Now I'm in La Trinidad, Benguet and have officially begun my service as a PCV. Haven't done much yet since it's the weekend and I'm not expected to my center until Monday, but I just found out that the President has declaired Monday as a holiday so I may not have to go in. June 12th is the Philippine Independance Day and since it lands on a Sunday, the Prez decided to push it over to Monday I guess.
I've been keeping busy getting to know my new host family and taking trips to Baguio. The Jeep system is a bit more complicated here than in Bayombong. Many more places to go to here than in little old Bayombong! The weather here is completely different. Who thought that I would be wearing a sweatshirt every morning because it is so cold! It rains everyday and it is beginning to be a rarity to see the sun! Soon the sun will stop showing its face to Benguet and the rains with come all day, everyday for a couple of months.
One person wrote me to ask if I live on the side of a mountain, barefoot, running from arrows being shot by little brown people. That is the complete opposite of where I live! Actually, I am in a very urban community. Heck, I ate at Pizza Hut for lunch today and right down the street from where I live is a McDonald's (which by the way, sells rice!). On the surface, the Philippines looks very westernized. Their clothes dawn the brand names from the US...FUBU, Old Navy, Gap, Nike, Adidas, etc. Once you really get to know the culture, it is completely different. Children live with their parents until they get married, and even then they sometimes continue to live with a parent. Family members will do anything for their own even if it means that they pay for a child's tuition instead of putting a roof on their house. It's amazing how dedicated and giving these people are.