Friday, August 31, 2007

History & Scenery

Got back late last evening from an overnight trip to the northwest coast of the island of Luzon. My Uncle Bob and Aunt Tonette and I traveled to the city of Vigan, an 16th century Spanish colonial town, famous for its well-preserved buildings. I'd compare it to Williamsburg in the U.S. It was a long drive up to Vigan from Manila -- about 6 - 7 hours -- but well worth it! We traveled through miles and miles of rice plantations, with gorgeous views of the central and northern mountain ranges and the China Sea off to the west. We must have passed through about a dozen small towns in the large province of Ilocos, from which my aunt comes. Blue skies, puffy white clouds, and temps in teh 80s made for perfect traveling weather.

We stayed overnight in the Plaza Hotel in Vigan, which itself is beautifully restored to its 18th century glory. We took a horse and buggy ride (called a "calesa") through the town, and stopped in to see the cathedral church, the archbishop's palace, and many other historical sites. Lots of little shops selling lovely handicrafts, especially wood carvings, pottery and weaving. Flilipinos, I am quickly learning, are tremendous artisans, and very proud of their work, rightfully so.

Back for a day of rest today, then off tomorrow (Sunday) for an overnight trip to the southern part of Luzon where my mother is from. More to see and do, and I'm soaking it all in!

I've got lots of photos, but Blogspot is being a little stubborn in not letting me post them. Stand by, and you'll see them soon, I hope!

Thanks for the comments! Keep 'em coming! I continue to remember you in my thoughts and prayers!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Long Journey and a Warm Welcome

After a long and relatively smooth 16-hour flight, I'm finally here in Manila, Philippines. It was hard for me to believe that I actually arrived, so long have I been planning for and looking forward to this trip. It was after 10pm when I arrived, so I didn't get to see much of Manila as my Uncle Bob and Aunt Tonette drove me to their home for my week-long stay with them. They have a nice home in Quezon City, which is just outside of Manila. They and my cousins and second cousins have been treating me ROYALLY thus far.

I used this first day to lie low and get over jetlag. Hard for the system to adjust when there is exactly 12 hours difference between Cleveland and Manila. But, my mid-day sleepyness will pass, I'm sure. I've been playing a lot with my second cousins, Franciso (aka, "Kiko") and Francesca (aka, "Chesca"). They're 8 and 5 years old respectively, full of questions and loaded with tons of energy. It's been good to re-connect with their mom (my cousin Tina) and her husbandR oque. as well as my other cousin Aurora and her husband Carlos and their 4-year old twin sons Andre and Joquin, and their 8-month old daughter Maria.
Got that all straight? It's going to take me a while to keep straight which child belongs to which cousin of mine, but I'll manage.

I'm off to Vigan tomorrow with my aunt and uncle for an overnight siite-seeing tour. I'll be sure to include photos of the historical sites I see in my next update of this blog. Thanks for checking in! Stay well, and thanks for the thoughts and prayers!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Welcome to Fr. Guiao's blog!

Glad you're checking in! This is a new venture for me, but I'm excited to share my experiences in the Philippines as I pursue my Jesuit tertianship.

I'll try to update this blog weekly, filling you in on my adventures, travels, insights, and experiences along the way.

Thanks for keeping me in your prayers. Count on mine for you!

Check back often!