Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, October 24, 2011

24 October 2011

  • Callao Cave

    Callao Cave entrance

    Callao Cave

    An opening in Callao Cave

    Magandang hapon!‏

    6:21 AM
    Well, sounds like everybody is still alive over there so thats always a good thing. This morning we woke up at the crack of dawn again to go to Callao Caves. I might even be a morning person by the time I get back-how insane would that be?! Well, I guess with the time difference I would still be a night person so I'm still safe. The cave was pretty sweet. It is definitely the biggest cave I've been in. It also had several open chambers of light coming in from the top so that was neat. There is usually a bunch of bats in there but we didn't see any. Its about a 40 minute tricy ride from Tuguegarao, and since there were so many of us, I stood on the back the whole time. Our record on one tricy is 10 people including the driver.
    One thing I'm still getting used to here is how early they start celebrating Christmas. For about a month now, I have been listening to christmas music and some people even have a few lights and decorations,but only the richer people can afford them. Its not even Halloween yet! Another weird thing-they celebrate Haloween on the 1st of November instead of Oct. 31st.
    Last week was zone meeting so we all had a little interview with the president. Each time I talk to him, the more I realize how awesome he is. He is very chill and easygoing, and his philosophy about all the little rules (sunglasses, music, going to do fun things on P day, etc) is that if you feel like it will distract from your image and purpose as a missionary, then don't do it. Other than that, there aren't too many rules. It's just up to us to decide for ourselves what is best. He also said how sometimes (about once every blue moon) he writes and calls parents back home just to say hi. He is very loving. And Sister Carlos is a good cook, so thats an extra bonus. Haha
    Yesterday at church there was a primary presentation. The ones here are just as entertaining as the ones at home-kids screaming into the mic, dancing around, pulling faces, sloppy dress, etc. I'm still getting used to how relaxed the meetings are here. Elder Tangi and I are usually in the Priests quorum, but they all left before it started so we just stayed in the Elders Quorum with a bunch of old guys and they just talked the whole time-no lesson. Then afterwards we're supposed to have our missionary coordination meeting, but for whatever reason that was cancelled. Hymns here are interesting-I'll just say that all of the wards back home I've been to sound like the MoTab compared to here.
    I'm hoping that one of these days our neighbor will have some of their chickens and yiping dog for dinner because I can't remember the last time I've had a full nights rest. Chickens here squawk at all hours of the day and night. Luckily its not a big problem because I can fall back asleep really easily. I wish I was talented enough to be like dad and shove an entire ear plug into my ear drum.
    Sounds like another fun weekend of stomping through the fall colors and watching the wildlife. The only big wildlife I see are water buffalo and cows. And instead of fall colors, I get to walk through coconut, bananna, and mango trees. Beat that! Haha. Unfortunately, I don't think the mangoes are in season right now, and I have yet to see some bananas on the trees that I walk past. Not sure if they have a growing season too or if everyone else picks them before I get to them.
    Thats cool Kyle is actually doing real stuff now. I'm sure he could come here and find some people to practice on too. I see people all the time with big bunions and interesting looking toenails. Everybody wears the cheap kind of flip flops so I'm sure nobody has any arch in their foot.
    Have a blast at the depositions this week. I've already been there done that! Be ready to answer the same question phrased in 500 different ways.
    Well, other than the caves, nothing too exciting. Just very busy averaging about 7 appointments per day. It makes the time go by very quickly.
    Happy B-day to B on his B-day this week. He's still my favorite brother in law! Haha. Happy being married for another year too! Glad to see we havn't scared him off yet. :) Happy being married another year to Bill and Carol too! Thanks for the updates each week.
    Mahal Kita,
    Elder Nay

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011


    Heavily loaded tricy

    Elder Nay

    Awe - he's just a little guy!

    rice paddy

    sweet ride Elder Nay!

