March 29, 2010 Hilongos Week 12

I think I remember a time when you said you weren't interested in
Harry Potter... and then look what happened! hahaha.

Jessie or Emily~
When Mom is done with the additions to the house, take pictures so I can see! ;)

I had/have a sore throat and a cough this week TOO! We're so
connected, even across the globe. ;) Oh, and I printed off that email
that you sent me a couple of weeks ago so that I can ALWAYS read it if
I should ever have a need. <3

Did you get my letter? I asked if you wanted a belt. They have belts
here made out of coconuts too!

I received my valentines day card this week. ;P Haha There was
several letters from the ward as well wishing a happy valentines day.
Our ward is so awesome. <3

More questions to be answered~ :D
So have you already had your zone conference for the second transfer?
(Assuming you have a conference each transfer...) How do you know
that your comp is leaving? Is she done? Or did someone tell you?
~We have 1 zone conference for each transfer. It happens like two
weeks before the transfer ends. I'm sad because I figured out that
we've been having our district meetings each week with our entire zone
(there are only 8 of us) and Pres. Malit said district meetings have
to be separate. So I don't get to see the people in my zone as often
now. :( S. Taunan is going home. So I'm being left... again. Haha.
I think I said that last email too. We're having a weird situation
now though... We found out yesterday that they aren't going to
announce who is transferring until TUESDAY MORNING. (Before I came,
they announced it on Sunday... and when I first came it was Monday
afternoon.) And I think they changed the transfer meeting from
Wednesday to THURSDAY. The missionary being left behind is supposed
to stay with a branch/ward missionary because not everyone is going to
Tacloban for transfer meeting. (We're the farthest zone from
So in my case... S. Taunan is leaving me on Tuesday morning. And my
companion won't arrive until Thursday evening. :(!! So I'm going to
be with a member for TWO days. And I reaaaaally expect that there
will be some ping-pong ball effect happening, where the members trade
me off at times. So I'm just... not sure what to expect. Especially
because we have some appointments. @_@

Oh Julie your pictures are so incredible. You are in such a strange
and different place. I hope you are loving the new and exotic
experience! There's not much like that here!
~Actually I meant to talk about this earlier, but I forgot. "The
Other Side of Heaven" is actually not a very accurate comparison to
the Philippines that I've seen so far. ;P The main differences so far
for me have been diet, the climate, religious ferver, and the
friendliness of the people. Some people here have houses made out of
cement, others out of bamboo, but the biggest things that have
affected me are the above 4. There are businesses and communities
similar to back home here, and it doesn't seem that different I think.
I realized that because I grew up in Long Beach, I probably have a
very city-like-view of the world. But I think this (Hilongos) is
probably pretty similar to a small town feeling in America.

~Diet of course is obvious, rice at every meal. There's a word here
"sud-an" It means "The thing you put on top of rice" or "Rice
topping". So sometimes I hear people say Whats your favorite sud-an?
What's your favorite thing to eat (obviously with rice). And there's
a funny tendency here to eat your pancit (noodles like the ones Mila
makes) with rice. Very carbohydrate heavy. Haha. Everyone also
likes fish and pork and chicken. There don't seem to be many
vegetable options.

~Climate is hot, shimpre! Slowly getting used to it though. First day
I was here it was veeeeerry obvious but like I said, I'm much more
used to it now.

~Religious fervor. Everyone has a professed religion. Most often,
it's Catholic because of the Spanish influence. Everyone's parents
were Catholic or are Catholic now. As far as I know the only
"Atheists" here are the foreigners. But on that same note, a lot of
the people we teach don't know what to say if we ask them "What did
Christ do when he lived on the earth?"

~Friendliness of the people. Like I mentioned before, nearly everyone
wants to say Hi. Mostly because "Oh hey, its a foreigner... HI! HI
HI!" But also, I think the Philippine people are much more down to
earth and real than the general populace back home.

Are you able to find enough toilet paper?
~Yea, I just buy it at the general merchandise store. Haha.

Do you have to use squatters ever, or are there usually toilets?
~It depends on the place... The more well off members have toilets.
But most people, if they have a toilet, don't have a flusher. Pouring
a bucket of water down the toilet gets the job done though. I've been
careful enough to plan when I can use a toilet. xD But also, toilet
paper is rare in that most people don't use it. It's very American
though. I... don't know what the people in bamboo houses do for a
bathroom. o_O Lots of people in communities bathe at the local water
pump, but as to the other business, I am still naive of it.

Do you have any fast food restaurants there like McDonalds? Maybe the
town is too small. Bermejo was. Maybe in the city did you see while
you were there?
~There are food stands here in the middle of town. Lots of lechon
chicken (rotisserie) stands and a stand called BigMak that makes hot
dogs/hamburgers (I know what you're thinking, but they're different!)
Maasin has Jolibees, which is like McDonalds:America,
Jolibee:Philippines. They serve fast food fried chicken and rice,
spagetti and hamburgers.

I think you look tanned. =)
~My arms are tanned. And the top (not the sides or toes) of my feet.
My face and neck aren't really tanned though. I use an umbrella. :)

Are there ANY tall people there? Or are you pretty much the tallest person?
~Some are tall. The tallest are around my height. haha. Mostly short.

Are there any chubby people? Or is everyone skinny?
~There are chubby people. But they're rarer.

Have you come across anything yucky that they eat?
~There's a raw fish dish that I saw that the members/S. Taunan told me
not to eat. I complied. For the most part, I think the food's yummy.
I've never eaten fish so often in my life, and it's only when we eat
at Branch President Alex Papel's house. There was one dish that was
made that was too native for me. It was a root of some sort, like
taro. It just was too bland for me. :S I'm not interested in eating
balut. But I AM interested in eating Banana-Q :) I've been trying to
eat mangoes every chance I get. <3

~I think I just leveled-up in my rice eating. I knew I was above
average as an American that likes rice, but now it's pretty intense.
This afternoon for lunch we ate instant pancit (like instant ramen but
less sodium packed...) and rice. Noodles on top of rice! Imagine
that. o_O

Now from me to you!
How's your Book of Mormon reading going? ;) I'm in 3rd Nephi now. My
brain was hurting when Isaiah was being quoted. It always ends up
like: Bah, I'm confused and I don't understand anymore. Oh wait...
He's quoting Isaiah.


Brother Lauriano Beltran brought his daughter and wife to church on
Sunday! Oh recent converts are the BEST. <3<3
~the end~


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I am a LDS sister missionary serving in the Philippines Tacloban area. I made this blog so that I may share my experiences with my friends and loved ones and anyone who may need to hear my story. My sister will be updating this blog with letters that I'll be writing home.