Just an exceptionally good young man. He will be missed. 

Sister Folau was a dedicated and fun missionary. She was one of the first Sister Trainer Leaders in our mission and extended her mission six weeks to serve as a STL.

Sister Pittman was a super missionary and great leader. She also was one of our first Sister Trainer Leaders.

The last walk from the mission home to the bus stop. A great group. Head 'em up, move 'em out!

One of our favorites, Sister Folau out of the gate and on her way.

Sister Peterson and Elder Collado heading for the bus stop.

The stragglers, Elder Sasagay and Elder MacMillen all decked out in their suits that have hung in the Mission Home closet for two years. They still look pretty good.

All waiting at the Highway for the bus. It is a bitter sweet occasion....sad their mission is over, but excited to go home.

All Aboard and off to Manila.  Good bye you wonderful missionaries, we will miss you.

Arriving Missionaries

We always wait at the highway to greet the new arrivals when their bus arrives. It's raining on this day so we are anxious for them to get here. When the bus arrived it was full of our missionaries only
 and the driver did us a very kind service.

This is a first at the mission. The bus drove to the mission home down our skinny street and then backed into the parking lot. We were happy because is was raining and it kept the missionaries and their luggage dry.

So here they are, eager and ready to go: From the left: S. Williams (Utah), S. Martinez (Nevada), E. Evelarion (Philippines), S. Gaspar de Alba (Nevada), President, S. Mann (Samoa), Sister Peterson, S. Cassinet (California), S Lorente, blue skirt (Philippines), S. Dayao, light blue blouse (Philippines), S. Demeterio (Philippines), S. Dadivas, gray suit (Philippines), E Serna (Philippines), E. Minas (Philippines). From the right above E. Serna: S. Taboki (Kiribati), S. Nebati (Kiribati), S. Kekauoha (Hawaii), S Buckley (Washington), S. Bennion (Utah), E. Lyon (Utah), E. Burbidge (Washington), down to S. Ott (Utah), E. Grant (Idaho), E Gray (Australia), S. Taumialo (Australia), E Bland (Utah), S burt ( Maryland).

Oreintation at the Mission Home. The missionaries from the Provo MTC don't make it much past noon before they wilt from jet lag and a short night's sleep in Manila.

Here are the new batch in the chapel at transfer meeting wondering who their new companions will be.