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    17 October 2011

  • sunrise 17 Oct 2011


    Magandang hapon!‏

  • Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2011 13:14:49

    Good to hear from everyone! Glad everything is going well, as always. This morning we woke up at 5 in order to do our laundry before we left to go to some caves near Tuguegarao. It takes about 2 and a half hours to do laundry-and that is just the whites. We take our colors in  to a place to save us some time. Up until 2 years ago, the missionaries were able to pay Nanay members to do their laundry, cook a couple of meals, and clean up the place a bit. Apparently it was making the missionaries lazy, so now it is forbidden in the Philippines. Too bad! Haha. Just as we got to Tuguegarao, we found out the person that was going to take us on their tricy is busy today and can't take us in. So, kind of a waste of waking up early but I guess its nice to be ahead of schedule a little. We woke up to the most beautiful sunrise I've ever seen, so that was cool. But then again, I'm never up early enough to ever see sunrises so for all I know they could always be great. Hopefully next week the caves will work out.
    In case you were wondering, it hasn't gotten any colder over here. The last couple of days have been the hottest and sweatiest days yet. Yesterday I was sweating just from stepping outside to tie my shoes for 1 minute. My sweat rags are definitely being put to good use. I know just because I said this, I'm going to get some profound advice from people that love me and tell me to drink plenty of liquids. What a wonderful idea! 
    I have been taking some of my shirts in to have the sleeves refitted so they aren't so baggy and down to my elbows. Its only about 25 pesos per shirt (about 50 cents), so I figured why not. Hopefully instead of having a farmers tan down to my elbow, I'll have it at mid arm. I am also having another pair of pants made. With fabric and labor, I can have it done for 350 pesos (about 9 bucks)-and its personally measured/tailored. I can get used to these prices! Its also nice when we go to eat out at some place and get a decent meal for only 1 or 2 US dollars. 
    This week was a great week for missionary work! We had appointments pretty much every hour every day, and next week is looking like it will be the same. That means we don't spend very much time tracting. It just depends on the week-the first few weeks I was here there was quite a bit of tracting. We have been getting several referrals from members so that has been helping a lot. Yesterday, we had 8 investigators at sacrament meeting. Elder Tangi and I went around to pick up some of them while we assigned some other members to pick up the others. When I say pick up, I mean walk to their place and get them to walk with us to the church. I wish we had a tricy! 
    Some of our investigators are awesome (they're all awesome ofcourse, some are just more awesome than others, haha). Boboy went from smoking 2 packs a day to zero cigarettes. Now we are just hoping it stays that way long enough for him to get baptized. He's been an investigator for several months here. Some new investigators that we've only taught twice now-Peter and Ian-have been very interested and asked us how they could know for themselves if it was true. What a great question! Haha I was more than delighted to tell them. They have been best friends since growing up and both had a dream about how Jesus appeared to them and pushed them in a fire because they needed to repent. They said that when they woke up, it took them a second to realize that they weren't actually on fire because the dream was so vivid. Must be one of those "night visions" you were talking about.
    Well thats about it! Oh, if you could send me just a few good FHE ideas to do with members that would be nice. Some cheezy little games and analogies, little tricks, etc. Maraming salamat po!
    Mahal Kita,
    Elder Nay

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    10 October 2011

  • P-day fun!

