Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What It's Like- Getting Around

For the first 6 months of living in the Philippines, we did not have our own car to get us used to using public transportation. Living in Manila, anytime you are on the road, in a vehicle or walking is an adventure to say the least! I had no idea that traffic, people, and vehicles could function in the way they do in Manila!!! Everytime we are in a vehicle, I audibly scream at least twice, usually many more times at our near chances with death! But I am proud to say,  I am one of the few missionary ladies who drives in Manila! (bragging I know) We must have talked quite a bit how dangerous it was, because I overheard our 2 year old (at the time) telling our 4 year old- "Bubba, you must hold onto Daddy & Mommy's hands tight when we are walking on the street or you will be squished by a jeepney and you will DIE!"

There have been many videos taken & documentaries done on Manila driving, but here are a few of my favorites!

This is a friend of ours driving to work on his motorcycle.

This is me driving through a flooded street in Manila.

Here's an English bus driver driving in Manila on "Toughest Places To Be A Bus Driver."

Island driving is much slower paced, but still pretty crazy. We have our own car & motorcycle & I am practicing to get my motorcycle license!

The two most common vehicles of transportation are jeepney & tricycle (trike). They are very colorfully decorated & there seems to be an unofficial contest to see who can trick theirs out the most.

It is amazing to me how many people they can pack on these things. They aren't just people movers either. They carry a crazy amount of cargo too!


How much it costs depends on how far you are going & sometimes on the driver. A basic fare on a jeepney in Manila is P8/$.18 to go 2.5 miles/4 km. Here, in Palawan, I can hire a tricycle for P50/$1.15 to take me to the grocery store or I can share a trike with other passengers & it only costs P12/$.28. You hail a jeep or trike pretty much the same as you hail a taxi. The jeeps have designated routes, so you just find the one that has the route you wish to travel written on the side & wave it down. You jump on, squeeze your backside or sometimes half your backside onto the vinyl seat & hang on. You pass your fare up to the driver and say, "Bayad po." (Fare, sir.) When you come close to your destination, you shout, "Para, po" (Stop, sir) or knock on the ceiling of the jeep. For a tricycle, you flag one down & tell the driver where you want to go. He can accept or refuse and if there is a lot of traffic, may ask for a higher price. If her refuses or you don't like the price, it can take quite a while to find a trike to take you where you want to go.

Public transport is pretty cheap & convenient. My kids love riding on jeeps & trikes!
Buses are also common for long distances, taxis are popular in the city, with personally owned motorcycles & cars being the least common.

Driving & getting around has definitely been one of our biggest adjustments to living here & I don't realize until someone visits just how used to it we have gotten! My mom flipped out when she visited us because of how everyone drove. It is definitely a shock if it is not something you are used to.

I will end with this video that we made while living in Manila on the many ways of transportation.
We love the Philippines!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Vapor Life

"Live every moment like it was your last." You see the quote everywhere. To be honest, it makes me exhausted just reading it.  There are days I feel like I am fighting just to be able to get through the day and do the basic things...Is it even possible?

I have been reminded several times in the last few days of the brevity, the complete and total shortness & quickness of this life.

"How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone." -James 4:14

A lady with 5 other children went into labor yesterday morning- no complications, just like every other pregnancy. By the afternoon, she had a new baby boy, but was suffering from severe hemorrhaging. When we got the call to bring the plane in to fly her out, Josh & I scrambled to get the little bit of medical gear together that we had, oxygen, bandages, & meds. As we were getting him out to the car, we received another call informing us that it was too late. She had died.

Heartsick & helplessness just overwhelmed me. Why had they waited so long to call? If we had just known sooner. What if? If only? WHY?

I talked to my sweet Papa on the phone this morning and he told me about a dear friend of his. He was fit and happy in his 80's with no aches & pains to speak of. Less than a month later, he was dead. Cancer covered his whole body and he didn't even know. My Papa will be a pallbearer at his funeral in a few days.

Life is SO SHORT & you never know when it will end for you or someone you love. I understand the heart behind living every moment as if it were your last. But, it can easily become motivated by fear. Fear that this will be the last moment. In my life, this would be lived out in every moment filled with tears, holding my children, spending time with my husband, never moving beyond my comfort zone, & letting the rest of the world go to waste. For you it may look totally different. Now, don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with throwing all else to the wind on focusing in on your family in comfort. But is this all that God has called us to? Living every moment in fear that it's our last or someone else's last?

Live every moment with hope. Hope that the Lord is in control. When you clean your house instead of playing with your kids. When you played with your kids all day & you left your house a mess. When you met with a friend in need instead of going to the gym. When you don't meet with a friend because God has someone else in mind. Hear His voice. He will guide your days & your every decision.

Life is short. Too short to second guess your every decision & take upon your shoulders the responsibility of the outcome of every decision. Live every moment at the feet of Jesus, hearing His voice, full of hope.

Our loving, serving, & doing must flow out of hope from our place at His feet.