Archive for August, 2007
We are in Manila at the Aloha Hotel across from the bay and have a lovely view of the water. We have internet access at the hotel, but it is quick access so I’ll just send this email and then wait till we return home to write and send photos. Today we will try to do some touring but most of our time here is for boat supplies. Yesterday we went to the “Chinatown” part of Manila and it was like being back in Mong Kok in Hong Kong. Anyway, don’t worry if you don’t hear for 4 or 5 days. I’ll write when we are back on the boat. I miss the boat and am happier there than in a hotel!
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Randal and I will take a trip to Manila. We’ll leave Tuesday and take the bus from Olongapo. It will take about 4 hours. The ticket costs $3.70 per person. A taxi would cost us $100 and take almost the same amount of time. We need to buy some stuff for the boat and also to see Manila. I’ll take lots of photos. I think we’ll have email access while we are gone, but we aren’t taking our computer so we’ll have to look for Internet Cafes. I think we will stay at the Swagman Hotel and Randal says they have internet access. The Sox will play 3 games against the Yankees starting Tuesday and I would go mad not knowing the results. So we’ll find internet access.
This morning I did laundry and could hang it outside to dry. It was sunny and things dried in no time. I have to hang it every which way at the back of the boat rather than use the great laundry line on the bow because the yacht club doesn’t want the view from the restaurant to be obscured by lots of flapping laundry. When it rains we hang it all in the engine room which stays warm enough to dry it all overnight. We have a dryer but it all comes out wrinkled.
In the afternoon Randal and I walked to Olongapo to check on the bus to Manila and to do other chores. On the way back we stopped at the big Public Market for mangoes and then caught a cycle taxi because it looked like the weather was changing and we didn’t want to be caught in the downpour. The taxi dropped us at the main gate because they aren’t allowed into Subic. We walked really fast back to the boat and made it before it poured.
I spent most of the late afternoon cooking chicken and pasta sauce and a boxed cake with canned icing. Dave and Dorothy Nagle came over for dinner. It was quite nice and everyone liked the food though I thought the chicken a bit dry. And it is hard to mess up a boxed cake and tinned icing. Nice dinner, nice company.
Now I’m pooped! Just wanted to let you know that I might not email for a bit while we are away.
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Yesterday our "neighbors" Nick and Zaida took us off in their car for a road trip along the Zambales coast. Although they live on Nick’s sailboat, their "land" home is the Philippines where Nick has a home in Puerta Galera. Nick has overseen the building of yachts and captained yachts for many years so is a wealth of information. The weather cooperated and we had a wonderful day away! I told Randal I felt as if we had taken a vacation. He said, "yeah, a vacation from our vacation."
We had a wonderful day with Nick and Zaida. It was a treat! Another picture of this area to go with the streets of Olongapo.
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"According to some accounts, the history of the feast of San Roque in the
Philippines started in 1637. Residents of the town of San Roque came down
from the mountains where they had contracted malaria and were miraculously
cured after holding a procession in honour of San Roque. It is said that the
procession was held in a fiesta atmosphere, with a lot of dancing and
From the BusinessMirror Friday and Saturday, August 17th and 18th 2007
"Image of Olongapo Patron Saint Returns Home"
By Henry Empeño
"SUBIC BAY FREE PORT-Sixty-one years after it was relocated to various
places to escape the brutality of war, the 102-year-old image of the patron
saint of the then-barrio Olongapo returns on Friday to its original home, the
San Roque Chapel in this free port. From a house in Olongapo City, where
the statue was kept after World War II, the four-foot-high statue made
in Segovia, Spain, will be borne by the faithful and moved to the small
Spanish-era chapel here for enthronement."
The article goes on to tell more about the statue’s history and travels. The statue’s connection with the Olongapo area began in 1905. An Olongapo family, the Macaraegs, had received it as a gift and had donated it to the church. The same family housed it during the war fearing its distruction if left at the church. But after the war, with Subic and Olongapo under American Naval control, the San Roque Chapel became the ecumenical Subic Chapel. The statue of San Roque lost its place of honor upsetting the Macaraeg family, so they took it back rather than see the statue relegated to a back corner of the Church. In 1992 the Subic area was returned to the Philippines and the Church returned to its Catholic roots. For some reason, and the article doesn’t say, the statue’s whereabouts at this time were unknown, so the San Roque parish priest began the search that has led to its ultimate restoration to the church. Understandably. the Macaraeng family was a bit hesitant to part with the statue. It was a much a family heirloom as a belonging of the church.
