Davao...the end of the line....

Friday, July 12, 2013
Davao, Mindanao, Philippines
We left this morning on a domestic flight from Manila to Davao in Mindanao....from the northern part of the nation to the furthest south. It's a one and a half hour flight. Nice...no passport and other checks. Security does not require taking out laptops, taking off shoes and belts.

Ed, Daniel and Richard Macaraeg along with Roy Gilos were at the airport to meet us . A genuinely warm welcome and short drive to the Marco Polo hotel where we will stay the next four nights.

They thought we'd be tired and want to rest the rest of the day but we not have that. Let's get on with our program.

First we had lunch at the hotel then, then drove out to the United Youth Corps camp about one hour out of town. We have known about this camp, supported it and knew how well it was run, but never had a perspective of where it was at in the Philippines.  Today we will. The camp location is about half-way up a mountain outside of Davao at about the 2800 foot level. It's at a privately owned property that is called Eden Nature Park and Resort. This is where they've held camp for quite a number of years. Again, we, the Church and LifeNets have helped with the camp, but not in recent years. You can read about working in the Philippines on my LifeNets website at


You can see the lack of activity from 2003 to recent times in our work in the Philippines. I was shown around all the areas in the resort where camp activities were conducted....housing, soccer, Christian living lectures, basketball and much more. Quite an impressive place. In fact, I'm told, that for tourists it's a must-see place. It kind of reminds of the Cincinnati Nature Center close by where I live back in the States .

Because of budget cutbacks, camp was not factored into the coming fiscal year. I'm going to see if we can do something about that. The camp ties together all the young people and staff from all over the Philippines for a wonderful two week experience. I'll see what we can do through Good Works and other funding to make sure that the April camp is held next year. There is time to make that happen!

On the way out stopped a fruit stand where I saw legendary fruit that we don't have back home such as Durian and Marang.  There were other strangely shaped fruits that I don't remember what it's called. Durian is noted for its pungent odor. It is not allowed inside our hotel. A fine will be given if caught with it, I think. But, it tastes really good.

Since we were out this way from Davao, I'm told that the largest Filipino Festival site is close by, too....in fact, it's just outside Davao at the Girl Scout camp . We can see both places that were originally scheduled for Monday.

So, off to the Girl Scout camp.

LifeNets had funded the installation of two 2000 liter water tanks and pumps for the facility. At the Feast there is not enough water at peak periods for the more than 400 people who keep the Feast at this site. The Macaraeg's gave me the tour of the facility and showed me everything from the meeting and dining halls to various types of accommodation ranging from camping to air conditioned quarters. I was really impressed by how well organized the Feast was (as the UYC camp) and the relationship that our ministry here had with the proprietors of both places. We net the director of the Girl Scout Camp who had been working here for nearly 40 years.  

I was very happy to get to know Ed Macaraeg's sons Daniel and Richard. I had known of them, but not really personally acquainted . Today we had the wonderful experience of talking, laughing and bonding. Daniel was just married last October and it was a double wedding right here on the Girl Scout facility.  

As usual I take a lot of pictures, but, I'm noticing the photos being blurry with flareouts. What's the matter? What's the matter with my camera. My camera phone works better. It wasn't until later that I figured out that the lens behind the filter would fog up because of the extreme temp and humidity outside. When we'd leave the air-conditioned vehicle into the heat and humidity that the lense would slightly fog up, but that would distort the photo. Roy Gilos and Richard are taking a lot of pictures and I'll get them later from them.  

From here we drove back through heavier Friday afternoon traffic to the hotel. Jeepnies, the public transportation of the Philipines are in abundance on the roads. After World War II, Americans left behind thousands of jeeps that became used as public transportation . They became modified as litle buses. The appearnace stuck and now the power train ironically is produced in Japan while Filipino firms create the outside "jeepnie" look and they are all over and a trademark of the Philippines.  

I also became acqauinted with Roy Gilos. I was very impresed by his serving spirit and techinical knowledge. He is a full-time employe of the church office in Mindinao who handles media production and other tasks.  

In the evening Ed and his wife Lorna, Daniel and new wife along with Roy and Sheila along with their two young children joined us for dinner at the Marco Polo. I sat close by Ed and heard his most interesting story about his life, work and vision.  

The day was long and I was very ready to sleep...which I may have done a litle at the dinner table.....

Tomorow is church and I look forward to meeting the group of 130 or more that will be there.




Susan Durnil

Fell asleep at the table. . . I can't imagine. :D

*remembering times you fell asleep during Family Christian Club*