Sunday, July 26, 2009

About my mission!

Here's some information I've gathered about the Philippines Baguio mission (Of course it's all second-hand information as of yet, but I've been trying to do my research so I'll have a little bit of an idea of what I'll be hopping into in a few months!)

In Asia, the Philippines is known as "the Pearl of the Orient." Baguio city is located in the Northern Luzon (the main island of the Philippines). It is very different from the rest of the Philippines because it is high in elevation, up in the mountains. The altitude is approximately 5100 ft above sea level (so not too much different from Mt. Pleasant). Baguio is nicknamed the "Summer Capital of the Philippines" because it's where everyone likes to go to get a break from the heat in other parts of the Philippines. Baguio is 8 degrees cooler on the average than any place in lowlands. Perpetual springtime! I'm definitely a fan of that. Needless to say, tourism is one of Baguio's main industries. The name of the city is derived from the word bagiw (in Ibaloi) which means 'moss'. Baguio is called "The City of the Pines" and is located in a moist tropical pine forest conducive to the growth of mossy plants and orchids. I also found out that the word bagyo in Tagalog means 'typhoon'- which is fitting because it is extremely rainy there. Baguio gets the largest amount of rainfall in the country. (it's a good thing I loooove rain!) However from November to May (dry season) the climate in Baguio is a tropical paradise. Woweee! sign me up, I'm sooooo ready to go!

Okay now for the food: They grow lots of fruits and vegetables there. Baguio is known for being the main vegetable supplier in Luzon area. Lots of bananas, coconuts, mangoes and strawberries year-round. I've also heard they eat such things as fried beetles, fish heads, balut (duck embryo) and dog meat. And they eat lots of seafood and rice. Yum!

The language: Surprisingly, I heard that Ilocano--not Tagalog--is the predominant language in the city, so I'll probably get to pick up some of that in addition to Tagalog. But the national language, Filipino (Tagalog) is spoken by the majority. English is also widely spoken and understood by many, which is a nice little perk too :) Tagalog has a lot of similar words to Spanish (20%) due to several hundred years of Spanish rule in the country's history. But the language also has a lot of long repetitive words that sound Polynesian to me -- and it also seems to have some oriental sounds to it. One of my favorite words so far is the word for twenty: Dalawampu! And faith: Pananamapaya!

I've heard from other missionaries who served in the Philippines that I will probably be doing everything--showering, washing clothes etc. in a bucket. There also may be no electricity in some areas, especially during storms. I've heard that they sometimes have to study and teach lessons by candlelight. Yay, how adventurous is that! I always love it when the power goes out during storms at home. Oh boy!

The people are very sweet and humble and live simply. There are bamboo huts I think. I've heard that the culture is really big into Karaoke. The most dominant religion is Roman Catholic (80.4 percent). The city has a very young age structure with 65.5 percent of its total population younger than 30. The average number of children is 7.7, so I'll probably be teaching a lot of young children and families. Yay for that!

The time difference is 14 hours ahead of Utah time. So right now as I am typing this, it is already tomorrow in Baguio. Crazy!

Other fun facts:
--In the Philippines, over 70 languages are spoken.
--Filipinos know bananas. There are over 70 different varieties there, green, red, yellow, brown, and all shapes and sizes. So we from North America are probably banana deprived.
--The Filipinos use pesos and centavos for money. One American dollar = about 48 pesos.
--The yo-yo was invented in the Philippines!
--The Philippines is the world's third largest English-speaking nation. English was brought to the Islands by the British in 1762.
--Burping is a polite way to let people know you are full and satisfied with their cooking. (haha--just like in "The Other Side of Heaven" movie)