Monday, January 19, 2009

Anabel, January 12-13

Last week a DTS team from the Gimpo Methodist Church in Korea came to Bontoc. They had a packed schedule as they arrived in Manila Sunday night at 11 pm. Monday at 3 pm they arrived in Bontoc and transferred their bags from the bus to Pastor Rudy's jeepney for the trip to Anabel.

Before the team arrived, Lisa and I had spent the morning marketing for groceries. We were actually still in town at the market when the team arrived.

Soon we were on our way. But we did need to make a short stop in order to discuss the top load with the police. I guess you are not allowed to ride on top of the jeepney while still in town. Although we often see people doing so, it probably drew more attention with my white skin and the fact that we drove right in front of the police check point at the main intersection.

Anabel is located in a river valley. The road is steep and only goes so far. From where the road ends, it is 20 minute hike to the village. The first part of the hike is down a steep stairway.

Then there is the bridge. A couple of the young ladies on the team froze in fear part way across it. But they were helped by their compassionate teammates who bounced and swayed to help the bridge more than normal. In the end everyone made it across.

I tried to capture a little of the feel of the bridge in the video below. The decking is landing strip decking left over from the war. You can hear the noise of the bridge as it squeaks. You can see the water running below. What you cannot see too well is the motion of the bridge as I walk across.

That's me in the middle of the bridge.

A sampling of what is supporting the bridge.
Anabel is a mound in the middle of a river valley. From the road above, it reminds me of a bell with houses on it.

In the picture below you can see the elementary school and the church. The church is on the right. In the evening, everyone gathered for a special service.

Gimpo team performing a drama

Kids watching the service through the windows

On Tuesday, the team had a time of worship and intercession then went around the village praying. One of the sites they stopped at was the high place. It is here that many from the village still hold pig sacrifices before planting and again before harvesting the rice.

As I looked at the tree, I was reminded of the hollow promises the enemy offers. I also thought about how his kingdom is rotten and little more than a facade that will one day topple.

As I walked through the village, I learned about sugar cane farming. Like most villages, the walkways are narrow. Here, many of the walkways are lined with sugar cane.

Some of the men were harvesting the sugar cane. I tried to help by binding the tops which they cut from the cane. They laughed a little and one of them tried to show me something about the stalks, but I could not understand what he was trying to say. I have become accustomed to being laughed at for doing anything. Sometimes it seems the people here are amazed that we can do anything other than teach. "You can cook?" Laughter "You can say something in Ilocano?" Laughter But this time the laughter was because they had an important bit of information I did not. It seems that sugar cane has small, irritating little fibers that imbed themselves in your skin. They are almost impossible to see, but you can feel them. That is probably what he was trying to show me. Oh well, it was worth the little bit of pain to try lending a hand.

I did not get to see it in action, but that contraption in the middle of the picture is the sugar cane press. Later they were going to hook up the carabao to operate it. (The carabao is the one on the left, not the cutie on the right, and not the chicken in the foreground.)

Here they are boiling the sugar cane juice down into molasses. The boy in front is enjoying just chewing on the sugar cane. (Stripped of all of those annoying little fibers, of course.)

The finished product - delicious, er...naimus

Who needs a milk mustache when you can have a molasses goatee?

A wonderfully sticky spoon

Another sticky, molasses spoon (I just used my fingers with my goateed host.)

Who wants oatmeal when everyone else is eating molasses?

Below is Domingo. I sat and watched him for quite a while. He was preparing rattan for weaving. I had never before considered the work that went into each strip of a basket or chair. Well, Domingo let me give it a try. Although he was gracious with his (few) words, it was clear that my work did not meet the expectations of the master. He had to do more work on nearly the whole length of the piece I worked on.

A couple of Anabel school girls.

Rice fields awaiting a crop

Rice terraces between the bridge and the village

This last picture has nothing to do with anything other than Pastor Rudy pointed out the phenomenon to me. There was a place in the river where the winds whipped up this little whirlpool. I wondered if the local people ever thought it to be the result of the spirits. But I also thought it would be a great start for a science fiction story about portals into other worlds.



  1. Very informative and entertaining post! I especially enjoyed the picture of the children looking through the window and the last picture of the river. The country is beautiful!

    Holly Wallace

  2. I agree, it is a beautiful land. As we rode on top of the jeepney, one of the Korean girls just kept saying, "Ooh!" I could not agree more.