just came back from a two-day trip to bohol, one of the more beautiful islands here in the philippines, where we had our engagement photos taken [pre-nups, they’re called here]. i am quite sun-burnt, and my shoulders, face, and back are slightly sore from spending too much (?) time under the sun. summers are especially harsh here, which makes the beach the perfect place to be, though amount of sunblock will keep you pain-free if you love to swim and spend your day in the sea as much as i do.
anyway, a friend who is a wedding photographer AND happened to be here in the country this month offered to do the photos, and we had such a good time. my soon-to-be husband and i are quite self-conscious people [translation: we aren’t particularly fond of “staged” photos], and we were just a little bit anxious about it. though it was a little awkward at times, overall, it was a lot of fun and laughter, especially because we had other friends who joined us on this trip for, ahem, moral support (most likely they just wanted an excuse to go on a quick vacation :D).
this trip also allowed us to visit the area where our photographer friend had set up a nonprofit organization that provides long-term help to a community of sea dwellers known locally as badjaos. a sea tribe that dates back to 500 AD, you can find them living in houses built over the water in the island of panglao. they fish for a living, but rising populations have depleted their main source of livelihood, forcing them to live in abject poverty and resort to begging in the streets.
called the badjao bridge, the organization offers the community a holistic program that gets their children to school, provides them with nutritious meals and basic healthcare, teaches adults sustainable livelihood options, and lets them experience the love of jesus.
sadly, we were running late for our boat back to cebu, so we only got to spend about 20 minutes there. but in that short span of time, we got to see the many, many children that they were trying to reach out to and help.
on a side note, navigating through the houses on stilts was quite the task since getting around meant stepping on two or three thin wobbly planks made of wood or bamboo. one wrong move and splat! down the slightly murky water you go.
their chieftain was gracious enough to take us on his bangka (a small motorized boat) to the pier right across where our boat was docked. that was definitely a first. in the many times i have been to bohol, i’ve never tried getting around on a badjao boat. we had a very quick but hearty lunch then (where we came across some badjao children who were begging), and then off to the boat we went, barely making it in time for it to leave.
though it was a quick adventure, it was most definitely one for the books.
P.S. if you want to learn more about badjao bridge, visit www.badjaobridge.org. for only $20 ( php 800) a month, you can send a child to school and influence the course of their future. there are also other ways you can help; just visit the site for more information.
1.i am grateful for the capacity to express myself through the “printed” word and the freedom to do so.
2. i am grateful for sweet summer rainshowers that lift up the soul and energize the spirit.
3. i thank God for the gift of nephews and nieces who remind me that joy can be found even in the simplest of things.
4. i am thankful for a God of second and third and fourth chances: after so long and after so many wrong turns, i have found the one i want to spend the rest of my life with—a kind, generous, funny man with a good heart.
5. thank God for wonderfully supportive, talented, creative, gracious friends with big hearts.