Monday, February 27, 2017

Vacation with Doranda and Tianna

After we completed our 18 months as missionaries, we went on a vacation in the Philippines with Tianna and Doranda.  Although we are no longer serving as missionaries in the Quezon City North Mission, we won't officially be released until we get home to meet with our Stake President.

 There are some interesting things to see and do in the Philippines.  They have a saying here, "It's More Fun in the Philippines."

 Our first stop was Palawan Island, which we traveled to by plane.

 The first day we visited a native village near Porta Princesa where we were staying.

We saw bearded pigs there.

 Tianna, Doranda, and Sister Swift wanted to hold a scorpion.

 They had a butterfly enclosure too.

 On the second day we went to see the Palawan Underground River.  This river was voted one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

We could only get there by boat.  We rode in these skiffs with pontoon  arms.

 The beach was white sand, very pretty.

 Tianna, Doranda, Jacquelyn and I, about ready to go into the caves.

 Our boat approaching the mouth of the cave.

 Inside the cave we were not allowed to do anything that might disturb the natural environment.  Our guide paddled the boat, no motors.  We could not even talk or whisper and we were told about the caverns through a recorded headphone presentation as we moved through the water. 

 On the third day we went Island hopping in Honda Bay. The first island was Luli Island where we got to go snorkeling.  It was a lot fun.

 The second island was Starfish Island where we again got to go snorkeling.  There were more colorful fish to see here.  Jacquelyn, Tianna and Doranda all got sunburnt.
 At the third island, Cowrie Island, there was swimming and also Tianna and Sister Swift got a massage.

 It was very beautiful there.  This is a part of the Philippines we had never seen before, the island beaches.

 After getting home from Palawan Island we went on a tour of part of Luzon Island north of where we've been living and saw some tourist areas that were outside the mission and we couldn't see before.

 First stop was the famous rice terraces of Banaue.  The guide called it The Eighth  Wonder of the World.

 They were very pretty even though a lot of the terraces weren't green because of the season.

 Most of the housing was built right on the hillsides and didn't look too stable to us.

 Here we are at one of the lookout points.  It was nice to see the mountain areas, another part of the Philippines we hadn't seen before.

 The second night we stayed in Sagada original home of some of the mountain tribes.

 A man out for a walk with his pet.

 Why waste space burying your coffins when you have caves and cliffs and can hang your coffins.

 We drove along a pretty treacherous road.  Probably the most dangerous road I've ever been on in my life.  On the right you had falling rocks and mud slides blocking parts of the road all through the drive.  On the left you had parts of the highway that had literally fallen away or were sinking in and about to fall off the side of the mountain.  All through the country you could see rice terraces.
 The last night we stayed in Baguio.  They had overbooked at our hotel so we got put in this billionare home where they had guest rooms that they occasionally rent out to friends or family.  Home of Joel Cruz who owns a perfume line.  On Sunday we went to church in Baguio at the Burnham Ward.

 Here we are in front of the Philippine President's vacation home.  It was a fun trip for us but we are all totally tired.  We got back to Baliwag about midnight and then had one day to pack up and clean out the house.  Tomorrow we fly out of Manila and will be leaving the Philippines.  We are so glad Doranda and Tianna could come visit and see the Philippines with us.

We will miss being missionaries and we will miss our friends here.  However it will be great to get home and once more see all the rest of our children and grand-children and our parents.

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