Friday, August 07, 2009

MEETING FAMIILY IN PALAWAN--during a Kind of Exile in the Philippines

As readers of my blog know, I have been in a sort of exile from Germany due to the fact that my wife's visa application was turned down on very questionable grounds in June. We are treading water in my wife's homeland until the review of my wife's visa is re-undertaken as it legally needs to be according to EU law and right of spouse to join husband.

Dear Friends and Family,

On Wednesday, I met my sister's only surviving brother, Tong Tong, at his home in the middle of a mango plantation where he lives with his wife and three children. In a ll the joy of my visit, he butchered a Filipino hen and cooked a delicious and healthy soup. No one has butchered a hen for my meal for over three decades when I last worked on a farm in France. (I was the one who held the chicken down that time.)

Tong Tong showed me also his rice fields--which he harvests and plants by hand. Believe me that is tough work. He also is a tree grafter--which reminds me of my Uncle Gerald back in Missouri.

Before Uncle Gerald worked in tree gardening and nutty nut tree work, he was in the navy and sailed the world.

However, I am not certain if he ever landed in the Philippines where my wife is from. My brother Paul, however, did land on the big island of Luzon in the 1980s a few times, when the USA still had a navy base at Subic Bay.

Today, Victoria's sister came via Jeepney with her kids to visit us. Here is what a Jeepney looks like:

They are based on WWII Willy Jeeps.

Tomorrow all day is the biggest family reunion and I will need to learn and practice Tagalish-- a mixture of Filipino and English. Wish me luck. I meet my father-in-law Andres Baradero from Negros tomorrow, too. He is coming in from Southern Palawan where there are apparently no cell phones--only satellite phones. Tong Tong went out last evening to find him near the town of Tuba.

On Sunday, we will travel back with Maria Victoria's sister to Port Barton and stay for a few days.

I will get out my English Filipino dictionary and try my best in the meantime.





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