Friday, December 27, 2013


Celebrating holidays abroad is a mixed bag. I love experiencing new things and being with new friends, but I miss my family and friends desperately.

    Globetrottters PI 1st 030 

Headstone & Criles 2013 067 july2012 050

july2012 057 Summer 2013 181

Summer 2013 007  Summer 2013 225

Summer 2013 287

Wow, that was a trip down memory lane and I can’t even pick all the pictures of friends that are missed……bunny trail….so any way…No snow! BUT we are building new relationships and finding new people to feast with and  new people to play games with. Doesn’t mean others have been replaced, but life would be really lonely without our new friends! Over the past 4 years we have learned to embrace celebrating together in different ways.  This is our first year in the Philippines and I find myself reminiscing about times with our Nigerien Family. New foods, traditions and lots of fun and laughs.

Thanksgiving 2012 016  Thanksgiving 2012 003

CURENigergoodbye 048  CURENigergoodbye 093

CUREChristmas 007  CUREChristmas 032

This holiday season has been no different. We started out by celebrating Thanksgiving at the Viking Restaurant with some new friends. They are American too and understand the need to get together. This restaurant had turkey but it had about EVERYTHING else too. Never been serenaded during my TG meal either!!

IMG_3188  IMG_3161


It is  weird, you are happy and sad all at the same time. Some days my heart just aches wanting to smell the brisk PA air and  then other times I am playing tennis and swimming and feel like I am on summer vacation.

IMG_3239  IMG_3249

IMG_3266  IMG_3254

So celebrating Christmas in a warm/ hot climate is different to say the least. So many things that I associate with the season have to do with tons of baking, bundling up, taking cookies to neighbors, sledding, caroling and of course lots of family and friends to see. We did some of that but had to settle for skype calls, sweating while baking, hearing carolers under the hot sun (loved the visitors but the hot sun part is something I am having to get used to)  and looking at the many twinkling lights minus the snow.

IMG_3357  IMG_3191

  We did add some new favorites though…gift giving in the mountains,

IMG_3239  IMG_3400

IMG_3244  IMG_3417

a big get together with the youth featuring Italian cuisine. My heart was full. I cooked all day. We ate, laughed, played Mafia.


We laid low for Christmas day and did not make it out of our house or our pajamas. I love having Leron home from work and  the kids off school. I pray that we can fully embrace where we are and what we are doing right now. I did not send a Christmas Greeting this year. I need to do that and will soon. Probably be a New Year’s Greeting? So many people I love and am far away from but feeling loved and blessed here as well. This was just a snap shot of the past couple of weeks. January is fast approaching and we are heading into 2014 full speed……I am so excited and FULL of anticipation!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pomelo Blossoms


This morning while on my walk I was delighted by the most wonderful fragrance….. a blossoming pomelo tree.


I sure love to eat these dandies, but did not realize what a lovely smell the blossoms had!! Makes them even more appetizing!! They are never in short supply around here, DC (that’s Davao City) is known for them! YUM!


Monday, November 18, 2013


Waling-waling may soon be named national flower

I have always loved orchids, but never had much success growing  them in the states. Here in the Philippines, there are so many varieties.

 Philippine's visit 077     050

b 016


Below are some orchids that I have growing around my house. I am just delighted when they bloom. I did not do anything to make them grow…they are just  little surprises! Here are some recent blooms.

Eden Resort 265  IMG_2480

and the latest…today’s little white delights. Little but pretty.

IMG_3097  IMG_3096

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A little Help from my Friends

Well, it finally happened. I tried balut. I had actually been dreading the when & where of this tasting experience. You see, I have heard so many things. I think people like to see my reaction when they talk about the “rubbery” little duckling beak or the feathers. My goodness it was one of the featured eating challenges on Fear Factor!! Balut is a delicacy here in the Philippines. It is an incubated duck egg. You can see vendors riding their carts with big white buckets attached.  They honk a horn and you can get them fresh and hot. People LOVE it…..well, they love durian too, I guess  that may be another post? I am not to the “LOVE durian” stage either! Well, let me get to the point. As you know, the name of  this blog is “Something Wonderful”. I celebrate the great things that I experience in life. Well, I could not bring myself to title it “Balut”, so I am focusing on my balut eating company.

