Thursday, May 15, 2003

LIVE from Camiguin Island!

Hanging out at the local Shell Station/Email cafe. It's air conditioned. Camiguin is an island 90 km from Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao. A one hour ferry from Mindanao, 12 hr from Cebu. You can also get here by seaplane from Cebu. It's become a bit of a resort island for the Philippine elite, since the terrorists have scared most tourists from touching anything that starts with an "M." Camiguin is one of the safest places. My divemaster here told me, the Peace Corps took their people out and sent them to Bohol. "There are rebels in Bohol. There are no rebels here. If there were rebels, they would talk about you and everyone would know you were a rebel."

I've got 20 minutes will my "motor," my motorcycle ride gets here to pick me up. Been riding on the back of a motorcycle everywhere here. It's fabulous! They have a few jeepneys that circle the island but many ride the motorela, a kind of hybrid jeepney motorcycle. Lots of foreigners live here: many Germans, Swiss, a few Americans. The ocean is so blue. There are 7 volcanoes here. Many hot and cold springs, snorkeling and diving, hiking and waterfalls. One hot spring empties to the ocean. You sit in tide pools as the waves crash in. I've been in the water every day I've been here if not once, but maybe 2-3 times going from ocean to cold spring to hot spring and back.

I'm staying at a place called Tarzan's Nest Resort, which is built around a tree in the middle. It's now run by the Enigmata Creative Circle. You can rent rooms here and they serve vegetarian cuisine, since Ros, the main manager is vegetarian. But vegetarian Filipino food is incredible: seaweed, young fern tips. They are hoping to attract various artists to come and well, do their thing here. That's what I'm doing. I'm teaching Kali to local Barangay Tanods (neighborhood peacemakers). It's been an incredible cultural exchange with them even though I don't speak much Visayan, we get by with my Filipino accented English and Tagalog. People are surprised that a woman is teaching. But they trust me and believe in my skill for which I am truly honored.

This is just a taste of the blogs that you will be getting when I get back to the States. I think most of June will be about my trip here. I'll discuss the people I've met and the places I've seen and what it's like for me as a Filipino American to go "home." Even if I ended my trip now, it would already be a trip of a lifetime, but I'm not even half done!

I'm currently working on txt language poetry. Everyone here has a cell phone. They don't talk they text messages. It limits you to 459 characters so they often create their own language to cut down on space.

4 instnse: gud am 2 u. hpe u r ok. M n camigin nw. scuba 2morow. hvng gr8 tme! c u l8er.

people send all sorts of poetry and forwarded text. My friend Merci's mobile was ringing off the hook with Mom's day messages. It's changing the way people write and communicate here. Plan to add it to my ongoing search for the way technology changes the way we write and the poetry that exists in that new language.

So, dear readers, you've got a lot to look forward to! Cuz I'm going to take you with me to the Philippines. Get your bags ready!

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