Pat Apura - PADI Scuba InstructorUPDATE 11/21:  While my focus during most of my time in the Philippines has unexpectedly been on providing some interpretation around Typhoon Haiyan for people back in the US, like most of the Philippines, life also shifts into a new normal and gets back to the day to day. Next week I finish teaching my class here at Silliman as well as preach a couple of times at The Divinity School Chapel and Sunday at Bradford United Church of Christ in Cebu City.

In the mean time, I have taken advantage of being here in Dumaguete to see the sights, meet some folks who know the city and generally get localized as much as possible and appropriate. I’ve toured around on my friends motorcycle, checked out the cafe scene and the most exciting part, completed by open water scuba certification. Much harder than I had expected it to be, it was all worth in on the first dive when you arrive in another world filled with creatures and colors only scene in pictures and aquariums.

If you are ever in Dumaguete, a famous scuba location, and you are going to dive or learn, please be sure to look up Pat. He is a dedicated local, firm in his teaching and calm underwater. Basically, I felt as if he taught be all the ways to NOT die in the ocean. And if you are planning on getting certified, while the first two days make you want to quit, push through . . . it’s very much worth it!

For more info about the Typhoon and my visit to Tacloban: updated blog post, picture gallery and video.

The next few days Dumaguete will be filled with excitement as the Sandurot Festival kicks into high gear. It has been going on for the past few days already, complete with a sound stage just a block away from where I am staying. And no, there are no sound ordinances in the Philippines . . . unless, “Stop music at 1:00am” is the ordinance.

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UPDATE 11/11:  I have moved my Philippines updating on my other blog. I have included some giving suggestions and will give some updates from the perspective of being in the Philippines during this time. Read more…

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UPDATE 11/08, 8:30pm – All is well:  With power restored in the area, it seems as if there was very little damage from Yolanda in Dumaguete. There were moments of strong winds and rains, but aside from a few fallen branches, thankfully, very little damage. So . . . thanks for everyone’s concern and prayers and please take some time to say a prayer or send support to help those who were hit hard by this most recent disaster. The Philippines in an incredibly resilient country, but with disaster after disaster hitting different areas of the country relief and recovery efforts seem to be never-ending. Peace all.

I am here for about four more weeks, so if you want to tag along vicariously via FacebookTwitter and/or Instagram, I don’t mind at all — the more the merrier.

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UPDATE 11/08, 12:00 – Bracing for Supertyphoon Yolanda: Thanks for all concerns posted on FB, Twitter and Instagram as I have tried to give people a little glimpse into what’s going on here in the Philippines with  the Supertyphoon Yolanda.  I can image with these images of the storm, friends and family might be freaking out, just a bit.

Supertyphoon Yolanda Haiyan Supertyphoon Yolanda Haiyan

In no way do I want to downplay the size of the storm or the devastation that is happening right now, but for those worried about me, I am fine. I am in Dumaguete which is not in the direct path of Yolanda, but we are close, so in a few hours we will get hit with a pretty raucous storm. We are home now, charging up our gadgets and hunkering down waiting for the storm to arrive.

I will try to update as long as I can via FacebookTwitter and/or Instagram, but if you want uptodate information, the hashtag to follow on twitter is #YolandaPH. But in case I lose power sooner than expected, here are a few pics for your info . . .

Typhoon Yolanda Haiyan Evelyn Typhoon Yolanda Haiyan Silliman Water Typhoon Yolanda Haiyan Typhoon Yolanda Haiyan Bird
Also, if you would like to support relief efforts please consider giving to the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance or Cobbie and Dessa Palm who are our my friends who serve here on behalf of the Presbyterian Church (USA) — and in whose home I am taking shelter.

So again, I am fine, but please do pray for the many impacted by the storm throughout the Philippines and the many people who will lose homes, loved ones and livelihood because of this.

God in your mercy . . .

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 UPDATE 11/06 – SUPERTYPHOON YOLANDA/HAIYAN: At the risk of worrying friends and family about something that they may not even know about (Go mainstream American media!) supertyphoon Haiyan (Yolanda) is def headed my way. There is no reason to panic. When my hosts get worried, I’ll let you know. In the mean time here is a good updated piece from a local Dumaguete blog, “Typhoon Haiyan on the way.”

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It’s a rough life I lead.

shadow oysters cocoa mango

You see, this month via a partnership between Silliman University in Dumaguete and the World Mission Office of the Presbyterian Church (USA) I’ll be in the Philippines to teach a short course at The Silliman Divinity School on emerging ministries, technology and pastoral leadership.

As many of you know, I have had been very fortunate to have travelled to the Philippines on multiple occasions to help build relationships between the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and the PC(USA) to help create, both strategic partnerships and relationships of support.

With this visit, Dumaguete has become my most often visited location outside of California. It really is a wonderful place. Yes, there are struggles like any community, but the feel and vibe of this college town is pretty wonderful and one that in many ways feels like another home.

One of the reasons that it does feel so much like home is because of the welcome that I, and others, have always received from our mission co-workers and my dear friends, Cobbie and Dessa Palm. The depth of connection to the issues that impact the area as well as the trusted relationships that they have with the community are truly remarkable and worth your/our support. Cobbie and Dessa work with youth, the arts, seminary students, churches, the Young Adult Volunteer program based in Dumaguete and so much more. Amazing does not begin to describe the breadth and depth of their work here.

Yes, I gush — but for those who know them, you know it’s true.

So . . . if you have a quick minute and a few bucks to help support this amazing couple, please do. In this day and age of dwindling resources from denominational office, all mission co-workers have to generate much of their own support. For those of you who know folks who are called to the kind of work, self-promotion is not in their DNA. So, I am and will continue to make the ask on behalf of Cobbie and Dessa and others. Plus, you see those pics above, they are hosting me for the month — along with sharing their pets and their ride!



Find other co-workers to support

I will post more later, but you want to follow along, I’ll be posting pictures on instagram as I can as well as adding to my facebook photo album.

PS: If you have noticed yet another blogging shift, this blog is more for personal stuff. For more post on faith, politics, culture, etc. I’m back to posting over on where I get a little compensation for traffic that I drive there.

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