Sunday, September 30, 2012


   Back in August, the Senior Missionaries had planned a day to visit local sites of interest. Because of the bad weather, it was rescheduled just 2 weeks ago. We had 18 Senior Missionaries pack into 2 vans and away we went. Our trip took us very close to where we meet for church each Sunday at the Tayuman Ward in the City of Angono.

The first stop was on top of the mountain above Angono, known as the Art Capital of the Philippines. We crested the summit and now have a view on the other side. This area is Tanay, the location of a branch we first attended. The body of water is Laguna Bay. It is a dead body of water like the Great Salt Lake. It has no outlet. The water is quite spread out from the torrential rains a month ago. Many people still can not return to their homes and it may be months yet. Receding water only happens with evaporation.
We arrive at the site of the Angono Petroglyphs not long after our first stop. It is beautiful in this area and not a long distance from Manila.
The site of the petroglyphs is accessed by this tunnel specifically built for that purpose.
The site is an overhang rock formation that has served as a protection for the drawings. In 1965 Carlos V Francisco was leading a group of Boy Scouts for an adventure in the area. They were going to use the area they discovered as shelter because of the protection it provided. Originally there was a vegetative curtain hanging down that provided an area of safety. Upon there return, Carlos reported his finding to the Philippine Government. Research discovered that the art is of the 3000 BC period and the oldest drawings of any kind in the Philippines.
This man is the curator of the site and is employed by the National Museum of the Philippines. Many discoveries have been made at this site that gives information of the people that lived here. Such things as tools and pottery give us glimpse into the past.
Here is an example of the artwork that was left thousands of years ago. People rediscovering themselves after the Tower of Babel era.
Our next stop was in the Antipolo area at a location known as Taktak Falls. It is a 'State Park' and well maintained. It is also a very beautiful area and the area chosen for lunch. You have to feed the Senior Missionaries or they get totally out of hand.
We really had a great time. Spending time with other Senior Missionaries is always good. Some of the Seniors don't have the opportunities we have and they need they chance to be together.

Friday, September 28, 2012

US issues security alert for Philippine capital

US issues security alert for Philippine capital - This is the first time I am aware of since arriving in the Philippines that a warning has been issued for US Citizens. Speculation is it is a result of the anti-Muslin movie that is causing quite a stir worldwide.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


   We had really had a hard time completing this training. It was initially scheduled the first part of August. Then the monsoon rains came and we postponed the date, 3 TIMES. They really gave us a bad time for all the postponements.
  We went up the night before the training was to begin. That allowed us time to meet the people in charge and check out the venue for any problems not considered ahead of time.

Upon arrival we were directed to the Mayor's Office. Mayor Ricardo V. Rivita took the time to meet with us and discuss the training that was about to take place. Whenever possible, we take the opportunity to talk about LDS Charities and the initiatives we are engaged in. He is very appreciative of the service we will offer his city. I would guess he has about 25.000 to 30,000 residents. Elder and Sister Notarte are with us. He does most of the training and does it in Tagalog. Even though my ability is minor, I follow along well and interject information when needed.
The cities we visit all have a seal and they are very creative. This says 'City of Rosales'. Pangasinan is the Province in which it is located.
This is the smallest class we have ever taught. There are only 7 participants, but they are all health care workers and have a good knowledge of the items we are presenting. These really helps in moving the training along
They are really having fun playing with the wheelchairs during our skills tests. We teach that wheelchairs are not a 'Toy', but you couldn't guess it from this picture. I enjoy watching them during this time. They really let us know who they are and what their personalities are like.
On our second day of training, we assess real people with disabilities. We get a chance to see how effective we have been in  our training. I am going to focus on two of the recipients of wheelchairs we assessed. This little boy is 6. His is very weak and has a heart condition that doesn't allow him to exert much energy. He can't walk and he can't speak. It took us about an hour and a half to get the assessment done on this young man. In one part of the assessment we have them close there eyes so we can determine if they have areas of diminished or no sensation. We taught him to close his eyes during this part of the assessment, but he kept peeking and then laughing. We had so much fun with him, I'm surprised it didn't take longer. This is just one of those times that I am so grateful for the assignment we have. He is just a wonderful little guy.
This gentleman is about 60 years old and has had a disability for a long time. The stroke he had has left him with no ability on his right side. Even with a wheelchair, he will need a lot of assistance. He is a very gentle man and so appreciative. As we thanked him for coming, he burst into uncontrollable
tears. He had never had such a great thing done for him before. He and his family's life will be changed for the better. Within a few seconds, tears flowed from everyone present.  This is a special group that really understands the opportunity they have before them in serving their brothers and sisters in the world.
As we finished the training with this marvelous group, without thinking I asked, 'Have I done any good in the world today, have I helped anyone in need?'. Unanimously they all said, 'YES'.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


   Construction of any permanent building in the Philippines involves Concrete and Rebar.

