Monday, November 16, 2015

Not Having Internet Can Be a Drag

We did’t have internet at home for over two weeks which is a bit of a challenge, especially for working on a BLOG!
We will be making one addition to our BLOG. Each post we will include a scripture we have been studying or thinking about recently. Elder Devin G. Durrant suggested that we “Ponderize” scriptures, a combination of ponder and memorize. The scripture we chose recently is from Mosiah Chapter 3 verses 7 and 8 in the Book of Mormon. For those not familiar, this is part of an address by a prophet / king called Benjamin about 124 years BC.
7. And lo, he shall suffer temptations and pain of body, hunger, thirst and fatigue, even more than man can suffer except it be unto death; for behold blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and abominations of his people.
8. And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of Heaven and Earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning and his mother shall be called Mary.

On Saturday the 31st Sister Wolcott completed the English as a Second Language class Sister Hiatt had started for youth. Knowing English is key for improving individual prosperity here and these children worked hard on their English skills. Most Filipino’s can speak and understand English, particularly the younger generation and it is making a difference in their lives.

We thought we might share a little information about the town we live in. It is on the East side of Palawan Island, about the middle North / South. In the 2010 census Puerto Princesa had 223,000
residents with a growth rate of approximately 3% per year. At that growth rate there are about 250,000 residents now in Puerto, about 25% of the Palawan Island population. It is deceiving as one drives through town as it doesn’t appear to be nearly that size. The population centers are very dense, small homes with local shops to supply daily neighborhood needs. There are two mall type shopping areas, but they are small compared to what one would see in America. About 50% of the population lives in a “soft” house such as a nipa hut, however less than 10% are living on someone else’s land without permission, I expected the percentage to be higher.

The cost of living is very low, unless one buys American food which is expensive, especially if imported from America. Tourists have excellent accommodations available from plush resorts to low cost pension houses. A decent hotel with air conditioning will cost about $30 US for a night.
Health care is ok for minor needs, but surgery is a high risk, even in the best of the hospitals.
The road system on the island is about 1950’s standard compared to America, expect to average about 60 kilometers per hour (37 mph) on road trips and about 10 to 15 kilometers per hour (6 to 10 mph) in town.

There is a lot of building and renovation going on with a major airport expansion underway.
A street in Narra last Wednesday after a rainstorm
The weather has been generally pleasant, this is the cool and rainy season and a great time to come. We haven’t seen much rain, but when rains, it really rains. And cool is relative, the coolest we have seen is 76 degrees. We are acclimating pretty well, Thursday Morning on our walk we talked about how cool it felt with the light breeze, it was 85 degrees.

November 4th through the 7th we spent in Manila. We had training at the Mission Home, went to the Manila Temple, went shopping, had dinner at Gulliver’s with most of the other Senior Couples and came back to Palawan with a Senior Couple that will be replacing the Couple working the South part of the Island. That was our first experience driving in Manila…we are glad to be back in our little bungalow on Palawan Island!
Dinner in Manila with other Senior Couples serving in the Manila mission
This past weekend we went to Tay Tay about 5 hours North of Puerto where we attended Sunday meetings, spent time with the Elders, checked the Bahay (apartment) and met briefly with the group leader. This small group is associated with the Roxas branch.

We came back to Puerto Monday afternoon. We enjoyed the drive seeing rice cultivation in all stages. This is a pretty intensive process with methodology that is a mix of old and modern, labor intensive, but using current agricultural standards to maximize production.

We also saw some local logging with a Carabao. And yes we acted like tourist’s, gawking and taking pictures. The family had a good laugh at our expense, but we have some good photos. We are fascinated with this large draught animal used for so many things in the Philippines.


  1. This came through Facebook. It was great to see.

  2. Great read! Just about as good as being there (or maybe better!) Thank you for taking the time to prepare this for us. Ed

  3. Love you Uncle Jerry and Aunt Joanne! You are doing good work!

    1. What fun adventures you and Joanne are having!