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Manila

Manila is a fascinating city. The hustle and bustle of this place is almost overwhelming, and yet, among the fast-pace movement is this calm and pleasant happiness that is shown by the people. I don't ever remember having so much hospitality. It seems everywhere we go there are not only one, but multiple people asking how they can help.

Today we went to the national art museum, the children's playground, and the Greenbelt mall. The art museum had many different genres of paintings, but what I enjoyed the most were the people depicted in the pictures, all of Filipino decent, versus the very European artwork we typically see in the states. There were also a lot of vibrant colors in some of the pictures which were so beautiful.

We next headed to a nearby park - name of which I cannot remember off hand, sorry. The smell of "summer" weather, green grass, palm trees, and sun was AMAZING. It was about 75-80 degrees today which is just about perfect for me! Caleb spotted a playground that was put off until we could all have lunch.

Lunch was at the restaurant Max, where they specialize in fried chicken. Caleb had the fried chicken, which was very good by the way (I sneaked a taste), while Jon and I tried traditional lumpia and pancit. We had the lumpia two ways, fried and fresh (aka:not-fried), both of which we agreed we liked the fried lumpia better. The lumpia looked kind of like an egg-roll, but inside is part of the coconut tree root along with chicken and pork. The pancit I had was excellent. There are a couple different pancits and you can tell the difference by the noodle. I will have to try my hand at making some soon.

The children's playground followed lunch where Caleb quickly made a friend, Alexandria, and ran around until he was sweating. This playground was fantastic. I kept thinking, "you'd never see this in the states," and then I would think "but why not!?!?" It was almost like a sculpture garden of fantastic sizes. Caleb ran into, climbed up, or slid down numerous concrete formations of dinosaurs, Mother Hubbard's boot, a hippo, monkey bars, tree roots, and may others. We had to pay to get into this playground, and it was the best 75cents I've ever spent!

We were exhausted by the end of the park. Caleb was obviously tired, everyone could tell except for him! Tried to get him to lay down and sleep in the car ride back to the hotel but no such luck. The car ride back was probably 45 minutes - of TERROR! Oh my goodness people, I have never seen such crazy driving in my life! And our driver looks so relaxed about it all. People weave in and out of traffic with no thoughts as to what is next to them, people are weaving in and out of the cars on foot, with bikes, with strollers, on motorcycles...I'm telling you, it is hard not to cringe every 10 seconds.
But somehow I saw no accidents on the road and we made it back to the hotel without being crushed. We took a short rest and then headed to the Greenhills shopping center which is literally across the street from our hotel. We stopped at a book store and got some kids book in tagalog and a map of Davao, then went to dinner at a nice restaurant where Caleb promptly fell asleep as soon as we had just ordered him supper. Jon and I enoyed the food though, even if I felt like I might pass out too...

And that is where I leave you now. My eyes are glazed over! And for some reason the pictures are refusing to upload anything more than these two pictures. Ack. So, above is a picture of us at the art museum with a famous Filipino painting. And here is a picture of a gas station that I found interesting. First it is a Shell Station - there are a TON of companies here that can be found in the States - for instance, we also went to McDonald's for Caleb's breakfast today and two 7-eleven's in order to buy bottled water. K, back to the picture, notice how the pumps are hanging from the ceiling!?! And check out the dyipni (pronounce jeep-nee) on the left (old WWII jeeps that have been transformed into public transportation).


Tomorrow, hoping for some pictures because we plan to see a volcano! Fun!

Ok, good night. 
In Christ,
Mara

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