Yes, it's been a year!
A year since I arrived in the Philippines. It sure doesn't seem like it has been that long. Not really having four distinct seasons, each with their own radical temperature range, sights, and smells has something to do with that, I'm sure. Although I am beginning to appreciate when it is NOT summer here!
Jay's been doing a good deal of melting lately. My body still hasn't, or can't, acclimate to the heat. Friends, family, and longtime readers may remember my saying that within my first month here my body opened up pores it didn't know it had and other such things.
Well, last week was Holy Week. For people who have forgotten what that is (like me), or just didn't know to begin with, it is the week before Easter. For those unaware of Easter, I've provided the Wikipedia link for you.
In the Philippines the entire country observes Holy Week whether they want to or not. Everything closes from Thursday through Easter Sunday, though some stores reopen on Easter.
No MRT or LRT for Manilans to shuttle about the metro. (Where would they go? Also the reason not all businesses reopen.)
Where is everyone?
Most either go home to the provinces or to the beach.
While the idea of Holy Week, according to the church , is a time to reflect and pray, that is hardly what the throngs of beach goers in places such as Puerto Galera are doing. Think Spring Break in Florida or Cancun! The only reflecting and praying going on there is the reflection droves of drunks see in the bathroom mirror as they pray they aren't vomiting up vital organs along with everything else. Even Atheists are brought close to God at times like those.
Other beach goers, while not praying, may be saying Oh God for other reasons I will leave up to your imaginations. Think Girls/Guys Gone Wild!
At the end of February, many people began asking us where we were going for Holy Week. Edson and I never even realized it was coming! I at least had an excuse. In the US, Holy Week is not observed like it is here, and I had only experienced my first Filipino Holy Week last year, just two weeks after my arrival. Edson's six years abroad made him forget it.
So we didn't plan to go anywhere. We stayed in Makati, living in the CBD. It may well have been quieter here than at the beaches, there was so little traffic. Our condo's swimming pool became our own resort; and as it was hot, we spent a good deal of time there each day.
I got to meet some of our neighbors there and spent many hours chatting with them, because I'm the social, er...white one of us!
Well, Easter came and we were awakened by our alarm at 4am (ugh) to attend Easter sunrise service with Edson's family at the Church of the Risen Lord on the University of the Philippines campus.
A wonderful brunch followed later at 11am, once the restaurants began to reopen. There, the manager of the restaurant asked how long I was visiting. To her surprise I replied I am living here. She asked if I liked the Philippines and I said I did. She followed that with "when are you leaving?", as if to be saying, "poor, dumb foreigner, you should go home".
I find I got that a lot, even from the neighbors at the pool. Everyone hopes I like the Philippines, but they all want to know when I am leaving. Inside, perhaps subconsciously they are thinking We hope you like it here, but we hope you don't stay. We made that mistake with the Spaniards. Now look where that got us: we all have Spanish surnames and we're Catholic.
Anyway, that was my week.
And now for something completely different. (I know, I should've put this in a different entry. But I was thinking about it and decided what the heck!
Last night, our good friend Darz pointed us to this YouTube dance mix of Janina San Miguel's Q&A from the pageant a couple weeks ago. After sitting at the computer reading long blog entries like this, you can get up and dance to it to get your circulation going again.