* Mangoes Anyone?

We have a big mango tree in our back yard.  For a while now the mangoes have been falling from the tree, hitting the roof of the house with explosive bangs and then hitting the ground, only to go to waste because they are split open and bruised.  We were just going to inquire about hiring someone to harvest them when our landlady sent a couple guys over to do it for us (for a nominal fee).  Here are some pictures and the results of their work.

The Tree

The Mangoes

Some of the wasted ones.  :~(

To pick the mangoes one of the men climbed the tree with a long pole that had a net on the end.  He would sit in different parts of the tree and reach what he could, drop them into the basket he had with him, and then lower the basket when it was full to the ground by the attached rope.

Reaching for some

Got 'em!  (See them in the net?)

The Fruits of the Harvest

As you can see there are too many for us!  We brought some to Bible Study to give away.  And we have been feasting on melt-in-your mouth sweetness every day.  Yum! Yum!

* Travels To Gabaldon

We thought we would have seen it all by now, but here are some new sights from our trip this past weekend to Gabaldon (where Rev. Kleyn preaches and teaches once, and sometimes twice, a month).  Notice how dry the countryside is.  We haven't had rain to speak of since we moved 4 months ago.  Another month or so to go before we are out of the dry season.  And yes, it's as hot as it looks, too!

Mt. Arayat (not Ararat!)

A Dry Riverbed

Just Enough Water for Laundry and a Dip

A Good Sized Load

One Of Our Pit Stops

"Fill 'er Up"

Nipa Hut - What a Beautiful Spot!

Bro. Lando & Sis. Liwanag, Dan, Jiro, Princess
(Lunch and Fellowship at the Evangelista's Home)

Melonie, Princess, Abigail

Bro. Rustico and Bro. Lando with .... (There are giants in the land!)
Discussing the April Conference, in Manila on April 29 & 30

Ready for Harvest

Threshing the Rice

Drying it on the Roads
(Like the old toilet guarding it?)

Rice, Rice, and more Rice

Time to Bag It Again

Ready to Haul

Flock of Sheep

Crabs for Sale

Some Boys along the Roadside


Traveling to Market

A Loaded Tricycle
(Is there room for a few more?)

Other Side of the Same Trike

Lunch Break (for the horses too)

The Rice is Dry - Heading Home

The Day's Work is Done

* Flora & Fauna

Lilies in our Yard



Spider (Anyone know what kind?)

Can you name these next three for us?

[Thanks for the help! The first two are different varieties of Plumeria (more commonly known as Frangipani)]


Another Strange Species Found on the Island

See the Monkey?

Philippine Cow (Bull)

Our Loaded Mango Tree

        By the Pacific Ocean in Dingalan 

                                    Brahminy Kite
                                 (Also known as the Red-backed Sea-eagle)

* RC "Holy Week"

"Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God."  Exodus 20:3-5.

We could hear the beginning of the Roman Catholic holy week from our house on Saturday night (March 27).  Around 8:00 at night some singing/chanting began over some loudspeakers.  We hear noise and music so often here that at first we didn't pay it much attention.  But soon we realized it was the same 10 line tune being sung over and over without a break.  The words were Tagalog and it continued without abatement through the night.  When it was still going in the morning, Daniel looked it up on the web.  It's called Pabasa and is the singing of the Passion of Christ.  Several centuries ago someone wrote the story in Tagalog and put it to a tune.  If the whole thing is sung it can take up to 3 days.  Happily this must have been a shortened version, because it was finished by the time we got home from church that Sunday evening.  We played our Psalms to drown it out.

Some other activities or "good works" related to holy week are visiting churches, doing the stations of the cross, and going on pilgimages.  Our landlady, who is catholic, told me that she took a bus trip with the people of their parish to visit all the churches in Bataan province (14 of them).  Each neighborhood has its own stations of the cross set up.  People make their way from one to the next, praying at each.

A Station of the Cross in our Subdivision

There are 14 Stations Altogether
(Each marks a spot on Jesus' way to the cross)

Thursday afternoon and evening thousands of people walked past our subdivision in a pilgrimage to the Antipolo Catholic church.  We went down to watch for a while and counted about 400-450 people coming by every 2 minutes.  Some were carrying crosses and images, and many were barefoot.  Although we didn't see it, there are also those who flagellate themselves as they walk.

The Pilgrimage to the RC Church in Antipolo

Notice the Image

We went for a drive Friday morning to see what we could.  There were still hundreds of people in Antipolo, and hundreds walking back home out of Antipolo, as well as lots of packed buses, jeepneys and tricycles.

Pilgrims Returning Home on Friday Morning

Walking and Riding Tricycles

Loaded Jeepneys

Some Taking the Bus Home

Friday is a day of mourning to mourn the fact that God is dead!  Because of that they feel it's not safe to go out.  All the shops are closed and most people stay at home.  Friday night we saw a funeral procession for "Jesus."  All the people were carrying candles, there were large images of "Mary" (some weeping), and lit up glass coffins with the "body of Jesus" in them.  Saturday is called Black Saturday and is still a day of mourning, but the shops are open again.

For other acts of penance, we have been told that in some neighborhoods altars are set up.  People go from altar to altar to lie on them and get whipped.  In one of the provinces here they even have crucifixions.  People volunteer themselves to be crucified.  (They get tetanus shots before they are nailed to the cross, and they are taken down before they die.)  According to the web there is one man who has done it 20 some years in a row.  The Catholic church says they discourage this particular practice, but they do tell their people to try to feel the sufferings of Christ.

"But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 15:57).