Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On the Road  

We love these people!  They live in the most humble circumstances but are happy and hard working.  This was at a Family
Home Evening where it seemed the  whole neighborhood was invited!          

                                          Playing games are a big hit!  

Most are farmers and raise either feed corn or rice.  They are up before dawn to work when it is a little cooler.They plow behind caribou, their huge ox, through deep mud.  

They also have a sort of hand tractor called a kuliglig they use to plow their fields. It's kind of like a tiller but with really long handles.  They can also attach a trailer to it and it becomes transportation.  These are commonly seen on the roads where there are farms.  Many of our members ride to church on them.

The corn was being harvested when we arrived the first of May.  It took a few weeks to complete during which they harvest the corn, husk it, and then take the corn off the cob by hand.  They dry it on any piece of concrete they can spread it.  The side of the road works.  It is disconcerting to have to drive over the layers of drying corn kernels, but there is nothing else to do when there is crazy traffic.  Then they sweep it up into bags and hall them to market.  Since then the new crop has been planted and is already 3 or 4 feet high.  So much of the work is done by hand!  Most don’t own their land so profits go to landowners leaving small amounts for the farmers.

These are a crop of sunflowers with heads bowed.  Not sunny day!
We don’t have rice farmers here in Gamu but there are rice fields not too far away.  Those fields have just been planted in the last week or so and planting is still going on.  The fields are smaller rectangles, or terraces, bordered by mud edges to hold in the water.  The rice plants are hand planted as it has been done for centuries.  It is an amazing picture to see the rows of beautiful green fields being planted. It is backbreaking work done by men and women.   Sometimes they plant later in the day under umbrellas clustered together. 

This one has some terraces along the contours of the land.

This is more commonly seen in the flat lands around us.  Here they are, planting each plant by hand!
We took these pictures in the southern part of the mission near Solano.  This is higher country with hills and mountains surrounding valleys. 

Those little tufts out there are 
seedlings ready to be planted.

The reason why we were driving through this beautiful valley is we spoke at a Youth Conference at Banaue Resort. We had quite the adventure getting there having never been before. It's about 3 and a half hours from Gamu and part way there a big truck got stuck on the highway blocking both directions of traffic.  As usual everyone began "filling in the blanks" until it was just a big parking lot! Some cars and tricees seemed to be getting through so we followed one to a little dirt side road that took us over a narrow bridge and back out to the highway.  A huge bus was trying to take this little detour but we waved them back. No Way!! We got back to the highway where all the northbound traffic are waiting. Everyone is trying to pull as far to the side to make room for a flatbed truck with a back hoe to pull the truck out of the way.  Amazingly it finally got through with inches to spare!  We grabbed the opportunity immediately to head south before the corridor he had created filled in and with little traffic made great time arriving 10 minutes early instead of hours late for the concluding devotional we were to speak at!
It was a small miracle!

Our camera wasn't in focus sadly, but you can still get the idea.
Here are some of the vehicles you drive with when on the road. Tricees are motorcycles with a side car.  They hold people, inside, on the back of the motorcycle, even on top.  We wonder how their skinny tires and small axles handle the load!  Out on the highway they go about half the speed of larger vehicles so you have to go around them.  You signal, toot your horn, check all your mirrors for anyone else having the same idea, then hit the gas and go around.  Usually everyone is keeping an eye out and slows down a little or defers to the larger vehicle. Driving down the shoulder is common. 

In the city tricees rule.  They move constantly all around you like a school of fish.  This is a u-turn in Cauayan by the palengke (market). 3 lanes of tricees turn all at once.  The method of driving is you just start turning gradually into traffic and the vehicles eventually give way.
Besides tricees there are jeepneys on the road.  These are World War II jeep transport vehicles that have been "upgraded" and as you see decorated!  They are personalized like the tricees who also have names on them.

                                                 "Spider Man"

"Super Man"

People in other areas raise food crops to sell at the market called a palengke.  Here you can buy rice, eggs, potatoes, onions, apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbages, peppers, squash, jicama which they call sicama, carrots, green beans (they have one called sitaw that is more than a foot long), eggplant, their kind of sweet potato, grapes, . . . . .

 The bananas are amazing and taste delicious even when they look over ripe.  The pineapple is so juicy and sweet!  It is in season right now and we love it!  Mangoes are so sweet and soft. . . m,m,m,m. 
 Pretty good looking rooster and doesn't he know it!
Here are the various grades of rice you can buy.

   There is also “fresh” meat at the palengke which we don’t buy.   There are also tons of shops that have household items, clothes, you can get a haircut (scary!)  It’s a real bazaar!

Another trip to the Southern part of the mission which is a province called Nueva Viscaya.  The mountain valleys were so beautiful and the winding road going up a little exciting with big buses and trucks climbing up and speeding down.  There are villages along the road where people have hoses running and trucks stop by the side to wash their trucks.  I saw a little naked boy taking a morning bath at the hose.

We bought a few pineapples here

I had to take this picture.  It's a little nursery where the sign says "Forest for sale". 
 We also traveled to the Northern most part of the mission to Tuguegarao the largest city.  There are many more tricees here.  They are definitely king of the road in this city.  We learned that this is the hottest city in the Philippines!  We live in the hottest mission in the Philippines!  That was not what we were expecting, but it is true!  
Again, the road trip was spectacular with mountains in the background and beautiful green fields  and trees everywhere you looked.

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