5/20/2005 - Settling Down in Manila  

  The highlight of our week was probably the same as yours: STAR WARS!!!We definitely agree that George Lucas has redeemed himself, and HaydenChristensen has come close. When we went to buy our tickets, thepeople at the ticket counter looked at us dubiously and startedtalking among themselves. We thought they were discussing whether ornot they were going to let the baby in. Turns out they were decidingwhether to make her pay for a ticket. They eventually decided thatthey would, so we paid 101 pesos ($2.00) each. I guess it was goodthat we paid for her, because she actually watched most of the movie.Like her daddy, she was more into the action parts. She especiallyenjoyed the light saber fight between Obi Wan and Lord Grievous. Wealready want to go back and see it again, but we'll try to wait a weekor so.

We are finally settled in what will be our permanent home in thePhilippines (well, for the next month or two, anyway). So far, we'vesent mostly pictures of the undeveloped wildlands of the Philippines.Lest the grandparents think that their granddaughter is living in amud hut with headhunters, we've decided to send some pictures of urbanManila. We have included a picture of a free open-air showing ofSaturday Night Fever at a local mall.

We are living in Makati on the second floor of a pink apartment buildingin a cute little two-level apartment down the hall from a group of BYUstudents working with NGO's in the Philippines. There's a swimmingpool on the roof (and a lovely view of the surrounding highrises) anda security guard at the door (but there's a security guard at the doorof practically every building in Manila).

Since we left Gary's house on Saturday, he and Sheila have beenblessed with a baby boy, so we're happy for them and wish them well.We spent a few days back in Pension Natividad, our first home in thePhilippines before starting to apartment hunt. We met Elmer, ourdashing, kind, and eminently helpful administrative contact in PEZA(the government organization that administers the economic zones wherethe companies for the study are located). He gave Tony a list ofcompanies and promised to pre-contact them, so we have high hopes ofgetting most of our interviews from them.

We also met Claire, the Philippines' best kept secret. She's the BYUtravel office's contact here in Manila, and she helped us find anapartment, gave us a tour of Glorietta (Manila's most prestigiousmall), introduced us to the six BYU interns who are also spendingtheir summer here in the Philippines, and provided us with hangers, agarbage can, and various other necessities. Claire has friends andcontacts everywhere, and her talents range from interior decorating tomassage. She is marvelous with babies, and Axa adores her.

When we first looked at the apartment on Wednsday afternoon, thelandlady told us it would be cleaned before we came back the next day,and the burnt-out lightbulb would be replaced. When we turned uparound eleven the next morning, it looked exactly the same. We decidedto check the air conditioning (probably the most important item inhousing in the Philippines). After we ran it for 20 minutes, theaparment was still hotter than the street outside. Tony made up alittle list (fix a/c, sweep/mop upstairs and downstairs, replace thelightbulb, etc.) We went off to the mall to have lunch, and shepromised everything would be done when we returned at 1:00. Upon ourreturn, we went up to see the apartment, and it still looked exactlythe same. We went back to the landlady's office, and she informed usthat they had bought a lightbulb. Everything, she assured us, would befinished by 2:30. We waited around till 2:30, and they really didstart working on it, so we felt better. By the time we came back fromthe store with pillows, sheets, and food for the refrigerator,everything was done. Or so we thought. When we tried to cook rice thatnight, it took forever on the rickety old, one-burner, electric, stovethey'd given us. In the morning we exchanged the stove for one thatlooked nicer and newer. However, when we turned it on to use it, itstarted spouting cockoaches. Tony sent Sarah and Axa over to the BYUinterns' apartment and stood by the stove and pounced on them as theyran out, eliminating at least thirty. He ran the stove until it washot enough to kill everything left inside and scoured the apartmentfor survivors. We're hoping that's the end of the saga.

We'd like to thank everyone who's been writing us and helping us feellike we're still connected to the rest of the world, and also all ofour faithful readers, without whom we could not enjoy writing ourweekly novella.

Love,Sarah, Tony, and Axa

p.s.- We have included a picture of Axa "riding the bag" for those ofyou who were wondering.


Our apartment building roof in Makati.

Upstairs and downstairs at our apartment.

Dining with Gary and Family.

Sending you all an email from our favorite internet cafe, Netopia.

Saturday Night Fever at the mall in Makati


riding the bag
home | family photos | travelogues | temples | photo/video of the month | christmas card | blog | links | contact