Wednesday, June 29, 2005

My welcome party

Here's a photo of some people from my welcome party (don't worry, there were many more there), from left to right: me, Emmanuel (a French volunteer), Fr Allan (the parish priest), Fr Terry and Sr Anne (a French missionary). It was a really nice evening, we are good food and sang Karaoke, Filipinos love to sing.

Me outside Manila Cathedral

Here's a photo of me outside Manila Cathedral, you'll see that I'm all covered up against the sun. The Cathedral is really beautiful, I've been there twice now. You wouldn't believe how many times it's been destroyed, if you read the list it sounds like a joke, it's something like six times. There have been earthquakes, fires and bombing.

Funeral of Cardinal Sin

Today I was blessed enough to attend the state funeral of Cardinal Sin at Manila Cathedral. This was a huge affair as he is a national hero here, having been instrumental in ousting two corrupt leaders, Marcos and Joseph Estrada. Sin was given a 21 gun salute and the funeral was attended by the president Gloria Arroyo, here first public appearance since the scandal over the tapes (if you don't know what I mean look in the news, I won't go into detail about it here, that's what CNN is for, LOL) broke. I was very excited to see her and also so many cardinals from all over asia and, don't ask me why, the Bishop of Los Angeles, California (!?). Amazingly, Fr Allan and I managed to get into the Cathedral (there were huge crowds outside) and because we sat in an area of the congregation reserved for clergy we actually had quite a good view. The liturgy was beautiful, although the music is very different here, a lot of worship songs, but I really enjoyed the first hymn: it was the plainchant setting of In Paradisum. We sang this several times and after each rendition the presifing Archbishop chanted invocations in Latin, which was really beautiful.
Other news, I start teaching tomorrow, I'll let you know how I get on. Please pray for me that it will be alright, I'm sure it will be fine as it's only 40 minutes teaching Grade 6 (last year of primary school) but I've never taught before so I'm a bit nervous. The children here are very respectful though, so I'm sure it will be ok. For instance, they always use the polite form of yes when speaking to elders.

Oh yes, I said that I would elaborate on my comments about how the parish is like its own town. The parish is a gated compound with two full time guards, it has its own primary school, parish office, credit office, tuck shop, youth centre, seperate adoration chapel, school office, computer centre and other things that I can't quite remember. I'll take some photos and publish them so you can get a feel for the completeness of the place. I only leave the parish when I go out in the car with Fr Allan, but that's quite often, don't think that I never leave.

Oh yes, I started learning Tagalog today, my teacher is really nice and very enthusiastic,

Ignat ka (take care)


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Greenbelt mall

Picture of a really beautiful mall we visited called Greenbelt, it blends nature and structures really effectively, I was very impressed.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Volunteering in the Philippines

I arrived in the Philippines last Wednesday and I'll be here for 10 months. I really like it here, the people are so friendly and helpful. I'm staying here as a Dominican volunteer living in a parish on the outskirts of Manila. This parish, however, is unlike any i've ever seen, it's like its own town. I'll fill in more about this tomorrow as it's getting late here.