I am in the Philippines to preach at a district conference in Cagayan de Oro. There is a typhoon battering the northern part of the Philippines, but we should not be affected here in the south. This is the fourth time I have been in the Philippines and the eleventh time to visit Asia/Pacific. It took three flights to get from Austin to Manila for a total of 20 hours in the air not counting layovers: Austin to Detroit, 3 hours; Detroit to Nagoya, Japan, 13 hours; and Nagoya to Manila, Philippines, 4 hours. The 13-hour flight was a little troublesome, primarily due to the naughty child who sat behind me, screaming and kicking my seat for 13 hours. His parents said he was tired. I think he was . . . never mind.
I arrived in Manila around 11:00 p.m. and caught a cab to my hotel. I convinced the driver to stop at Jollibee so I could grab a burger. The hotel room was very nice, and the breakfast buffet the next morning was wonderful. After breakfast I took the hotel’s car back to the airport and caught a flight to Cebu where I was picked up by Kevin Vacca.
I have been hanging out at the Vaccas’ home for a few days. My son, Taylor, had originally planned to come with me, so I planned a few extra days for us to goof off. He was unable to come, so I am enjoying some down time with the Vaccas. The Vaccas have an amazing home on the coast. It is a modest house, so don’t think they live in a mansion, although I would not fault them if they did. Their home sits on a bluff on the national highway—a 2-lane road—across the street from the ocean. A series of steps leads up to their house, and the bluff has been terraced and landscaped like a dream garden. (The photo was taken from their front porch.) There is a guest house behind the main house, and this is where I am staying. Location, location, location.
The Philippines, like so many countries around the world, is filled with extreme contrasts. Shanties are built next to mansions. I rode with Brother Vacca today to get his driver’s license renewed. Women were on the roadside washing clothes in the standing rainwater. One man was washing used trash bags so they could be reused. The driver’s license office was on a side street, which was no more than an alley, lined with graves in concrete vaults stacked 4 or 5 high. Vendors sat in front of the vaults selling candles, food, and other miscellaneous items. When the vendors see white people in a vehicle, they are assumed to be Americans, and there is a special attempt made to market their wares. Dogs, goats, chickens, and dirty kids roam around. Most vehicles are 20 years old or more. Houses are made of whatever materials are available.
The Philippines boasts of the best mangos in the world, and Cebu boasts of the best mangos in the Philippines. Sister Vacca has made me two mango shakes so far. You would just have to have one to understand!
People are really the same wherever you go. Filipinos need God like everyone else. They too speak with tongues when they receive the Spirit, and they rejoice with exceeding great joy when their sins are washed away! And this is why I am here.
Tomorrow we fly to Cagayan De Oro for the conference. There will be fewer comforts there, and I may not have Internet access until I return to Manila.
© Rodney Shaw and rodneyshaw.wordpress.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rodney Shaw and rodneyshaw.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.