Follow this journey to the phenomenal Philippines as we explore, the wonderful people, culture, geography, history, and educational system. The "Travel" section has a drop down menu to explore specific areas.
I left Manila to stay in Calamba, Laguna to visit the Mary Help of Christians College, Inc.
Mary Help of Christians College, Inc (Salesian Sisters)
We received an extraordinary reception of musical and dance performances, with readings of poetry. Below are photos of our days at MHCC. The left side of the page will show our photos at MHCC , IRRI (International Rice Institute) and the University of the Philippines at Los Banos Institute of Plant Breeding . The right side will show photos of the fabulous families who opened their homes and hearts to us during our stay. We were accompanied to destinations near and far with extraordinary hospitality. I discovered Filipinos enjoy food, and are ready for frequent meals and snacks throughout the day. A snack is not just a piece of fruit or small amount of food! I soon learned that it is a meal in itself! Just when I thought that we were returning to our hotel...the families would stop at a restaurant for a snack! I think a Filipino visiting the United States would be quite disappointed with our version of a snack.
A few of our favorite moments!
Visit the following link for a short video of MHCC students: http://www.magisto.com/video/LV8bOUcbFTphQQVpYw
Pope Day Celebration, June 29:
Below are photos from IRRI (International Rice Research Institute), UPLB Plant Breeding Institute and our farewell to MHCC.
IRRI, Los Banos, Laguna
IRRI was founded in 1960 by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations. The research involves scientists from around the globe. Over 30-40 graduate students perform graduate thesis research or participate in an internship project ranging from weeks to years. Prior to visiting IRRI, I was unaware of the importance of rice world-wide, particularly in Asia. Ninety percent of the world population relies upon rice...Rice is Life! Seventy percent of the poorest people live in Asia.
The effects of climate change are being felt in rice cultivation. Additionally, rice cultivation contributes to greenhouse gases, specifically methane. New methods of cultivation are being developed to reduce methane production. Genetically modified rice is being produced with bionutrients such as iron to reduce anemia in large populations. Protein is also being introduced to provide more nutrition.
My awareness and interest in rice production was sparked while touring IRRI. I will create a unit lesson where students will examine climate change and global rice cultivation.
UPLB Plant Breeding Center
After visiting IRRI, Ms. Alvarez took us to UPLB Plant Breeding Center to tour the research labs and gather information on the papaya, banana, hibiscus, and additional cutting edge agricultural research. As a biology teacher, I appreciate introducing students to the real world application of biological research.
Farewell Friends and the Philippines!
Our brief stay from June 25th though July 5th enriched my personal and professional life. The people were extraordinary and could serve as world ambassadors with their gentle and delightful dispositions! Their respect for family, elders and each other was apparent throughout their culture. I witnessed this on the road of Calamba, too! Please visit the transportation topic where I will give examples.
In development...please be patient. Thank you.
Oratory: Tibagan Chapel
On the morning of our departure, we had the opportunity to visit Tibagan Chapel in a community where students do not receive religious instruction in their public school. The priest who conducts Mass, moves from church to church in the small area. Our driver navigated through the rain on dirt roads that were beginning to become muddy. The dedicated parishioners stood outside in the rain with the umbrellas to hear the Mass.
MHCC students provide outreach activities and oratory each Sunday after Mass to the small community. The students are accompanied by MHCC Sisters. Young children of all ages are placed into groups and work with a group leader from MHCC.
Again, we were surprised and honored with a wonderful farewell celebration, filled with fabulous people, food, and entertainment! Several students performed songs and the parents danced to a delightful folk tune and story. Saying good-bye to the beautiful Mary Help of Christians College Community was bittersweet. I appreciated every moment of this experience, but was saddened to say good-bye to the new friends and colleagues I had made. Fortunately, we will remain in contact thanks to technology! Thank you Sister Pinky, Sister Celia, MHCC Salesian Sisters, Teachers, Students, Parents, and MHCC Staff and Community. You are with me forever!
Our first fabulous Filipino dinner was with the Arcebuche Family! We enjoyed their generosity and hospitality. I really liked the Grandfather's L.A. Dodgers hat, since I am from Southern California! I enjoyed seeing the closeness of the family and connectedness to each other. The respect to parents was evident throughout our stay in the Philippines.
Over the weekend, the Guiruela and MHCC staff members toured Tagaytay City on Saturday. Photos from our wonderful day visiting Museo Orlina, Sonya's Garden and the Puzzle Mansion (below). We had a lovely dinner at the Guiruela's home. I also had the opportunity to zip line at Picnic Park with a view of Taal Lake and volcano. It was a fantastic experience!
I had a delicious mushroom burger...no meat, just mushroom and cheese on a bun, and fried mushrooms. This was a snack after having an incredible lunch at Sonya's garden!
Sunday the Pabale and Algar families gave us a tour of Calamba City with Ms. Shirley Azaula. We went to Calamba City Hall to see the Jose Rizal Monument and visited the St John the Baptist Church and the city's claypot. The vendors sold fresh coconuts, foods, and fruits.
Our final family dinner was with the Garcia family in Nuvali. I was fascinated with the planned eco-community of Nuvali. It reminded me of several planned communities in Southern California. However, this community was specifically designed as an ecologically friendly environment. We were once again welcomed with a delicious dinner and delightful hospitality!
Transportation...I want a Tricycle from the Philippines!
I was fascinated with the various vehicles used for transportation. My favorite is the tricycle, a motorcycle with an enclosed sidecar that can carry 2 and possibly 3 people inside. Two people can ride on the back of the side car and another on the back of the motorcycle. It sounds like a go-cart, or the old Autopia ride at Disneyland.
Drivers are polite to each other in the Philippines. I never heard a driver scream or yell at pedestrians or other drivers. In fact, in the town of Calamba there were no traffic signals! Surprisingly, the traffic moved smoothly as the vehicles meandered in and out of lanes. Below is a video of vehicles in Calamba, Philippines.
Sister Pinky, SIster Celia and the fabulous community of Salesian Sisters provided us with a special farewell dinner and a lovely song.