I innocently revealed the fact that L & I had never tried balut. Since the table was already full of great food, I guess I did not think that I would be trying it any time soon. BUT a quick phone call and  balut tasting was suddenly in the plans for the night.


Ives and Aileen welcome us into their home for our Friday night study. We love our Friday night small group/ Bible study time. Filipino, Korean and American (us). We laugh, pray, study and talk about deep things that make us who we are. Our love for Jesus and reaching the lost are our most common bond. I appreciate them so much and they made the balut experience not so daunting.

So, back to the balut….if you did not read  the link, I will spare you. I just could not get over the thought of eating a little duckling fetus….bones, feathers, beak! Leron said that I actually cheated.  I tried the penoy (the eggs with an “s”) which are only about 6 days of maturity. It tasted and looked like a soft boiled egg.  I cracked it open, threw in a pinch of salt and scooped it out with my spoon. NO bones, NO beak, NO feathers.Whew!!!


Leron tried the 14 day….it is a little more formed.

20131115_204117  20131115_204247

There was liquid when he cracked it open and everyone was raving about it. They call it “soup”. You put a pinch of salt in the egg and slurp out the soup. Crack the egg enough to get the whole “thing” out. And wa la…..Leron ate the whole thing at once.


I am sure there will be many more chances to try again….16 day? Not sure that is for me? I think Leron may be up for it??  The more developed, the harder time I think I would have. I love that we were surrounded by wonderful friends and laughter for our Fear Factor Challenge….. eating balut.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Market Adventure

Well, I finally did it! I asked my friend Marlene if she would like to show me how to ride the public transportation to the market. She was an excellent guide. She had to show me around as I acted like a giddy tourist.  It proved to be such a fun experience. So we visited the Agdao Market. First we hailed a tricycle.

odds & ends 023

This is a motorcycle with a covered cab attached in the back with 2 benches to sit on. It filled up quickly…I  think I counted 11 of us. I was not sure we would make it up  the hill. Really it is one motorcycle carrying 11-12 people only 7 PHP (.16 USD). We paid our fare as we exited the cab at the bottom of the hill. Now we crossed the street and waited for  a Jeepney that was going on the route we needed. Here is a picture of the ones I like…the older ones. The fare was just 8PHP (.19 USD).Ours looked like the second one.

  Phil markets 081  odds & ends 024

Not a long wait at all. The Jeepney dropped us off right next to the market and there we were.



The market reminded me a lot of the Petite Marche in Niger. Lots of small stalls full of things to buy…produce, eggs, meat and beggars too. The fish were the first thing we came to. Big and small fish. Beautiful chunks of fresh tuna and swordfish.

Market Sushi 007  Market Sushi 008  Market Sushi 009  


The meat section turned from fish to beef, pork and then chicken…and then the produce. Many great veggies and fruit I recognized but many I did not. Lots of leafy greens. Root vegetables. Eggs, and h snacks….see the pork rinds a hangin?

IMG_2951  IMG_2948

IMG_2952 IMG_2956

I enjoyed looking around. One stall was making fresh lumpia. The man would dip his hand down into the large container of batter and just apply it to the hot griddle with his hand. These are used to wrap and make egg roll type foods. I have had both savory and sweet lumpia.


Palm heart, coconut, bean sprouts and tofu, I think….

IMG_2946  IMG_2947

  Another stall was selling nuts and Marlene had fresh peanut butter ground. MMMM.


Chicken heads anyone? How bout chicken feet?

IMG_2950  IMG_2949


IMG_2961  IMG_2962

It is funny here. I still pause when I want to take pictures. In Africa so many times people would want money. I always want to make sure that it is okay….it is almost always more than OK….. here are a few guys who wanted their pics taken. These first guys were selling these dolls. When I said no thanks, they said, “just take our picture then.” The next set of guys were just goofing off and they even posed. So fun.


IMG_2965  IMG_2966

We finished our shopping and hailed another type of tricycle to get us to a main plaza where we could catch another Jeepney home. Here is our driver, a view out the front (you can see us in the rear view mirror) and another cab that was the same, smaller size than the first.

IMG_2967  IMG_2970


We made it to the plaza and watched for a Jeepney that would take us where we needed to go. The Jeepneys have their route printed on them. They get pretty full and I was instructed to stay toward the back so I could get off easier….would have been easier if I was not lugging a watermelon everywhere….there it goes after dropping me off…it was pink.

IMG_2974  IMG_2975