Thursday, May 29, 2008

Preparing to Leave Manila

Friday Morning 5:45 AM
Makati City, Philippines

Good Morning from Metro Manila.

Our flight arrived about 5:00PM – one hour late from Dumaguete (but that is pretty much par for the course for Philippine Air Lines. We have come to expect delays and flight cancellations on PAL, which is why we try to fly Cathay Pacific for our international flights. They are as different as daylight and dark. PAL, however, has treated us well on the two occasions that we have had flights cancelled.

Yesterday afternoon a representative met us at the baggage claim area and processed vouchers for the nine of us for rooms at the Charter House Hotel in downtown Makati City, meals while here, and two taxi/vans to transport us. No complaints about the service, only disappointment that the flight cancellation forced us to leave Dumaguete a day early and miss the second night of the crusade in Sibulan. I am happy to report, however, that Pastor Valdez left the sound equipment and musical instruments in Sibulan and since we had paid to reserve the municipal auditorium for two days, Pastor Neri Rio and his congregation from Sibulan were going to utilize the opportunity and finish out the last night of the crusade. Praise the Lord!

What a city Manila is! It is a huge metropolitan area and downtown areas look very similar to New York City or Chicago. There are, here in Manila, the extreme examples of poverty and plenty side by side. There are vast areas of slums with people living in the most deplorable conditions, and yet gleaming skyscrapers, malls and banks that rival anything you have ever seen in America.

Makati City is in the southern part of Metro Manila and was about a thirty minute harrowing drive from the airport. The traffic in this city is horrendous and the signs and lines on the streets mean absolutely nothing! Horns are utilized more than brakes and it is a miracle that there are no more accidents than there appear to be. You would NOT want to drive in this city.

Our hotel is directly across the street from the Green Bank Mall. Adjectives that come to mind to describe this three story mall would include swanky, opulent, upscale, and beautiful. The merchandise is top quality and the prices are astronomical. While walking through the mall last night, one member of our team remarked, “We’re not in Mayaposi any more, Toto!” Alvin, the taxi driver, told me that Makati City is the chief business city of the Philippines. I believe it. The place looks like lower Manhattan.

I am typing this in my room and hope to find an internet café which will allow me to post this to my blog. In the mean time it is time to wake Jay, get some breakfast, and prepare for the taxi’s to pick us up at 9:00 for the ride back to Nino Aquino International Airport.
Our Cathay Pacific flight is due to leave for Hong Kong at 12:30 PM and we are expected to arrive back in Los Angeles at 2:40 the same afternoon (Friday).It is always so good to get back into Los Angeles. Once on American soil, I always say, “I can get home from here!”

Our team members are all well and in good spirits. I thank God for the opportunity to work with each of these wonderful folks. Even though the bulk of our mission is completed, please pray that we will have good witnessing opportunities as we travel half way back around the globe. Prayer for safe travel would also be our request, as the weather report for Hong Kong is calling for strong thunder storms and there is a new Typhoon brewing in the Pacific.

Baboo, I’ll see you on Saturday Morning, Lord willing!

Love to all.

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