Saturday, July 3, 2010

My homeland trip, part 1 ...

Hi'ya all! I'm back ... hope you are all enjoying the summer!
I've been inundated with requests from friends and relatives to post something about my trip to my homeland, so here it is. But, just a little background ... about 5 years ago, my siblings and I planned to have a grand family reunion where all of us, no exception, will attend. It finally happened last month.
It all started up above the clouds ... 16- hour flight from the U.S. to the Philippines!

My friend's house, near the international airport, where I stayed for 2 days while waiting for the rest of my siblings before heading off to our province... a very uniquely built house. Most houses in the Philippines have grills for security purposes.

...then another 6 hours to our town and boy was it HOT and HUMID! My sweat was basically dripping! Due to family responsibilities, I haven't been home since 1986, although I am in favor of progress, it was still sad for me to see our town so crowded now. New roads, houses, college/university, fast food restaurants and all kinds of stores were built; I didn't really recognize the place! I had to ask my sister to accompany me to the market which was just a few blocks away because I didn't know how to go back home. Nothing looks familiar! I guess, 24 years of being away has its consequences! ;)

After a couple of days rest, we headed to our first tour ... Bataan, which was about 6-7 hours drive. Pictured below is a marker of the Bataan Death March, every few kilometers, you'll see these markers. Not sure if you're familiar with it, but during World War II, allied prisoners of war were marched along this route by the Japanese. From what I heard and read, those who were weak, stumbling or falling were mercilessly beaten and bayoneted by the Japanese. Any sign of faltering by the prisoners was enough for the Japanese soldiers to stab them to death. One of my husband's art school professors was in the Death March, but survived. My husband said he NEVER SMILED.

... just for fun! Me and my siblings, seven of us, from left to right, youngest to oldest, brothers from: Canada, Switzerland, California, sisters from: Germany, Me (New York), Switzerland and oldest brother based in Philippines.

... some of our kids.

Bataan beach ... water as far as your eyes can see. I believe this is part of the China sea?

I'll leave you with the Bataan sunset for now ... what a beauty! I'll post more photos next time. From my town, we toured Bataan, via La Union, to Pagudpud, (Ilocos Norte) Cagayan and back to our town, where after a day's rest, we had our grand family reunion parteee! ... please stay tuned?


ev said...

pretty sure it was a grand vacation and reunion nance!

happy for you.:)

Tracy said...

Hi, Nance! Oh, so happy for your that you were able to go to your homeland--and with all of your siblings there too! What a great reunion... All of you are so scattered around the globe--not easy to meet up, I'm sure. Like you, I live far from my homeland. And when I get to go home it is wonderful--oh, so good... but all the changes that happen to places make me sad, as sometimes it doesn't seem for the better. And in these tough economic times there've been a lot of changes, businesses close, places for sale, etc. But so enjoyed seeing all these photos of your trip--great shots. Love the sky photo and the one of you & your brothers & sisters all together. Very sobering the Bataan Death March... Not surprising if survivors don't smile. What a horrible moment in history. Thanks for sharing, Nance. I will be back to join in the partee! ;o)

Joy said...

Wow! You've been away so long. How did you manage that? I can't even stay away for 6 months :D

It must have been a very emotional trip. I remember the first 5 trips back to the Philippines were always tearful - more so when I started packing for the trip back to the UK. What did that feel like for you?

Love that sunset!

It's scorching over here right now. What is it like over your neck of the woods? Thanks for visiting Norwich Daily Photo and leaving your comment. Come visit again tomorrow!

Mari said...

What a grand reunion with your siblings. And, for the first time your nephews and nieces got to meet each other. I know how you feel about seeing the place with all the progress that it had gone through. I felt the same way when I went to visit after an absence of 22 years. I always have to have a guide with me so as not to get lost.

That house's design is really out of this world. I wonder if there's a way out in case there's a fire.

Ebie said...

Hi Nance! Boy! Was it good to feel back home after sooooo many years! I understand about the heat, I feel that way too.

It is a great family reunion for all your international siblings!

I miss the sunrise and sunsets back home. I know there are a lot of changes. Your photos are so nostalgic!

Looking forward for more about your trip!

docgelo said...

i like how you emphasized that most houses in the philippines do have grills for security purposes. true!

...taga bataan pala ang new yorker na si ms. nance. =)