Our Philippines Trip: The Story

Our Philippines Trip: The Story
Philippines Trip: Day 1
Philippines Trip: Day 2
Philippines Trip: Day 3
Philippines Trip: Day 4
Philippines Trip: Day 5
Philippines Trip: Day 6
Philippines Trip: Day 7 (Part 1)
Philippines Trip: Day 7 (Part 2)
Philippines Trip: Day 7 (Part 3)
Philippines Trip: Day 7 (Part 4)
Philippines Trip: Day 8 (Part 1)
Philippines Trip: Day 8 (Part 2)
Philippines Trip: Day 9
Philippines Trip: Day 10
Philippines Trip: Day 11 (The End)

We just got back from a trip to the Philippines about two months ago. I know I haven’t posted in forever, but it’s easy to forget all of the little details about a trip so I wanted to write the details down and share our trip with whomever still actually follows our dying blog. :) I already have about six posts worth of information and pictures done so be ready for a flood of posts.

Why in the world did we choose the Philippines out of all of the places in Asia (and the world) we could have visited? There’s a story behind it and it started way back in 1976…

See that twenties-something blonde guy? That’s my dad. After graduating from Kansas State University and not quite sure if he was ready to make the jump into corporate America, my dad and his close friend decided to spend six months in the Philippines helping Jared (pictured above to the right of my dad) and Marilee Barker, Christian missionaries who had started a school on the island of Mindanao. My dad taught P.E. and agriculture and helped the missionaries and the Filipino people in any way he could while he was there. His experience in the Philippines impressed him so much that from the time he met my mom a few years later, he told her he wanted to take his (then non-existent) family back to the Philippines someday.

Over the years, a dear friend from the Philippines, Felipe, (who is closely tied to the Barker family mentioned above) would come to the U.S. and stay with us every couple of years or so. He, too, is a missionary and would come here to raise funding and spend time with us. We have grown to love him like family and has seen me and my younger brothers grow up. We wanted to spend time with him and his family in his home and in his culture.

Felipe is also known for his ability to play the leaf! Check out this video of him playing the leaf from about five years ago.

Ever since I could remember, my parents tried to make a family trip to the Philippines happen. Around the year 2000, my family was in a place where we could visit. However, Felipe and the Barkers advised against our trip because of the increased tensions between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on the island of Mindanao. (Even now, the MILF has caused friction with the AFP, but it comes in waves of intensity).

As my three younger brothers and I started to get older, the thought of a family Philippines trip seemed further out of reach. However, about a year ago when Felipe was visiting us from the Philippines, he expressed to Tyler (my husband and a videographer by profession) a need for a short video about his ministry. Tyler and I are always up for any traveling so we started talking about taking a trip there to help Felipe, to visit the Barkers, and to see the Philippines (oh, and to check Asia off of my list of continents to visit!). We mentioned our tentative plans to my parents to see if they, by an off chance, could come with us. Coincidentally during this time, my parents were in the process of selling their house. Since they were downsizing, they were able to set aside some of the money from the sale of their house to cover the cost of their trip as well as the expenses of my two younger brothers who are still living at home. That only left my oldest younger brother and his wife in question.

Since my oldest younger brother, Taylor, is in chiropractic school, it seemed a little hopeful that he could come up with the needed funds for the trip and, secondly, find a time off of school to make the trip. To make a long story shorter, Taylor and his wife were able to come up with the needed funding for their trip thanks to the help of supporters.

Even with everyone’s limited availability between school and work, we were able to set aside August 16th – August 26th for the trip. (Ideally we would have stayed at least two weeks though). We didn’t purchase airline tickets until mid-June so even though we’ve been talking about our trip for more than a year, we weren’t even quite sure we were really going until just a few months beforehand. Tyler’s dad (my father-in-law) and my cousin also know Felipe and were able to go with us. So what started out as a group of two quickly turned to a group of six, then eight, then ten!

We never got a shot of just the group that visited from the U.S., but here is a shot that everyone in our group is in:

Here’s a group shot minus two people who had already went to bed plus the family we stayed with:

The trip turned out to be different than we all expected. We were going to the Philippines with the main goal of helping Felipe and the Barkers in any way we could. We were hoping to accomplish something tangible, like helping with a construction project or helping in the rice fields. The whole time we were there they treated us like queens and kings. They fed us about every two hours. They took us to the mall. They took us ziplining. They took us out to eat. They took us to meet a city mayor… we weren’t expecting to do anything remotely “touristy”. I think we all felt and still feel a little guilty about it, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. We were able to learn about the Filipino culture, spend time with the important people in Felipe and the Barkers’ lives, and share whatever trivial knowledge we have about organizing, hair and makeup, chiropractic, photography, and sports with the students and people we met. I have to keep telling myself that just because something isn’t tangible or doesn’t feel important, doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable.

So that’s the story behind our trip. 

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