    Magandang hapon!‏

  • Kamusta!
    Well, the typhoon that was supposed to come last week never came. Bummer, I was just getting used to them! But instead of a typhoon, it just rained for about 24 hours straight. It makes it kind of annoying because it made huge puddles all over the place, leaving me to use my cat-like reflexes and ninja skills to dodge the deep parts. I figured out that if I stand on my toes with my gore tex shoes on, I get an extra inch or so of water protection. Bill-you're welcome to truck some of the water here to Texas to help out with the drought. Crazy stuff going on in the world! 
    Wasn't conference pretty awesome?! Haha it was really weird knowing it was a week behind. It was also really weird to see so many white people in one place. I forgot what that is like. Luckily for me, it was all in English. It kind of surprises me sometimes how much english is used here instead of Tagalog. Most of the signs and food labels are in english too. In Church, people use English whenever they can, sometimes entire talks are in English. Most people can understand the basics and when it is spoken slowly, but I'm pretty sure not too many people understood much of what was said in conference. On the other hand, I can understand Tagalog when it is spoken slowly and in basics. People seem to speak really fast for me and I often find myself trying to pick out just one word in a sentence, but I can't tell where a word starts and stops because it all just meshes together. It gets frustrating when I spit out a sentence and they just look at me in confusion, then Elder Tangi repeats exactly what I said and then they understand. Later I'll ask him what was wrong with my sentence and he says, "Nothing." Its just my strong American accent. Sometimes people understand my english better than my Tagalog! Its coming though. Slow and steady. People still say I am already better than most people that have already been here for several months, so that is encouraging. It is cool to see how the gift of tongues works when I am in lessons and I can understand most of everything that is said during the lesson, but as soon as the conversation is shifted towards everyday stuff I get lost. 
    My toe has healed remarkably fast. It is definitely one of the many ways the Lord looks after his Servants. It barely hurts at all and scabbed over just after a couple of days. Definitely not as long and painful as I was anticipating it to be. 
    One of the cool things that happened last week was when we had a 16 year old member working with us for a couple hours and he had (and still has) several referrals for us. Referrals are definitely more effective than walking blindly hoping someone will let you teach them. One of the referrals he had was with a family of 5 (ranging from little kids to 19), then as we sat down and started talking to them, several of their friends came in to listen so we were teaching 9 people at once. They all agreed to a return appointment too, so that was even better! 9 new investigators in one sitting isn't too bad. This next week is going to be crazy. We have appointments everyday at all hours except for just a couple. On Tuesday/Wednesday morning I get to be in a 3 sum in Tuguegarao because E. Tangi has a training in Cauayan. The other 2 elders I will be with are newbies too, so that should be fun. Fortunately one of them is a fillipino that also speaks very good english. 
    Mom-nope, no transfer. Which I am just fine with seems how I have barely been here a month! That was a weird 3 week transfer because the Manila MTC is being shut down for a couple weeks for rennovation, so there isn't going to be any transfer at the usual 6 week. Typically, we are in an area for at least 2 transfers. The main reason is because there has to be someone that knows the area to know where the investigators and members are because there really are no addresses here. Of course there are exceptions and it all depends on president, but thats the way it usually works. I know elders that have been in an area for 3-4 transfers. I will most likely be here until at least mid January. 
    I can't believe it has already snowed there! (snow is that white stuff that is really wet and cold, right?) I was able to see all of the pictures you sent, after waiting a couple minutes for them to load. I'm still used to the fast internet back home. Thats really exciting that Stu finally got an official offer in Salt Lake! That will be fun to have them closer. It doesn't surprise me that B. has already had several interviews-good for him! When does he find out/decide where he is going to school for sure? With the elk hunt, glad to see the tradition is carrying on with hunting for nothing but memories. Sounded cold though! I still can't believe how grown up Jenna has already gotten! I leave for just a couple months, and she is already responding to her name and sitting up?? I have a feeling I'm going to be blown away when I see her and Gracie when I get back. 
    Thats it for this week. Keep on keeping on! 
    Mahal Kita, 
    Elder Nay