I see this view from my little apartment everyday. I have been watching the work proceed, but slowly. In the 3 & 1/2 months we have been here, they have completed just 1/2 of the upper most floor of this building. It is hard to see, but there are several cranes perched atop the various buildings in the photo. They are of various sizes and colors. I could easily mistake them for the national bird.

On a small scale, you can see the hollow block (as thy call it) with rebar sticking up to keep it all together as they proceed upward. Most homes and small building will be left 'as is' with the block exposed. Only those homes and buildings that have a big budget will get stucco on the outside to give a finished look.
On a large scale, the rebar shoots skyward as the building progresses. If you look closely, you can see the concrete bucket at the end of the crane. They are pouring the outside supports of the building. These buildings are not flexible at all and would never meet code in the US. After the frame is poured out of concrete and rebar, hollow block fills in all the openings, less the window frames.
The process is very slow and labor intensive. Hundreds of workers are on this project daily. Labor is cheap in comparison to the US. A typical laborer will make about 300 to 400 Pecos A DAY (about 8 to 10 dollars). Due to the high expense, very little steel is used in construction here. It must be imported which adds to the great cost.
 Even with the different dynamics of building, they have very pleasing tall buildings. Also very interesting is the location of these buildings. There are often adjacent to very poor areas.


  The next day we completed an approved project of food and hygiene and water delivery to the Barangay of San Miguel. This area was shown in a previous post as we gathered information on the need of the people in this area.
  The monsoon rains had flooded this area and it will probably be months before this area is dried out. Affected were close to 2000 families. We delivered the above items in 3 large trucks. I watched the locals for negative effects from the still high and stagnant water.  Many diseases are the after effect of the flooding and standing water. Fortunately I did not notice any problems.

We arrived to a long line of people waiting for the supplies we were bringing. They were notified that we were coming to allow the workers to be prepared. Many families sent representatives to pick their items up. Some were at work and others were unable due to disabilities of even age.
Becky was greeting many of the residents of the area and preparing for the distribution.
We were notified by Channel 5 TV that they wanted to do a piece on our project. We are always willing to recognize the work of LDS Charities. Most programs are very positive about the work we do. We are happy for their participation with us.
Once a Grandma, always a Grandma. Neither of us can resist the presence of the young children. They are beautiful and mostly very friendly. However, they are always puzzled by the light skin and white hair.
The Barangay workers prepare for the event by furnishing a coupon to each family to verify the receipt of the items and avoid duplication. With the help on 8 young Elder Missionaries, we collect the coupons and distribute the food. This young lady has received the first bag as she moves to the next truck for other items.
   I have never heard so many 'Thank Yous" or in their language "Salamet Po" in a single day of my life. However, the older the person, the more gratitude they had.
   It took 4 hours to complete the work and then prepare to head home.
   This was our first opportunity to do the distribution and what a wonderful experience. I truly know that Service brings Joy.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


