Tuesday, August 7, 2012


If you can picture the worst traffic on I-15 and then multiply it by 3 you'll have the daily traffic in Manila and Quezon City!  It is something to behold!  The only reason people are still alive on these streets is because the traffic moves slowly (at least most of the time).  You definitely have to know ahead of time where you are destined to go.  There is not much room, or time to change your mind!  We both have our driver's licenses, but Elder Harris is a much better driver than I; so I am the navigator.  It seems to take two of us to get where we need to go.  We do have a map, but it is very hard to read and there are few street signs.  We have to go by "turn by the big tree" or "turn at the roundabout", or "look for the Provident Living sign".  Sometimes the Jollibees are good location markers.  A Jollibee is a hamburger joint.

The different modes of transportation are walking, lots of jay-walking, bicycles, motorcycles, trikes, jeepneys, cars, trucks, taxis and very large trucks.  We try not to travel on EDSA.  EDSA is the biggest main artery through Manila and surrounding cities.  There are usually 4-6 lanes going in each direction with a fenced barrier in between.  Adding to the driving difficulties here is the fact that there are very few left turn intersections.  In order to turn left you must go through the intersection and then drive until you see a U-Turn sign (it might be a few kilometers or as much as a 1/2 mile or so). Then after you make the U-Turn you must go back to the intersection and make a right turn (hope you followed that explanation). The U-Turns are few and far between and sometimes the lines are very long.  If you miss one, it could be miles before you see another. EDSA has buses and bus lanes that are good to stay away from!  If you happen to turn into a bus lane, you could be there for a long time waiting for the bus to move, or a bus may tailgate blasting his horn until you are out of his way or he can get around you . As you can see, EDSA is not our favorite street.

Aurora Blvd. north of Mission Office

Train going East above Aurora Blvd.

Jeepneys and trikes are modes of transportation that we have never seen before!  We have climbed into a jeepney, but have yet to ride in one or a trike.  President DeLaMare suggests that we not ride on them because they stop and start fast and we may get hurt trying to get on or off.


Is Anything More Fun than Water!!?

Yes, More Water!

They love to pose for pictures!

Are words really necessary?  What treasures!  Filipino children will sometimes take your hand and put the back of your hand to their foreheads as they bow to you!  It is so precious!  They catch you off-guard.  You just want to hug them, but we are cautioned as missionaries to not hold the babies or hug the children.  So sad for loving grandparents that we are, but we will follow the rules.  However, many children will come and climb up on your lap and I do not stop them.
You see children everywhere:  among the cars on the busy roads, alongside the road, playing in the dirt or in the puddles, carrying each other; and they seem to always be smiling.
They call you Mum, po (an expression of respect) Sir, and hardly ever hesitate to shake your hand.
("Except Ye...Become as Little Children")

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Farmers' Market with Little Jo the Mission Home cook

Pandesal bread for Transfer Day

     Before leaving home we heard the usual comments about eating fish heads and rice.  So we thought we would fill you in a little on our eating and shopping experiences.
  Although, we have eaten lots of rice, which is a staple here (potatoes being more difficult to find), we have not had to resort to eating fish heads.  Actually, American food is quite plentiful here.  We live in a complex of about 14 high rise professional and apartment buildings where both restaurants and grocery stores cater somewhat to Americans.  We have been able to find pretty much any prepared food or groceries that we want, if we are willing to pay more.
  The exchange rate here is pretty consistent at 43 pesos per dollar.  Overall, the cost of living here for us is pretty similar to home.  For example, gasoline is quite high:  about $5.00 a gallon, milk is quite high:  $1.50 per quart, bread on the other hand is very reasonable.  A Filipino baker’s dozen (14 pieces) donuts is only 40P or .93 cents US.  We bought a beautiful spray of flowers at the outdoor market today for President and Sister DeLaMare’s anniversary for around $20 US ( Probably  would cost $50 - $75 at home).  Most anything that involves manual labor is quite reasonably priced.  Huge malls are plentiful here.  There are no U S franchise malls in the Philippines,  but  what we have are very large, possibly twice or three times the size of  the University Mall or the Town Center Mall in Provo and a Super Wall Mart would be on the small side.  The selection of eateries is limitless, everything from  street-food that we don’tusually dare eat, up to very nice Italian and French restaurants.  Although, we have to be a little careful how we spend our money; we eat well and the overall costs seem to be about the same.    

Sunday, June 24, 2012


American War Memorial 

Just outside our door to the Mission Office

On Our Way To Church

"American War Cemetery and Memorial" in Manila
Orchids growing on the trunk of a Coconut tree behind the Mission Home

Ever since I went to school in Hawaii as a young man I have been enamored with the flora of the Tropics!! I feel like a little bit of heaven is looking back at me when I see the ever present beautiful plants and flowers of the South Pacific. Even though we are in the Metro Manila area we still see some real beauty here.  We want to  give you some idea of the true beauties to be found here.  So---we have attached a few photos for your pleasure!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Eastwood City, Parkview Towers (our Tower is on left)

Greetings from the Philippines—or at least from what we have seen of them.  As most of you know, we are now serving an 18 month mission for our Church and have been called to serve here in Quezon City, Metro Manila. The official name of our mission is the "Philippines Quezon City Mission". We are pretty much in the heart of Manila and get to share this area with about 2 million or so other folks. The Philippines has a land area about the same as that of Nevada but there are about 11 million people here. As you can imagine, the driving here in Manila is a major challenge.  This is not, however, a complaint.  We love these people and the area is exciting to experience.

We are very fortunate to be in this mission, as the Manila Temple, Philippine Area Offices, MTC and Church  Distribution Center are all clustered together and only about 5-6 miles away from our mission office.  Our Mission Home is nearby too! We are really loving this grand experience and although we are doing office work most of the time, there is a steady stream of young Elders and Sisters coming into the office for a drink of water or to pick-up some materials, drop off baptismal forms, or cool down, etc. And, Sister Harris and I get to go with them occasionally and do some proselyting.  Many of those we visit are less active in the Church and it is so enjoyable to visit with them and learn more about their situation and hopefully be of some help to them.
Philippine Missionary Training Center  (MTC) 

We are planning to do several posts on different topics and throw in a few comments and pictures on each. We will try to keep the verbiage to a minimum and the pictures to a maximum.   We hope that this will be informative and enjoyable!

Philippine Area Offices (PAO)
Mission Office & our car

Manila Temple