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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Language Training, HS Prom & Island Cove

Recently, I started taking language lessons in Subic, a 30-40 minute bike ride up & down the mountains.  At first it took a lot of energy at the end of a long day of teaching to start on that hilly trek.  However, I’ll admit it; I do love the route going to tagalog lessons.  I gradually start up the mountain, and then go down like a roller coaster; it’s a lot of fun. 

A few weeks ago, my school had their prom & my teachers told me the morning of prom that all the teachers go & that I should go.  I texted Arleen, the lady I met in Baguio about this, she was our tour guide and jokingly asked her to the dance later that night.  I didn’t think she would hop on a bus for three & half hours to be my prom date.  She came from Manila & arrived there at eight just before I got there.  I was late because Tuesdays are my language days.  I biked as fast as I could back to my apartment to change.  Normally, I would’ve cancelled the appointment, but I was just starting my lessons and didn’t want to do that.  I finally arrived and we all had a good time.  I took other photos of that night, but my camera doesn't take good shots at night.  This was the only good shot I got.

Island Cove

I can’t believe next Monday (3/19) will be my six month anniversary at my site, Kalalake National High School (KNHS).  At that same time, it will be 8 & ½ months here in the Philippines.  Time does travel fast.  Last week my counterpart (co-teacher) & I took part in a conference that got us started on what our main project will be.  Every volunteer has a local counterpart, regardless of what sector they work in; Education (me), CYF (children, youth, & family), or Environment.  Our project will be renovating a reading center here at KNHS and more details on this will come in probably two weeks as we still have to put a budget together, which is going to be tough to do because every single item has to be accounted for.

Back to Island Cove where I only had 15 minutes of internet, enough though to send my VRF (Volunteer Report Form).  That's a report where we have to include everything we did at our site, including the costs of each project.  It takes a long time.  I'm glad to actually send mine when I did (6:15am on a Tuesday, it also helps working out in the morning and realizing no one is in the lobby using the internet.)  I quickly raced up the stairs as if I was five and got my laptop and waited patiently for my computer to boot up, sent my VRF, then off with the internet for the week.

The Project design management (PDM) workshop went well and was a big help for my counterpart & myself.  They're were a lot of details that I hadn't considered such as tasks under each objective and a line by line budget.  We have our work cut out for us in the next 18 months, however just like the bike ride above they're will be ups & downs, but a lot of fun.

Ingat na

Thursday, March 1, 2012

For my Grandpa

Just because I’m in the Philippines, doesn’t mean tragedy doesn’t affect me.  Yesterday, I was just informed that my Grandpa, Gonzalo Delgado died.  He was 85.  I’m sad, but I know he would’ve wanted me to move on and was proud of me for volunteering.  Let me tell you about him.

My grandfather was a great person to know.  He loved telling stories, taking me to the barber shop, and driving Grandma & myself to the movies, so all three of us could watch them.  His excitement wore off on me.  When I was little staying overnight at their house, my excitement for getting my haircut grew so much that I woke him up at four in the morning to remind him about our visit to the barber shop later that morning.  I think I remember him saying, “Miho, it’s 4 in the morning, it’s too early.”  The next morning he told my Grandma about his wake up call & they shared a laugh together.


He told some great stories, but one that I remember is the importance of reading.  He told me the story of one person applying for job at the factory he worked at.  All this person had to do was fill out the application & he had the job, but he couldn’t read and he wanted to take it home so a relative could fill it out.  However, the job application had to be completed there in the office.  This person wound up not applying because he couldn’t read the application.  I told this story to my students today, but my English is still too fast for them.  They just looked at me with a blank look, huh?  However, I will translate again in tagalog before their summer break, which is coming soon.


Before he was a Grandfather and a father, my Grandpa was saxophone player.  As I write this I put on some jazz music, the band Portico Quartet, album Isla.  There are some great saxophone sounds on this album and I know he would’ve loved it.   While I’m in the Philippines I am learning an instrument, the acoustic guitar, so far it’s pretty slow as I have no time to practice, but I hope I have tune or two down before I leave here.  You'll hear more stories about the trials & errors of learning the guitar soon.


“Grandpa you’re a great cook, you & Grandma should open up a restaurant,” I remember telling them. My Grandma was a great cook herself, I have to add.  One of the items my Grandpa cooked were pancakes and I loved waking up to the smell of those delicious cakes.   It’s ironic that in the last few weeks, I found a place in the market that cooks pancakes similar to his, not as good of course, but a respectable second, another place I know my Grandpa would’ve loved.  It’s as if my Grandpa was sending me a message to check this stand out, there’s a treat there for you. If you knew my Grandpa, please post your memories about him below.  You may also post memories at
Eating those delicious hot cakes Tuesday.