   The Philippine Area Office had been a buzz with the news of visitors from Salt Lake City.  We had Tad R. Callister (One of Seven Presidents of Seventy), Dean M. Davies (Presiding Bishopric), Quentin L. Cook and David A. Bendar (Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) and their wives arrive in the Philippines on the 24th of August to spent time training in our area.
  They spent a lot of time training area and local leadership. They mostly went out as husband and wife companionships to teach as many groups as possible country wide. I marvel at the ability they have to arrive in a country half-way around the world and land on the ground running. I was a total mess for 10 days as I tried to adjust to the new time zone. I know for a fact that thy are sustained by the Lord in his work.
  We were hopeful that we could attend more than just one of their firesides or trainings. However, we were only scheduled for a devotional on Thurday morning Aug 30th at the PAO. It was short, but very personal.
We met in the largest room in the building, the cafeteria. You can see Sister Hadlock in red.
I was in the choir on the left side of the room. We had prepared two numbers for the devotional. We had practiced for several weeks, but the songs only came together the day before. Even so, they were done beautifully. We sang 'Ere You Left Your Room This Morning' and 'Oh What Songs of the Heart'. All the work payed off.
Closest to me sat Elder and Sister Callister and Elder and Sister Davies. Due to the shortness of the meeting, we didn't get a chance to hear from them.
Elder and Sister Cook and Elder and Sister Bednar sat on the other side of the room. In the center of the photo is Todd Tapp (Director of Temporal Affairs for the Philippine Area) and the shorter one is Elder Michael Teh (Philippine Area President).
As they walked into the room, Sister Bednar spotted Sister Hadlock and beelined over to give her a hug. Sister Hadlock had been Sister Bednar's visiting teacher for 5 years while in Rexburg. It was a wonderful reunion.
Sister Cook spoke first and related the time they spent in the Philippines as Elder Cook's first assignment as a General Authority. They love the people and recognize that the Lord is mindful of all of his children. Of their pioneering spirit she said, "You don't have to push a handcart to be a pioneer".
Elder Cook spoke of the Filipinos love of the Savior. In his first meeting with the press in Manila, the reporters cried as he shared with them his testimony of Christ.
He taught of following the Prophet and the work of rescuing those in need. And the truth that the Atonement covers all unfairness in the world.
 Sister Bednar spoke of Joseph Smith's first prayer and the fact that we are all here because of it. She even related the first prayer she had offered as a young girl and remembering how it was answered. She testified that Elder Cook and her husband had been called of prophecy as Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sister Bednar is a marvelous example of the how the gospel works in our lives. But we don't have to be next to an Apostle to know this.
  Elder Bednar spoke of the love that the First Presidency and The Quorum of the Twelve have for the members of the church. Even though many of the Brethren are getting older, they still run fast and accomplish much.
  He spoke to us about not taking casual what we have. We have the fullness of the Gospel and everything that that entails. Hold sacred your temple recommend and always be worthy of it.
  He told us that our testimony is a gift from God. Conversion is what we offer to God in gratitude.
The church is coming out of obscurity and we need to come out of the shadows with our beliefs. We need to be prepared to talk and answer questions.
  He then bore witness of the Father and the Son. That they live and that they love us.
  He concluded with an Apostolic Blessing to those in attendance promising that if they are consistently faithful they would be given strength and fortitude to never go amiss. 
  I felt the Spirit as it confirmed to me the truthfulness of the words that were spoken. How can we know for a fact that the Gospel is true without the Spirit? We can't.

We ended the devotional with the opportunity to meet each one of our visitors. Sister Hadlock is shown here greeting Elder Bednar. If you look real close, you can see my hand shaking Sister Bednar's hand. My claim to fame.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


   A meeting had been arranged for us to meet the Chief of Staff for the Vice President of the Philippines. We made our way into Manila to the NBP (National Bank of the Philippines) building were the Vice President has his offices. The NBP is a government ran bank, thus federal offices located there. Our meeting was an information gathering meeting regarding a desire the Vice President had to get wheelchairs to the disabled in his country. Jojomar C Binoy is know as the 'Working Vice President'. He is very active in many areas of government such as calamities, social programs, and home projects for the displaced families. He always wants to be the first on site to observe the problems.
   We met Rosalie R. Licauco in her 7th story office. Her office runs all the Administration, Finances and Social Programs of the Philippines assigned to the Vice President. They have a shortfall in funding of programs in Social Welfare. This is a common problem whether it is federal, provincial or city government.
  Our meeting started with introductions. She then asked 'What can we do for you?' It was apparent that she had not been recently briefed as to what our meeting was about. We began by explaining what LDS Charities is all about. Elder Misalucha, the Area Welfare Director and Area Seventy, gave all the details of the initiatives LDS Charities is involved in. Before the meeting was completed, she understood the question from us was 'What can we do for you?'. She regularly gets requests from individuals or families of the needy for wheelchairs.
  We offered our services and she responded favorably. She will send the requests to us and we will do the assessing and delivery to the PWD.
   I am always amazed at what doors are being opened in the Philippines to introduce them to LDS Charities and the LDS Church.

This is a photo of the seal of the Vice President's Office just as you enter the outer offices.