12 June 2011


Wow! Hello bloggy blog bloggers! I've missed you! I'll admit that I have been avoiding this post for awhile now, just because the thought of trying to write about something that had such an impact on my life intimidated me! But here ya'll have it! (Bare with me!)

I went to the Philippines with a non-profit organization called Philippine Improvement Group.
The youngest person on our trip was 19, and the oldest was 26. I went with 13 other volunteers, 14 of us total. It was dirty, humid, and beautiful all at the same time.

Philippine people rarely see Americans, so when they do, you honestly feel like a movie star! They stare, ask to get their picture taken with you, and treat you like royalty! Skin whitening products are the rage over there (Michal Jackson would be proud)
They want big noses and white skin like Americans have and they think that being heavier is a sign of wealth because you are able to eat well. . . so go ahead, have another chocolate shake baby.

All joking aside, the Filipino people are some of, if not the most, humble people I have ever met. I wasn't lying when I said they treated us like Royalty. We were there to serve them, but they were truly the ones serving us. They are so generous and caring. And if that isn't enough, they are so HAPPY. Such great qualities to posses. It's refreshing to be around. From our point of view, they have nothing...they are poverty stricken, take showers from a bucket, and are lucky if they graduate high school. But from their point of view, they have it all. They are so proud of their Culture and Country. That is what life is about. Taking what you have, and making the most of it. Appreciation and Gratitude....totally evident in those people.

I have too many pics to post them all, but here are some peeks at the trip. We were able to .... attend the LDS 50th year Jubilee Celebration, run health clinics to show how to wash hands and brush teeth correctly, do screenings to approve kids to have surgery on their cleft palate and club feet, paint schools, clean schools, buy desks, read with the kids, build houses, participate in firesides, and have our lives enriched :) And of course you know we made time for some awesome snorkeling, massages on the beach, fire dancers, and eating Balut! (Yes, I totally ate it, permission to be disgusted.)

Thank you Philippines, and Filipino people. I will not forget you! I am better because of you.

Mahal Kita!

We were welcomed at the airport in Mindoro by a marching band! So sweet...

One night the Mayor treated us to dinner on his salt farm... too bad I don't like seafood.

We helped the Mangyans build their straw houses, like these. SO labor intensive. It takes years for these things to be built.

This was a school for the Mangyan children in one Village. That is all they have... no desks, books, etc.

The kids showing off their bracelets we helped them make :)

We were able to paint the outside of some school buildings for a local high school.

Some of the desks we purchased, then put together and donated them to a Mangyan Village to be used in their schools.

Outside the schoolhouse with the kids

Reading and playing games with the kids.

During our Health Clinic, we had the kids chew tablets that showed all the plaque on their teeth. Then they would brush their teeth and see what areas they needed to brush better.

One of the many gorgeous sunsets.

While we were in Manilla, the LDS church celebrated 50 years of being in the Philippines! They had a huge Jubilee Celebration full of singing and incredible dancing put on by members of the stakes around the Philippines. It was amazing! People who served their missions in the Philippines came out just to see it! I"m so lucky I was able to experience it.

Playing games with the kids who are in recovery from cleft-palate and club foot surgery.

We were able to read with the kids and donate the books we brought

Dividing up the MANY toothbrushes and toothpastes we brought for the health clinics.

"Take It Home"

"What would happen if we took off our masks,
Peeled back the labels, tore down the walls we have,
What would change if we just saw each other as children of our Father.

Out there it's easy to get caught up in our lives,
We all can feel the sparks of truth ignite,
We can keep this feeling burning inside if we carry it together.

What kind of difference could start with you and me,
As we remember to live what we believe,
A mighty change begins with small and simple things,
We can share with one another.

Every single one of us here has a part,
Inside our Father's plan, and this is where we start...

We have felt the way our hope and faith begin to grow,
We have felt this light and peace to guide us as we go,
We know we can take it home."


Salve said...

Tori, you made me cry. Yes, for all our cultural flaws and poverty, our peope are some of Father's most beautiful children. Thank you for spending time in our islands!

Hale-O There said...

Oh Tor I love this post. I am so glad you got to go and serve in a foreign culture. You are terrific. My grandparents were MTC president and mission president over there and even ten years ago it was big to "skin whiten." I still can't imagine it since I try to tan my white skin all summer long! Funny how it is always more beautiful on the other side, or so we thing! lol

Haylie said...

Tor! It looks like such an amazing experience! Thanks for sharing and posting about it! :)

C and MC said...

Very wonderful Tor. That is a great experience to have. I'm glad you're home safe!

Marissa And Jesse said...

oh my gosh amazing Tori! This is so cool and special! it makes me want to do it so bad! I wish it wasn't so expensive to go over there but I bet it worth it....spring break?...