Jody's Peace Corps Experience

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Festival After Festival

Here I am, sitting in yet another internet cafe trying to catch up on things. I'm in Baguio right now and enjoying the Annual Flower Festival. Lots of people, vendors, stupid things to buy, interesting displays, and parades. The parade was an amazing display of talent from local schools. Dancing and instruments. The floats rival those of the Rose Parade. They are completely made of flowers and AMAZING! I hope to snap a few pics later today as the floats are on display. I didn't actually see the parade live...way TOO MANY people. I watched it on TV at my host family's house.

It seems like I've been attending a lot of festivals lately. At the beginning of the month, I traveled to Sagada (again!) and was able to take in a cultural play. The men wore the native G-string (not anything like the g-strings back home!) and the women wore the tapis--a woven piece of fabric, wrapped around like a skirt. They played native gongs and performed many of the native dances. Really a cool performance!

Then 2 weeks ago I visited another volunteer in a nearby municipality called Kapangan. It was also their festival. I thought I was just going to watch this volunteer walk in the parade and give a speech. Instead I was also invited to walk in the parade, was announced as a "special guest" at the opening ceremony, ate lunch with some mayors and barangay officials, and then gave an award at a beauty pageant. Not bad for a day's work. It was fun and I'm glad I got to see a small town festival.

I would also like everyone to keep St. Bernard, Southern Leyte in their thoughts and prayers. There is a volunteer stationed there. Thankfully he was on a boat when the landslide occured, but he saw it happen. He also lives near the community basketball court. This court was used as the place where the community layed the bodies of the dead. I was able to talk to this volunteer last night and the stories are amazing and heart wrenching.