If I understand the different articles about the statue, it was returned to the Church on June 8th, but has been on loan to other Olongapo Churches since then. It was returned to the San Roque Chapel for the Saint’s feast day on August 16th. As in 1637 there was a fiesta atmosphere with singing and dancing.
http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/0608&092007/nation05.html is the actual web address for the article
Thursday morning (8/16/2007) I walked over to the San Roque Chapel on Dewey Avenue next to the Montessori School . One day last week I had walked past the Church and stopped to take some photos. Several workers sprucing up the grounds informed me that on August 16th there would be a big celebration at the church and a street parade featuring marchers in traditional costume. They said I should come back to see. When I got back to the boat I marked it on the calendar.
Then the rains came and I wondered if the weather on August 16th would postpone or cancel the festivities. But on August 16th after early morning rain, the weather cleared and I walked over to the church to see what I could see. What I saw were people having a lot of fun with their friends, neighbors and co-workers. And though I didn’t understand it at the time, apparently I was attending the festivities to welcome the San Roque statue back to its home at the San Roque Chapel.
When I arrived at the chapel the parade was just getting itself organized. Different groups, some in costume, were taking their places in line. There would be costume awards chosen by the three judges seated at a table set up on the sidewalk just in front of the church. Homemade and wonderful. Everyone seemed to want to include me and waved or posed for photos, so I had a good time.
It was like being in a small town for the 4th of July parade or in Roanoke at the Grandin Road Christmas Parade and seeing Jeanne Duddy bicycle by wearing reindeer horns on her bike helmet. Everyone who is there becomes a part of the celebration. It wasn’t my religion, my country, my co-workers, or my neighbors, but I was included and felt as much a part of the event as everyone else.
Let me show you.
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August 13, 2007 3:06 pm
It is the rainy season here in the Philippines so you have to accept that if you go out, you will get wet. Most of the time we have gotten caught in short term drizzle that you can either ignore, as we did on our bike ride back from Barrio Barretto, or wait out under a store awning if you are walking. The weather is warm, and when the sun reappears, you dry quickly. Today we got caught in an hour-long down pour. Randal needed to visit shops in the area of Olongapo past the Public Market; about 2.5 miles from our boat. He wanted to buy many gallons of antifreeze, more than we could carry on our bikes. So we decided to walk to Olongapo for the exercise, and take a taxi home if he found the antifreeze. About two thirds of the way there, it started to really pour and it kept pouring, not looking like it would ever stop! We tried to wait it out, but gave that up when we noticed the side street, where we were standing under a gift shop’s awning, was filling up with water. I was afraid the sidewalks, where they existed, would also soon be under water. It did cross my mind that it was a good thing we had gotten Hepatitis and Tetanus shots. The overflowing water wasn’t only clean rain water, but was rain water mixing with bits of garbage and all types of questionable standing water around the city.
I had my yellow rain jacket, my new green fake Red Sox hat and our dark green Roanoke County Public Library umbrella. It was almost too warm for the jacket, but in the blowing sheets of rain, I wore it. I actually stayed pretty dry, except for my sneakered feet which were totally soaked shortly after we left the gift shop’s covered porch. Before we had gotten to the next corner, waves of water caused by passing jeepneys, were flowing onto the sidewalk and over our feet. The corner intersection was a pond of water so we retraced our steps and walked back to the main road. This was not the direct route to our destination, but it was the one with the least street water. Every intersection was a little pond that needed to be jumped or waded through. I waded, who cared, my feet were as wet as they could possibly be.
