Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jet Lag

jet lag: a condition that is characterized by various psychological and physiological effects (as fatigue and irritability), occurs following long flight through several time zones, and probably results from disruption of circadian rhythms in the human body.
Our family traveled some 7700 miles across the Pacific Ocean crossing several time zones on the way...and back.   We were jet lagged when we got to the Philippines disrupting all our relatives with our unusually early waking-up and going-to-bed times.  When we could finally adjust to the time difference, it was time for us to head back to California.   We are jet lagged again.  The kids are going downstairs at two o'clock in the morning to get some milk from the fridge and Tim at four eating some cereal. 

The temperatures have dropped a lot since we left and therefore our bodies also have to adjust to the cold weather condition.  The daylength is a lot shorter now too - about 9 hours of light.  Let's assume that we are really adaptable to the changes in the climate - that still does not make our adjustment easy.  Why?  We still are lagged behind in so many ways.

When we left we knew that we were arriving on Thanksgiving Day.   We planned to have a traditional Thanksgiving meal the next day - which we did.  It was very good and relatively easy.   We even used our nicer plates, goblets, serving dishes, and even our finer cloth napkins.  It was like the real deal.  We enjoyed our belated Thanksgiving 2010.  The bad news is that we saw our friends on Facebook and they are now decorating their Christmas trees.  If there is such thing as "season-lagged", that would be the best word to describe us now.  Our six-foot fake Christmas tree can be easily brought down from the attic along with the boxes of stored Christmas decorations up there.  I could ask Tim or Brahms to bring them down and they would comply.  Psychologically, however, I am not prepared for seems like I skipped the incubation period for the Christmas spirits to develop in me.  I could pretend that I already caught it but it is not the same.  I need to learn from my children who are busy working trying to catch up, on their own pace, with what they missed in school and hoping that their class has not gone so far ahead.

On the other hand, jet lag can be beneficial to mental well-being.  In spite of all the ads in the mail, the usual urge to go shopping is absent!  Hooray!  This is great!  Now all I have to do is to be creative; make use of my "disrupted circadian rhythms" to think of ways to celebrate Christmas stress-free. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Aparri Cagayan

Boats bound for Linao.

Our visit to Aparri was mostly about the market (palengke).  My children wanted to see the life in the semi-urban parts of the province.  Aparri is one of the major towns in the area in fact it is where my sister (who lives in Abulug) and her family would go to buy appliances or when they want to go see a movie.  

The market is a very fascinating part of the town because it is the center of activities.  It is situated near the river.  People come to Aparri by land and water. 

Fountain at the center of the market.

Narra bed for sale.


Small mud fish (attasi)

Main entrance to Aparri.

Aparri is more crowded now than I can remember.   However, I saw many signs of progress.  Houses are now bigger and better; they now have several internet cafes in town and chain restaurants.  We got to eat at Jollibee (the Filipino counterpart for McDonald's Hamburger.  Brahms thought that their hamburgers taste like meatballs.  There are NO free refills for sodas and the cups are small.   In the Philippines, it is very common to see spaghetti and rice served at restaurants like Jollibee, McDonalds ,and KFC.   

Cagayan River.

Drying shrimp (aramang).


We walked several rows of fish and meat stands.  My kids watched one vendor make sausages.  Every part of the pig and chicken are sold in the market.  At the fruit and vegetable stands we bought a few kilos of lanzones which we ate in the car. 

More boats.

Aparri: Pride sign.

A house near the river.

No disposable cups at Jollibee.

Cagayan River meets the Pacific Ocean.

...and then it rained.

My kids definitely learned something more about the earlier life of their mother...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Orteza Family

The Orteza Family

My sister Rowena and her husband Jun, have five children: Jacob. Jeremy. Liwliwa, Lyka, and Rhiza.  They live a simple life in a barangay (village) called Santa Filomena.  He is an industrious farmer and a very kind husband and father.   When she is not cooking or doing laundry or cleaning her house, she tends to her own little store and serves as the Barangay Secretary.  My sister moves more slowly than I do that sometimes I feel impatient watching her do her work. :)  But she has a different style ever since we were younger. 

Their children go to Alinunu Elementary School.  They are dedicated to learning about God;  they attend church every Sunday unless it rains.  (They believe that the kids would get sick if their heads get wet.)  They host a children's bible school at their house once a week.  We send bible study materials for the teachers to use. 

It was really nice to have spent time with them as a family.  The cousins got to know each other.  My nieces and nephews like learning English from their cousins while my own kids wished that they could speak Ilocano better. 







Lyka and her dad.



Jun and Lyka



Rural Life in Abulug

Sun, ricefields, and coconut

People and Kuliglig.

Harvesting coconut.

Jungle backyard.



Homegrown ducks

Ricefields and tourist.

Ang pag-iigib.

Sharing a hammock

Partly-nipa hut

Girls attend bible school in Batal.

Tim is giving away lollipops.

Saturday bible school at my sister's house.

Miling enetertains passers-by.

Meryenda at Auntie Mae's

Building sandcastles

Beach fun.

Shannon enjoys the sun.


Rain and orchids

More rain...