Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Slight Change In Plans.

According to the shipping company's website, we have balikbayan boxes in Manila waiting to be shipped here to us in Sibulan. No word, as yet, on the shipment coming from the second company. When we were in the U.S., my wife and I used two different companies to ship the balikbayan boxes, and the old adage about getting what you pay for is certainly holding up in this particular case.

One company, LBC Express, is a bit higher priced. $105 per box verses $75 per box with Continental, however, I'm convinced now that the difference in price is worth it.

Even though the LBC shipment was sent after the Continental, the LBC shipments are arriving ahead of the other. We cannot even track the Continental shipment. A friend in the States, who shipped her boxes via Continental the same time we did,says her boxes are in Manila. We're assuming ours are as well, though I can't understand why they haven't been delivered.

Inside one of the LBC boxes, placed inside a steel-toed boot, are garden seeds. We've been anxiously awaiting their arrival. But now, as it turns out, we might not have a location to plant the seeds. I dug up a little area beside the house where I can plant a few bell pepper and tomato plants, but we no longer have access to the larger plot where we had hoped to plant the cantaloupe, watermelons and the assorted varieties of squash.

My wife's father has been a caretaker of sorts on a piece of property belonging to a Filipino who had immigrated to the United States years ago. Unfortunately, the property has finally been sold and it will only be a matter of time before he and my wife's mother will have to vacate.

Not only will we not have the larger plot for our vegetable garden, but we'll have to find a new home for the pigs. Most of the piglets will be sold off before they have to leave the property, but the sow and the piglet my wife and I wanted to slaughter when it was big enough, will have to be relocated.

There is a small piece of land behind our house which belongs to my wife's cousin. This particular parcel is vacant and we're hoping the cousin will allow us to put a garden there. Unfortunately, it isn't a suitable location for raising pigs.

So, it appears that the LBC shipped boxes will arrive relatively soon. Once I begin in earnest on the gardening, I'll take photos. I'm sure everyone is excited about that.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Let Them Eat....Huh......Pork.

Philippines is overwhelmingly a Christian country, with more than 85% of the population being Christian. The vast majority of Filipinos are Catholic - the breakdown being 80% Catholic with a little more than 5% of the population being non-Catholic Christians. The number of non-Catholics in the country is almost equal to the number of Muslims in Philippines.

In spite of the fact that Muslims make up a tiny minority, tomorrow is a holiday here because it is Eid al Fitr - the ending of Ramadan fasting.

There will be no school tomorrow, in the secular or Catholic schools.

Far be it from me to tell Filipinos what days they can celebrate as holidays, but I, for one, intend to celebrate the day by eating pork during at least one meal tomorrow.

Oh yeah, and probably drink a beer as well.

It's just my own little contribution.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mass Confusion

Catholics and Protestants, and the nature of their particular church services, are very different. I know it's no longer politically correct to state that once obvious fact and I also know such a statement will not go over well with that group Michael Voris calls the "church of nice". But, never the less.........

The Catholic Mass can be divided into the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It is the Liturgy of the Eucharist which most separates us from Protestants and I consider the latter to be the most important part of the Mass.

Protestant services do not celebrate the Eucharist. Their services, for that reason, wouldn't be either Liturgy of the Eucharist or even Liturgy of the Word, but simply put, only words - sometimes profound, though often not.

Even though the Liturgy of the Eucharist is the more important of the two - what could possibly be more important than receiving the body and blood of Jesus Christ?- I would not go as far as to say the Liturgy of the Word is unimportant.

It is difficult finding a Mass in English here. Often I go to Mass strictly for the Eucharist. As I've mentioned before, the readings for any particular day can be found on the USCCB website in both textual and audio formats. Knowing I'll probably not be able to follow along at a Mass in Sibulan, I'll read the texts for the day before going to the church.

When this slow Internet allows be to do so, I'll go to the word on fire website to listen to Father Robert Barron's homily. Unfortunately, the slow connection all too frequently prevents me from doing this.

It took longer than 30 minutes last evening, but I was finally able to download Fr. Barron's 14 minute homily.

This morning, we went to Mass at 8:30 when, we were told, we'd hear the Mass in English. That wasn't completely true. The readings were given in English, but between the accents and the less than adequate PA system, I was glad that I had read today's readings last night.

When the priest was speaking, he was able to overcome the poor PA. But, sadly, his homily wasn't totally in English. He switched back and forth from Visayan to English and back again, making it very difficult getting anything worthwhile out of the homily.

Next week, some time before Sunday Mass, I will go to an Internet cafe and print copies of next Sunday's reading to help JP and me follow along properly. I think my son is being deprived more, spiritually, than I am from this situation regarding the language used in the Mass; I can always take advantage of the web, but unless we do it for him, he'll not have the same exposure to the Church's teachings.

Before arriving here, I believed that I'd be attending Mass every day. So far, my having to take JP to school has prevented me from going to St. Anthony of Padua for the daily Mass. Tomorrow, I'll try to head to Dumaguete, after taking him to school, for the Mass at the Cathedral.

Will it be in English? I'll find out the answer to that tomorrow.
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