General Journal, 2012-08-30

At 1:10 AM tomorrow morning, Nay and I leave for Manila Immigration, again. Then, I have to go back on the 25th of September, I think, to get the new ACR-I card. Hopefully it is for longer than one year. Then, I am free -Free at last!

I have been listening to Laudes on YouTube sung by what appears to be a religious order of men and women at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris. Of course Laudes is sung in French, so I do not understand all of it. I know when they are singing the Our Father and the Benedictus. And, I understand “The Lord be with you” and the response.

These men and women sing in a Russian-style, i.e., the modes or tonality sound like Russian or OCA modes. There are at least two icons I have seen. The main icon on the altar is Jesus the teacher, I believe.  The other icon changes daily and sits on an icon stand on the main floor.  This service is offered in one of the chapels of the Cathedral and at the entrance to the chapel, there appears to be two more icons of angels facing each other. There is not much light.

They stand during the entire service and there are some other people at the back of the chapel who also participate as part of the choir. Anyone can read the first reading, but only a priest reads the Gospel, or second reading and he also reads the prayer.  They do not stand during the entire service – I forgot that they sit on the floor during the first reading and the meditation time after the reading.  The meditation is presented by either a monk or nun playing a wind instrument (most often a flute or recorder) and sometimes the small organ. But they do sing a capella.

They are Roman Catholics.  This takes place in the Roman Catholic Cathedral and there is Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament after the service on some days. I have all the days except Monday. There seems to be no recording of that day.

Correction to earlier note

In a previous note, I wrote that the 133rd Infantry Division held off the Japanese from entering Baguio. It was the 123rd Infantry Division. My apologies to those who may have been offended by my error. Also, the Division actually captured a Japanese Division. I could not see the entire monument; we drove by rather quickly, very early in the morning, and in the rain, so I am not certain which Japanese division was captured. I do not know what happened to the captured soldiers, either. I guess I could look up what happened in that battle.

Nay and I were on our way to Manila for Immigration, hopefully for the last time.  Immigration was not too bad. Nato help navigate me around from one window to another. I had not advised Immigration of my new addressed and I had to pay a fine of 1,200 pisos (almost $30, US).

I do not like these one-day trips. Have to leave here at 1:10 AM to arrive in Manila (Pasay) around 6AM for morning appointment. Otherwise I would have to go the day before and stay in hotel, which is usually another 50 to 70 USD extra,  I prefer not to spend any more than I must.  Have a difficult time trying to sleep on the bus and most of the highways are one lane.

General 2012-08-20, Monday, 0958

Weather – overcast with light wind; clouds break for sun periodically.

I forget to write every day. Guess I do not have much to write.

My “development” to becoming an urban monastic is coming along. I try to remember the formal prayers every day, but I am not good and meditation, personal prayers, or reading seem to suffer the most. My scripture reading is behind 7 days and I am really trying to catch up.

I have started turning off the TV more, which is good.  Most of what is on isn’t very good anyway. But, I have substituted that with YouTube. I do try to keep my watching to things relating to learning more about God, not for my glory but so I can know God more and draw closer to him. Many people who know me may be shocked when (or, if) they read this. And some of the liturgical celebrations, including the Office of the Hours are in my list.

The Orthodox Faith is what I have accepted to have the true teachings of Jesus.  However, I have to say that I am still very attracted to the contemplative orders, primarily those who follow the Benedictine Rule, of the Roman Faith.  But, I cannot accept the infallibility of the Pope or his position as the Supreme Pontiff. When I read or hear him address Roman bishops as “My Brother Bishops”, I get very upset. For, if they were his brother bishops, he would not hold to this absolute authority, but would share it with the other bishops.  The Bishop of Rome was always considered the First among Equals. He has always had that title and respect, but when he started trying to tell other bishops what to do and making absolute pronouncements, many other bishops said, “No Way!”  Especially the bishops in the East.

