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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Philippines: Center of Attention

Today on our two hour drive home from white water rafting I slipped OJ extra money to stop as many times as my little heart desired and to accompany me out of the car. You see the Mindanao, the island in the Philippines that Mrs. Fruit lives on is mostly Muslim and the southernmost tip is covered in rebels which basically translates into I am not allowed to go anywhere without an escort. OJ is the perfect escort for us. He is an older gentleman with a teddy bear kind of personality and a glib tongue built for soothing us and lying to anyone who has to potential to get in our way.

Most memorable soothing sentences he repeated to us time and time again:

“Everything is ok Mam”
“You’re in good hands”
“Don’t you worry”

His most memorable lies:
“I have friends of the governor here, he was too busy with state business to accompany us, get out of the way.”
“We need to get on the next ferry and skip this long line. These here visitors are the judges of the cities beauty pageant tonight.”
“What are you talking about we own this boat.”

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In the Philippines, especially on the island of Mindanao and especially in the more remote areas of the country where we were traveling through most of the people VERY rarely if ever see a white person. It is such an event to see one in fact that whenever we stopped to take a photo everyone in the area would take note and stop what they were doing to watch. Generally on this photo excursion they were laughing at me taking photos of their livestock, something that was as common to them as street signs are to us in the states. I tried to smile and then bow my head to getting the photo I wanted while OJ kept the more ardent people away but still it is a little weird to be the center of so much attention. I am sure they thought I lost my damn mind taking photos of stuff that is so commonplace for them but look at the photos, ahhh the beautiful photos.

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And those photos were wonderful but my absolute favourite was when I got out to take photos of the sow, here I got a large audience of children who were fascinated with the camera and me.

I got the photo of the big pig

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And Mrs. Painter whipped out my mini camera and started taking photos of me taking photos with my fan club watching.

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The kids even got in on the fun and started showing me the baby piglets which were just TOO DAMN ADORABLE FOR WORDS. I wish I could have picked them all up and put them in my pocket to pull out whenever I need a smile.

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After getting all my pig shots I took some photos of the children and to their delight showed them on the tiny viewing screen. I desperately wished for a mini printer then so I could hand out photos alas I had to make do with just the memories and these photos.

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And thanks to Mrs. Painter who again, from the car, captured the moment from the other side of the lens. The only bad thing about being the photographer is that I rarely end up in the actual photos. I am however having way too much fun with my new hobby to let something like that bother me too much.

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I cannot look at these photos without this silly grin on my face.

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