So we're currently sailing to Manilla, which is exciting!
Bacolod was A-MA-ZING! It was GORGEOUS and welcoming and what I would picture a place like the Philippines to be. We had our biggest visits in one port in Bacolod - 114,000 people came up the Book-Ex gangway. Saint Peter's Beard! We were only there for 18 days but it was a huge blessing to have that many people come along as we were thinking it was going to be a quiet port - how wrong we were!!

Bacolod is also the "City of Smiles"... and they aren't wrong. Smiling because they are stealing a photo of you, smiling because they have no idea what you are trying to say, smiling because they are just lovely people... it changed alot. But they smiled. And they made 'kissing' noises at us. That is to get your attention so don't be alarmed. They also will say "Yes!" by raising their eyebrows - something that takes a bit to get used to, and many of us onboard now do it [shame!]. They can hold a whole conversation by "kissing", pointing at something when they have your attention and then you acknowledge they wish to buy, they agree "yes!" with their eyebrows. Hillarious!

I got to visit Mumbukal - a resort [not for me!] that resides in the hills/mountains behind Bacolod. It takes about an hour and a half jeepney ride up to Mumbukal but its worth it. The scenery is beautiful, the little towns you pass are full of shops and people and are just beautiful, being out of the city is just beautiful and spending quality time with your friends is a plus! When we got up there and made it up to the first waterfall [after I gracefully stacked it on the way up - wrong footwear!] I was sitting on a rock by the pool with my legs in the water. Two girls were going up to the other falls and the guys decided to follow. I was getting up [can you see where this is going already?] to stand near the girls stuff and I totally slipped INTO the pool. Oh, Man! That was not desirable. The water was, because it was cool and lovely. But I wasn't intending on getting wet. I'm not sure if being half wet is worse than all wet, but for this conversation I had the pleasure of trialing that half wet is possibly worse.

I spent Bacolod on Day, then Late, then Day rotations in the BookEx. Each rotation is a week and you have a day off and a outing with a group of you within that time. Day shift is fine, long but work continues to flow. Late shift is really tiring. You are awake early, spend the day doing not alot, start work at 4:30pm and stick around till the BookEx closes to the public - THEN you have to clean up the mess [*cries!*] and when you have finally done that you have to go and 'pull' [collect the books sold that day] and then you put them in their rightful place in the shop, a final clean up and then you could go and sleep. It was hard! You're meant to get up early to do devotions but I couldn't get out of bed before 9:30pm. Anyway, that's my little spill. I've got it easy compared to many...
My first outing [called an E-day or Evangelism Day] was on a Saturday to the Alliance Baptist Church next to the SM Mall in the City [a 10 minute walk from the ship]. We were 6 of us going to do a program for 215 children from the ages of 3-12. The age range is huge because all the children are street kids and they open their doors on a Saturday to teach them things that could be taught in school. Now I worked at HYPE, with about 6 or so leaders and with about 24 children aged between 5-12, and that is HARD!!! But these 215 kids were SO well behaved, obeyed their teachers and sat so quietly that I was actually blown away! We did our two hour program where we had some games and some drama's showing God's love, and they were the most well behaved kids I've ever seen - especially in that number! And the best blessing was that I got to see many of the older kids when they visited onboard and got to know one of the Teachers, who used to be a street kid when she was young and was sponsored by an Australian. God is so amazing!

Many many things happened in Bacolod that I can't possibly share. I'd show you some photo's but they aren't mine - the Electricians tried to fix my camera but they said one of the cogs in the Lens had broken and its not mendable without being sent to the manufacturer and with everything postal being slow from the ship... yeah, no. But here's a picture of the smallest class of children from Alliance Baptist...

And here's a picture of my current home... enjoy!!!