Popes John XXIII and Paul VI appeared to be trying to change this Absolute Authority to a shared authority the way it was in the original organisation of the Church.  But, the traditional bishops just would not support them.  The Council of Vatican II turned into “Let’s change the Liturgy”. Now the Roman Faith has a liturgy, which, while there was an attempt to take the liturgy back to an original Western style, isn’t recognised by anyone as a legitimate liturgy or resembling an ancient Western liturgy.

On another subject: I have to go to Manila to get some paper work done, however, today and tomorrow are holidays, so the Immigration office is not open.  I have postponed the trip until next Monday.  I hope this is not going to make the paper work late and cause me to have to file for an extension while all is processed.

I just learned that there is another holiday on Monday, 27th of August, and I had planned to go to Manila then. So another change and that may add a 20% surcharge to the ticket for the bus.  This is very lucky with all the holidays. There is even a day for Ramadan. Holidays seem to be mixed between religious and civilian days.

2012-07-30, Baguio, Philippines

2012-07-30, Baguio, Philippines

I cannot go out today because there is a Signal One storm around here.  Signal One in the Philippines is equivalent to a Category One Hurricane in the U.S.  Lots of rain which keeps coming and going and strong winds.  This particular storm, called Gener by Philippines, seems to be like a series of storms. Whenever there is no rain, there is wind.  Not certain the rate of speed of these winds, but the weather prognosticator mentioned that there could be gusts of up to 100 kilometers per hour – that’s about 60 miles per hour.  Right now the electricity is off; the rain has stopped and there are winds gusting. Gas is used for cooking and candles come out at the appropriate time. There is only one candle at a time unless someone absolutely has to have a candle in a different room from the one.

One can never tell when the electricity will return or how long it will stay.  In a storm like this one, sometimes there are several outages and then there may be only one long one, like the one which lasted for fourteen hours. But, the problem was not caused by a storm then. That was a human error when someone forgot and flipped a switch at the energy generating company to the local provider company. The whole city was without power, some sections for eleven hours, others for fourteen hours. Our house was one of the ones out for the fourteen.

I do not think I am going to be writing any more, so this is as far as my General Journal for last month goes.

General Talk

27 July 2012, 16:44, Baguio City, Benguet, Philippines
(I shall put this on Evernote and WordPress, when the electricity is back on and, hoprfully we have internet service, too.)

There has been no electricity throughout most of the city today. Everyone keeps saying it is a brown-out, but brown-outs usually last 2 to 3 hours only. This one has been going on since about 09:15 (more than 4 hours).  Seems to me to be more than a brown-out. Fortunately we have gas for cooking.

Gon, the family dog, has been watching the happnngs in the street below. He won’t stay on the Veranda with Joey or me, but he will with Beatriz. Oh, I wasn”t thinking, maybe you don’t know who everyone is in the household. Beatriz, called either Moma or Nay (pronounced like nigh), Joey, who was going to college, but has decided to return home at Esperanza, Clint Jhon (that is the spelling on his birth certificate), whom we call Totot or sometimes Tot, and me. Totot is in high school and is attending Baguio City National High School. He is only 15 and in his last year of high school.  I could never understand how a Filipino or Filipina could graduate at only 15 or 16 from High school. Do they begin school at the age of 3?  No. There are only six years of elementary school. They start at 5 or 6 and that means, with only ten years of school, they can graduate at 15 or 16,

Not everyone graduates at 15 or 16. In many cases a child may miss a year of school because parents cannot afford to pay the tuition or buy the uniform for one, and sometimes more than one, year. So it is possible that one may be 18 or 20 years old and graduating from high school. It is usually rare that a person is over 19 because, when a child misses more than one year in succession, the degree of difficulty to return to school is very high.  Study habits are quickly forgotten as is much of what was lerned in the preceeding years of school.  So, there are many uneducated people in the Philippines, especially in the provinces.

