I’m back from an amazing 3 months in South East Asia. Our trip started and ended in the same place. Manila. Manila is the capital of the Philippines. On the first day of our trip Kristen and I planned upon arrival to hop on the first flight from Manila to our final destination of Cagayan De Oro. Unfortunately the the flight was full and we would not be able to get another one until 5am the next day. This gave us about 16 hours to kill. Unsure what to do we wandered the streets near the Airport. Almost immediately, a family told us to come inside their house. I was a bit sketched out at first because I had all of my equipment with me, but it quickly became apparent that they were just exceptionally good people and an amazing introduction to Filipino hospitality.
Here are the photos from day 1 in Manila.

This is Francisco. We met him on the flight. He, like many Filipinos is working in the States and supporting his entire family back in the Philippines. He works at a high end resort in Utah and pulls in $200 a day in tips. He pockets $50 dollars a week and sends the rest home to support his wife and parents. He works 7 days a week. His wife will be able to move to the States to live with him in another 2 years, but until then they see each other very rarely, but talk on the phone twice a day. In this picture, Francisco rocks back and forth in anticipation of seeing his wife for the first time in over a year. He hopes to conceive a baby during this two month visit.

On the airport shuttle.

This is inside the house of Beth. She was the woman of the house. On the right of the picture you see Beth’s adopted daughter. Beth adopted her when she was 18 after the baby had been left to die by it’s parents. In the middle is the adopted daughter’s son.

Beth told us that we should not walk the streets alone so she arranged for the local authorities to take us around in a motto cab. This was our guide. He was very helpful and asked for no money.

These are some of the things I saw in the neighborhood while on my tour.

Bathing in the street.

This is Kenya. He is Beth’s sister’s son.

This is Beth’s adopted daughter’s other son, Justin. At age 1 1/2 he started dressing as a girl and has been acting as a girl ever since. It is not uncommon here for traces of homosexuality to surface at such a young age.

There are about 15-20 people living in the 3 story building. This is the roof of the building overlooking the neighborhood.

This is Beth’s mother. Despite her health problems, she is amazingly active and upbeat. She told me that even though they have nothing they are still able to smile all of the time.

The neighborhood Catholic Church. The Philippines are VERY predominantly Catholic.

Kristen talking to Justin. That is Beth behind her.

During a basketball game just outside of the house, it started Typhooning. The kids take this as an opportunity to play and shower.

The game goes on.

After entertaining us for the entire day and cooking us dinner. Beth insisted on sleeping on the couch and the grandmother slept on the floor while the bed went to the guests. They woke us up at 3am and accompanied us as the local officials gave us a ride back to the airport to catch our 5 o-clock flight. The hospitality that this family showed is something that I have never witnessed and I don’t think exists in the States. In November when we returned to Manila we immediately went back to visit the family.
More from the Southern Philippines soon.