We did get to the shops we needed, ate some lunch, and started to walk home since the rain had finally stopped. Before long it was raining again, so we stopped a tricycle taxi and folded ourselves into it for the drive to the Magsaysay Main Gate. Remember when you were a kid and you went to an amusement park, and any ride you could climb into that moved was fun. It didn’t have to go fast, up, down, anything. It just had to move and you had to be in or on it. (Some of you grew up and wanted those fast, up down horribly scary rides, but not me.) Anyway, the tricycle taxi was like those old amusement park rides, cramped, noisy, and slow, but moving. Considering it seemed rather difficult to see out of the driver’s plastic sheet windshield plus the crazier rainy day Olongapo traffic, it could have been scary. But we went slow, so it wasn’t. Fifteen pesos later, less than 50 cents, we unfolded ourselves out at the Magsaysay Gate. Tricycle taxis aren’t allowed into Freeport/Subic. We made stops on our walk back to the boat, a "video store" and the donut shop. Randal bought two DVDs each with about one hundred episodes of Discovery and National Geographic. I bought In the Land Of Women because it was there, I want to see it, and I don’t know if it will come to the Times Square Cinema down the street. When you buy videos it’s wise to have the shop owner try it to make sure it really works and really is in English. Our first Borat attempt wasn’t English or any language we could recognize. Subtitles are hysterical. Remember any lines about wanting pancakes in the new Pirates movie? Our subtitles are actually funnier than the dialogue from the movie. But if there is a Pirates 4, I’ll go see it. The donut holes are for later as is the chocolate little round cake thing I couldn’t resist. I need comfort food to deal with the Red Sox these days. I actually was up from 2:50 am till 5:00 am to follow the game. I gave up in dismay when Gagne let the Orioles tie the game and went back to sleep. At 7 am I found they had indeed gone on to lose. Poor Sox.
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Just a quick note to say our weather is seasonably wet, but not horrible or deadly as it has been other places in Asia. We did have a few days of steady rain from Tropical Storm Chedeng. Now it is the rain, sun, drizzle, sun, rain off and on kind of thing. Annoying, but it does keep it cooler. When I go out to walk, I take my rain jacket and/or umbrella and just don’t worry about getting wet. It’s warm enough that being wet isn’t so awful; it’s just wet.
It’s funny that some things are ok in the rain, and others are just too annoying for words. I hate to bike in the rain, (too scary,) but don’t mind walking. I won’t start out in the rain, but if I get caught in it, that’s ok. Here it rains on and off all day, so you just have to go for it. I walked to the big public market this morning. I knew it might rain so had my rain jacket and umbrella. Worse than getting caught in the rain is sitting on the boat all day and getting too little exercise. (Too little exercise and too much baking are a bad combination.) Luckily it hardly rained, and when it did, I just stood under a shop awning till it stopped. It rains for 5 minutes, turns to a light drizzle and then the sun comes back out. That’s been the pattern for the past 3 days. The 2 days before that, it rained all day, and that was the pits. If it’s clear tomorrow morning, maybe a bike ride.
At the public market, I could finally visit the inside stalls, since I had walked there and wasn’t worried about my bike. It was just like the wet markets in China with the meat, fish, and vegetable areas. I bought some broccoli, carrots, and potatoes from one lady and mangoes from another. Beggars work the market, and some look quite needy. But I felt that if I gave money to anyone, I would be surrounded by lots of others. I didn’t see anyone giving them money. It’s one thing when it’s young kids, some of them just do it for the heck of it, it seems. Roll you eyes at them and they go away. Adult beggars, though not agressive, are harder to deal with. I just work at ignoring them. People selling necklaces and such are also too persistent. After several polite "no thank you," I tell them I’m trying to be polite. But I say it in a way that lets them know, I’m over being polite so they need to stop, and they do. Neither the beggars or the hawkers are scary, they just make me feel bad about the differences between the richer and poorer countries. There may be no other way to earn a living than begging or selling trinkets to tourists.
On top of all of that worry about the world’s inequities, I now have to worry about my Sox who are, as I type this, only 5 games ahead of the Yanks. I desperately need a new lucky charm, one that actually works.