During the trial of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, there was a senator who was complaing about how much money was spent on the trial (the trial took 44 days and this senator was talking about the cost on the 36th day) which could have been used for education. He also alluded to several bills awaiting the senate’s attention which were for education and health care.  After 44 days, the Chief Justice, who had been charged with 22 crimes, as I understood from the TV and newspapers, was convicted of only one – failure to complete a federal form correctly. Granted, the form was a financial form and he failed to disclose his off-shore assets because, according to his testimony, he did not understand the law. Gives a person lots of confidence in the Filipino Judiciary system, when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court does not understand the laws. The other charges related to misapplication of funds and embezzelment. According to a retired judge with whom I spoke, supposedly the prosecution had all the evidence they needed to convict him of every charge. The prosecution consisted of 10 or 12 actual prosecutors. But I never heard one of them ever ask a question of a witness. Only the 26 Senators chosen to be the jurors/jurists asked questions.  Oh well, so goes the world of Politics in the Philippines and the World.

Had a couple of discussions with my Uncle (Mom’s brother) about the Philippines, since he was stationed here during the Second World War and the Korean War. General MacArthur still had his headquarters here in Baguio from the Spanish-American War until Roosevelt forced him to leave and go to Australia. Uncle Jim was part of the crew which flew Eisenhower here to meet with MacArthur. Eisenhower was still Chief of Staff in D.C. then. His crew would have flown him from Clark Air Base, in the Philippines. And, my Uncle was in the lead plane during the fly-over, when the US gave the Philippines independence. Originally, the Independence Day was July 4. The new constitution, called the Charter, changed the day to some day in March. Whenever I have asked a Flipino/a what is the Independence Day now, no one seems to know.

Both my Uncle and I used to spell the country’s name incorrectly – with 2 “L’s”. I had a Filipino explain to me that the country was named afer King Filip of Spain, so no double “L”. Uncle Jim told me that my grandfather, his father, said that since he was in someone else’s country, he should learn the correct spelling. Why do we spell Philippines with “PH” instead of an “F” (Philco Appliances maybe)?  Maybe the same reason that Kiribati (pronouned Kiribash) used “TI” instead of “SH”. They took the “TI” from naTIon – and that is the truth!

I saw a monument a few days ago and for the longest time I never equated it with the US. The monument says, in words to this effect, Here the 133rd Infantry Division Met and Stopped Japanese forces from entering Baguio – 1943. That would have to be the 133rd Infantry Division of the US because there was no Filipino military in 1943. The Japanese were not kept out of Baguio, though. A few months later they were able to come from the North and right down the valley to Baguio.

Enough of the History lesson.

Baguio is called the San Francisco of the Philippines. Mostly because of the temperature and the mountains (not hills here). Also, Baguio is known for earthquakes. Most have been small, but in 1996 there was a big one which cut Baguio off from the rest of the world for about six months.  I am not sure to what extent buildings were damaged, but all the roads to Baguio – there are three from the South and one from the North – were impassible and there were no communications in or out.

The city is pretty and is covered with all sorts of parks. There is an environmental park, which is on the grounds of a Catholic Religious Order.  Camp John Hay has the only Golf course in the city. The Officers’ Club is still there from the US Army days. (I wonder if MacArthur played golf?) Additionally, there are two other restaurants in the Camp. The Camp is operated by the Philippine Military and only active duty members, retired military (from either the US or Phillipine Military), and cadets from the Military Academy are permitted on the facility. We, Beatriz, Gabriel, and I, drove on to the Camp once and were quickly told to turn around and leave! We got there accidentally when we were trying to get from Kennon Road to Loakan Road. The connector road was open only as far as Camp John Hay.

There had been several days of rain like now. The road had a clay base and the rain went right through the asphalt and made the clay wet and slippery and the roadway just disappeared. The Bureau of Roads and Highways got the road open as far as the Camp. What we were able to see was very nice.

That’s enough of the travelogue. I can write more in my next offering.