Music and Jollibee (again)
San Mariano Travel Blog› entry 8 of 15 › view all entries
Time is going fast. I am already two weeks in the Philippines. It is slowly getting warmer.
The Filipinoâ€™s remain an elusive people to me.Take the language for example! Tagalog is the national language, but it is heavily mixed with English. The daily use of Tagalog is therefore called Taglish (also, for instance, when you go to an ATM, you can choose for your language between English and Taglish). In this region, it is even more complicated, because people also speak the local language Ilocano. I donâ€™t understand any words, but 1 out of 10 words is English. And not just modern words, but fragments of sentences. Like this (I hope I do not offend anyone):
â€śMaybe we can blablalabla at that time?â€ť
â€śBlabla, at 4 oâ€™ clock blalalalablalbala, but maybe blalalalablalbala refridgerator.
I was walking on the campus, and suddenly something completely unexpected happened! I met two dutchmen! It was an elderly couple, Frisians, and they told me the weirdest story. It was a rambling story, but here is the summary:
The couple was guests at the house of the governor of Isabela province, Madam Grace Padaca. Now you should know that Madam Padaca is quite a celebrity. She has won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for good leadership, the Asian equivalent of the Nobelprize. A few years ago the governor was a guest in the Netherlands and she met our Queen. And because the local Philippine bisshop had contact with a Frisian bisshop, the governor somehow lodged at the house of these Frisians.
As a child, the governor suffered from polio, which brought here a troubled walk in later life, but the dutch couple made her new shoes, for which she was very grateful. And so, Madam Padaca invited the couple to stay with her in the Philippines.
Now, the elderly couple seemed to be completely unaware of Maâ€™am Padacaâ€™s political weight and status and they were quite obnoxious. In front of important officials, they started complaining in dutch about the bathrooms and the Philippine food (and they were staying at the governorâ€™s house for heavens sake!). They just didnâ€™t get it. I was ashamed to be a dutchman right then.
Thursday there was a concert in Cabagan, the first in 25 years! There were five bands, but they were all with the same artists! They just switched instruments! We all had to rise for the national anthem.
A little boy came to sit next to me, and he was heavily fascinated by my causasian appearance. He showed me all the tricks with his lighter, but kept burning his fingers, so stopped very soon. When he heard I worked with crocodiles, he asked me if it included giant crocodiles. I said yes, and his eyes became very big, hehehe. The rest of the evening he just had to remain in the vicinity of this extraordinary western crocodile wrester!
Sunday was a day out. We went to Tuguegarao, not for Jollibeeâ€™s but for Chow King! This is another McDonaldâ€™s like fastfood chain, but distinctively Asian. And in Chow King they have fingerlicking halo halo: milk, icecream and fruit! Very nice.
We also went to the village of San Mariano, where is located one of our rearing stations. Here we keep juvenile crocodiles, till they are big enough to reintroduce into the wild. That way the population will grow the fastest. (Our project, CVPED, is in the Lonely Planet guides these days! People can visit the rearing station and arrange a tour with members of our team to search for the crocodile in the Sierra Madre national park!) The rearing station will get a makeover as soon as possible.