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    3 October 2011

  • The drunk guy that made us eat

    My cut toe

    A frog in our outside cooking area - a typical site, especially after it rains

    Magandang Hapon!‏

  • Well, the 2 typhoons this week made it slightly interesting. It really wasn't as bad as I was expecting, I think Cabagan just got lucky. We saw news clips at people's houses of all the other flooding and destruction, but there is nothing like that here. It was just really windy all night and day and rained for about 24 hours straight. Cabagan is right next to the Cagayan river, which is the longest in the Philippines and some other river on the other side. Its kind of like we're on an island. They both rose really really high and was just inches from some people's houses. Not sure if any from our area got flooded out or not. I know in San Bernardo which is just across the river, there were houses floating away. But the biggest inconvenience for me and Elder Tangi was the brown outs and not being able to keep our drinks cold in the fridge. Luckily we didn't need the electric fan too bad because the temperature was actually really pleasant, it reminded me of the cool windy nights at home. There were several roads that were flooded out which made it kind of annoying for trying to get places. There is one more typhoon on wednesday so we'll see what that one brings. The gore tex shoes are coming in handy. Except some puddles are just too big that the gore tex doesn't do much good when the water flows over the top of them. I just gave up and wore my keens one day. 
    Saturday night I was walking around our apartment outside in my crappy flip flops that have no traction and when I stepped onto the smooth lanoleum/tile stuff on our porch, my sandals were wet and so my foot slipped out unexpectedly. In the process of catching my balance, my right big toe caught an edge of cement that was sticking up by a couple of centimeters. I thought I just jammed my toe at first, then I looked down and saw blood. Turns out I fillayed it open pretty good! It just ripped off the first couple layers of skin on the tip of my toe and now I have a raspberry about the size of my thumbnail. Its in a really annoying spot. Luckily it doesn't hurt when I walk, just if it gets bumped or when the bandaid heals to it and I rip it off. Its constantly oozing the watery clear stuff. Bandaids and antibiotic cream are my new best friend! Its really sensitive still and it will probably take several weeks to finally scab over and start to heal. I wish I could say I was fighting off a wild dog or something, but nope, just a wet sandal. Lame. 
    One funny thing that happened this week was while we were tracting a drunk guy came outside to invite us to have a few shots with him. We told him no thanks, and only if it was shots of water. When we started to walk away he grabbed my hand and started pulling it to his party (it was his birthday). I was following Elder Tangi's lead, and not wanting to offend him, he agreed to go up to his party to check it out. When we got to the table with all the beer and his buddies, we gave him a restoration pamphlet and started to walk away again. Then he insisted that we go inside to grab something to eat. Meanwhile, he's saying some funny stuff because he's drunk. He introduced us to all of his in laws and family and ordered them to get the food out for us becase we were his friends. I chose the safest looking food (the whole fish and chunks of some kind of meat with more fat and bone than edible meat didn't look too good), and it actually tasted pretty good. They also had some apples and some salad that tasted weird and really bland. After eating, we took our picture with him and left. And we gave out a pamphlet in the process! Unfortunately my stomach didn't seem to think the food was very good and woke up in the middle of the night  with some fun times on the toilet. Elder Tangi was fine though but we think it was the apples because thats the only thing that I ate that he didn't. 
    Thats cool that conference was good. Honestly, I forgot it was even happening until you mentioned it in your last email. Its not a really big thing here because everyone has to go to Tuguegarao which is about a 30-45 minute trip and about 70 pesos to get there and back, and most people can't afford to make trips like that. But we don't get to see it until this coming weekend because it would have been in the middle of the night, so they recorded it. 
    A little bit about some investigators: The Bacod family is our best ones. Its a young mom and dad with the cutest one year and a half old little girl. She started running around at 11 months (If you're really lucky Nat and Aimee, you too will have little menaces running around that early!) and always has a smile on her face. They want to get baptized and get married in the temple and have been taught just about every lesson, but the dad can't get any saturdays or sundays off of work. In order for anyone to be baptized in the Philippines, they have to attend church 4 weeks straight. He is hoping for a schedule change soon, but nothing yet. So it will be at least another month and a half before they are baptized. We have Tatay (anyone that looks like they are old enough to have kids is called Nanay/Tatay-pretty much just old people) Accad who is doing pretty well but can't give up coffee. We have a couple Tatay's that when we try to teach, it takes forever because they go off topic so much and ask really weird questions like 'what is God's name?'. We have a couple more but I am getting close to out of time.
    The new computer sounds pretty sweet. You were probably just waiting for me to leave before you get the cool stuff! haha. That should also be a fun learning curve for mom.
    Good luck with the elk hunt too. Hopefully you'll actually see something to shoot this time! Haha. 
    I tried to email a bunch of pictures, hopefully they work out. Mom should enjoy the one of my toe. 
    Have a good week!
    Mahal Kita, 
    Elder Nay
    P.S. Bill-I missed a letter this week about how hot it is in your end of the earth. I was just starting to see smoke until the typhoon blew it away. I'm still waiting for your money so I can afford to run my A.C.