Counting Down

It’s hard to imagine as I sit here in my kitchen, but tomorrow night I will be on a plane en route to the Philippines for my next volunteer construction project with Habitat for Humanity.

I’ll arrive in Manila 18 hour later, two days ahead of most of the 14-member team.

They are 13 hours ahead. Temperatures are ranging 95-100 degrees F.

Today it reached a sweltering 73 degrees in my town in Washington state. I’ve a bit of adjusting to do.

I will, however, have ample time to adapt over the next 1.5 months.

While I’m abroad I intend to find lodging after my Habitat project in Quezon City and use that as a base from which to tour the country. A friend told me QC is centrally located with decent public transportation, and, unlike Manila, it “has trees.” For some reason I find this comforting.

I plan to visit my mother’s home in Singalong, Manila, as well as my father’s birthplace in Pilar, Bataan (yes, as in the famous Death March). I have contact information for distant relatives around the country and a connection to the mayor of Pilar.

I will also look for additional volunteer opportunities. As an ambassador for ShelterBox, I hope to view first hand several of the ShelterBox tents distributed to 7,000 families affected by the typhoon. They are in remote areas so the logistics for travel may be complex as well as costly.

For the first time, my husband and son will fly out to join me on my international trip. When they arrive mid-June, we’ll visit relatives and then hit the regular tourist circuit. We haven’t yet decided what color of sand beach to see: white, brown, pink, grey, or black? Aside from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, they’ve never traveled internationally, so this will be quite an adventure.

Because I’ll be gone for so long, I may break my habit of travelling light and take more than just a carry-on suitcase. I’ll need room for souvenirs: seven Thank You t-shirts for generous donors who supported my fundraising campaign, and a giant wooden fork and knife set for my sister, Hope, to hang on her dining room wall:


Filipino wooden cutlery
That last part was a joke, Hope.

Categories: Travel, Volunteer

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