Friday, February 27, 2009

And Back Again

We made it back to Bontoc late Thursday night and another round of Calvinball is behind us. We made our required annual report to Immigration and submitted our applications for our i-cards, an Immigration ID card. We had enough pesos to cover all the fees and even had all the paperwork necessary. The only thing we needed to do was copy the receipts. Everything else went well and only took a couple hours. Copying the receipts was only a minor hassle, as the copy machine at Immigration was out of order, as usual, and we needed to walk around searching for another. The next one we found was also out of order, but the third was working. We hurried back and were able to hand in the receipts even though officially the office was closed for lunch. Everything we need should be mailed to us, so we should not need to visit our friends at Immigration until the beginning of 2010 when once again we need to make the annual report required of all foreigners and pay the corresponding fee, of course.

While in Baguio we made our compulsory stop at McDonald's. It is very convenient that the bus line we generally use drops off at Baguio's Center Mall - which, has a McDonald's. By the time we are done with the bouncing and twisting roads between Bontoc and Baguio, we are ready for a little time in a chair that isn't moving and something to eat. A Big Mac, McNuggets, fries, or a Coke may not be part of a healthy diet, but any of the above is a welcome taste of home when we make the trip. Bontoc is growing, but so far the only franchise that has reached us here is Mr. Donut.

Usually while in Bagiuo, we stay with friends. We have been so blessed by their hospitality, but this time we weren't able to stay with them and instead stayed at the Baguio YWAM base. As always, the girls made friends quickly with people of all ages. One of the staff children, Princess Joy, was the object of much attention and affection. The girls are now torn as to where we should stay when we travel to Baguio in the future. What a blessing to have friends in so many places!

After completing our Immigration requirements, we did some shopping for a number of things that are either very expensive or not available in Bontoc. Knowing the rainy season is fast approaching, we stocked up on more books, some movies, and craft supplies. While in one shop looking through movies, the saleslady remembered us even though we had not been in since October. She excitedly showed us the photo she had taken of Annalise on her cell phone. While waiting in line in the bathroom at the mall, another lady said to Annalise, "Do you remember me?" She didn't and neither did Lisa, she went on to explain she was the saleslady that sold us our stove. That was in January. Just another reminder that wherever we go, people are watching us! Cheese is always at the top of our grocery list, but we picked up some other food as well, including whole wheat flour and brown rice. It was a long day of going from place to place. We got back to the base late. Thursday we ran more errands, pushing it to the last minute to catch our bus back to Bontoc.

Actually, we missed the bus we usually ride. We thought the last bus left at 4 pm, but we found it left at 12:30. So we had the taxi take us to the other bus line. We made it just before 4, moved our baggage from the taxi to the bus, and took our seats. We did not even wait 10 minutes before they were backing the bus out of the lot. That would have been the last bus.

We wanted to be sure to be back in Bontoc for our Health Clinic. Because we did not know about the March 1 registration requirement until Saturday, we had not been able to let our patients know we might not be able to be in Bontoc today. Some of our regular patients travel from other villages to have us monitor their blood sugar and blood pressure. So it was important to us that we make it back. Although, we let our girls sleep in while Lisa and I went to the clinic alone.


p.s. We thought when we arrived home in Bontoc, that we would not need to return to Baguio for a while. But today, our ATM card would not work in the machine. Since the only place in Bontoc that will take a card is the ATM, this is a problem. (Bontoc is a completely cash-based community.) We have emailed our credit union in Michigan about the problem, but may end up making a quick trip back to Baguio just so we can get cash to use in Bontoc. Pray that the ATM issue will be resolved, soon!


  1. Glad you had a safe trip and hopefully the ATM issue will get fixed soon.

  2. How far are you from Baguio? No way of getting money would be tough. Sounds like the ATM needs fixing!

    Holly W.

  3. We are over 6 hours away from Baguio so it is not just around the corner.