Our new friends in Leganes are so wonderful. They are really going out of their way to make sure we make the most of our experience here and they are succeeding. We finally had the opportunity to take a very common form of travel here, the jeepney. We took one from the hotel, changed about half way to reach Leganes, then took a tricicycle, a motorcycle with sort of a side car to our destination. Zoilo was along to show us the ropes.
First we went to Katungan Park, where our students in the science club and their teachers were bagging mangroves. Unfortunately, the kids were finishing all the hard work as we arrived, but they did show us what they do. You use a piece of bamboo as a shovel, dig up a little seedling, put it in a little bag with some dirt, and transplant it to an area where the growth is more sparse. Members of the community, in league with the Mangrove Rehabilitation Project of the Zoological Society of London mangroves (moved seedlings from one area to another where they are more sparse) as part of an environmental project. What was essentially bare, muddy ground 5 years ago is not a thriving ecosystem that serves to protect the coastline. Our students are helping to make a positive impact on the environment of their community.
Next we attended the Biray Paraw Festival . The MC introduced us to the whole community when we arrived. It’s way more attention than I’m used to but what the heck. We got front row seats with the mayor for the entertainment, which included some traditional and modern dancing performed by our students. We the watched a regatta (biray paraw means enjoy regatta) then got to go out on a sailboat ourselves.
When we got back, a narrow sandbar was emerging on the beach. When it got wide enough to put up some bamboo goals, up they went. I was tall enough to fix the cross bar when it fell off, so the boys let me play. I scored a nice little goal off the far post. The boys’ coach is a young man named Jomar, who is a former student of Leganes National High School. He is active with Junior Achievement and volunteers as a coach. He told me there is a drug problem among the youth, and that he enjoys coaching to give the kids something positive to do. Right before I had a heat stroke, Zoilo reminded me that it was time for another commitment.
We played Bingo at his school to raise money for an alumni hall. Then we had dinner with a lovely former teacher of the school. Quite the full Saturday.
On a side note: While we were at the mangrove bagging,hundreds university students were also in Leganes participating in a coastal clean up. Zoilo asked me to teach a lesson on recycling, but I’ve actually learned a lot about protecting the environment and recycling. When members of the tourism board gave Krista and I t-shirts, they were wrapped in some copy paper that had something printed on it. I thought it was interesting, then today when I bought something, the bag was made out of used office paper. What a good idea. While at the water, I saw that someone had made good use of 2 liter bottles and shopping bags. The entire swimming area was roped off with these:
Today we went to Guimaras with Zoilo, Barbara, Pamela and her two beautiful children, and Nena. Guimaras is famous for it’s mangoes and beautiful beaches. We took a very short boat ride to the island, where we were met with a guide and a private jeepney driver.
Someone had told us earlier that Guimaras was powered by wind turbines. The first part of our tour was up to the top of a mountain where we could see many of the giant turbines. I’ve always loved windmills, and the modern ones look sleek. You don’t realize from afar just how massive they are. It was quite interesting to see farmers plowing fields with oxen, while these modern clean-energy producing giants loomed in the background.
Next we headed to Raymen Beach resort for lunch and a little swimming. The view from the beach was gorgeous. The food was delicious and the water felt amazing after riding around in the jeepney. I would love to have stayed there longer!
On the way back we stopped at the Trappist Monastery where we visited the gift shop and the church and spoke briefly with one of the monks. Then we were back home where I spent the rest of the day downloading the pictures for this post and getting ready for my co-teaching tomorrow.
It was wonderful weekend. I can never thank Zoilo enough for putting together such a wonderful experience for us.