I bought a magazine called expat, and after looking at it, I’m beginning to think we are in a not so interesting part of the Philippines. The whole Subic/Olongapo gets about 3 pages in the Rough Guide. Most of the listings are restaurants and hotels. But with the boat occupying Randal, and no Lillian or Sallie to travel with, I really haven’t seen all that is here. For us, this is more a stop on the way to someplace else. It is part of life on a boat, but not so fun as vacation. I’m not complaining. For me now, a blah day on the boat is better than a good day at work! The local church is going to have a parade and festivities on the 16th at 9am so I’ll go see that if the weather isn’t awful. And a large open market will be held every Saturday across from the Yacht Club starting this Saturday, so that will be fun. I’ll send photos from both.
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It’s monsoon season. It rained all day yesterday. Weather forecasts predict rain through the 13th! Today is the morning of August 9th! At some point today I will go for a walk, just for some exercise. It’s warm and there is no thunder and lightning now. We had that last night and gusting winds. But that’s why they locate marinas in protected bays. So we’re fine, just soggy outside, dry inside. Randal went through 3 sets of clothes yesterday while he and Gilbert, our Filipino boat helper, worked on our boat and also helped the Nagles bring David Ellis back from the nearby boat yard where it had some bottom work. But then engine room makes a great clothes drying room.
Randal’s second set of wet clothes. I have my own set now. I did walk this morning. The weather had cleared for a bit so I walked to the National Bookstore and Royal Market for a few things and some exercise. I prefer walking in the rain and wind rather than biking in the rain and wind. It might be a mile to the Royal, if that far. But I did carry back a package of printer paper, milk, and the essential box of brownie mix among other things. I also bought John Irving’s A Widow for One Year and a magazine called expat about life in the Philippines. With all of the rain I thought I might need more reading material that was just fun. We can watch TV at night. During the day the English language channel isn’t in English. Some of the shows we get are Grey’s Anatomy, What About Brian, Gilmore Girls, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, KyleXY, Smallville, CSI, Brothers and Sisters. Since I have missed so much tv in the past year all of these rerun shows are mostly new to me. I don’t watch them all, but I actually like Gilmore Girls and Ugly Betty and Brothers and Sisters and am only now starting to watch Grey’s Anatomy and Brothers and Sisters. Prime time starts at 8:30 pm. I usually last through one or two shows depending. Some boats at our dock have cable hook ups that work. Our end of the dock doesn’t work. Anyway….
We are in the Philippines to have additions and a few corrections to the boat. That means things are a bit chaotic on the boat while this is happening. The combination of inside being a mess and outside (weather) being a mess is, well, messy! But eventually the boat will be back together again and the weather will clear.
The galley was back to normal by the end of the day. And so will the rest of the boat, eventually.
My Red Sox are giving me a bit of a scare these days. They don’t usually do well on the west coast, but they have to this time, the Yankees are doing great. But luckily the Yankees lost today so even though the Sox are losing their 3rd game to the LA Angles, it won’t be as bad as it could be. And I am not wearing those "unlucky" red beads so this is not my fault.
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I didn’t stop at the big Public Market because I had been the day before and loaded up, too heavily for my back pack, with fruit and veggies. This was a bike ride to take photos and not to buy food. I rode around the Market and followed some side streets that were wide and well populated so felt very comfortable being alone. All roads eventually lead to Rizal Avenue which goes through the heart of Olongapo. Rizal was a Filipino hero and I am reading his main work, Touch Me Not, written between 1882 and 1887.
You can read about Apo by searching Olongapo and name in google or at the Olongapo City Museum web site I listed on an earlier post.
Actually I need a part 3 to finish off the bike ride…..
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I’ve discovered a whole other part of Olongapo City.
About the boy on the bike pictures… After the group of boys started chatting away to me about photos. I left! I wasn’t really worried, but since I had taken their photos without permission, I figured they had a ligitimate gripe, if they did. I think they were really just flattered and curious, but since I was alone, and because they were teenage boys and not girls, I left. Odd because if they had been girls I would have taken more photos and talked to them. Sad state of affairs that we fear teenage boys we don’t know. Or at least I do. Did? And I was still on the main road…silly me. I just didn’t want to attract lots of attention and be a local celeb as I seemed to be in China.
I explored a bit more along the Gordon Avenue which bends around a curve and becomes East 20th Street and becomes part of the big Public Market area on Rizal Avenue. Those photos and "the Apo head monument" in part 2. Apo was the man the city is name for. Olongapo.
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