Our second week in the Philippines has been full of activities based at or made possible by the efforts of North Western University NWU in Laoag City. We participated in a three-day series of lectures presented by NWU faculty. Among the lecture topics was coverage as such themes as: the history, economics, literature, and social aspects of the Philippines.
SSU students had many opportunities to engage with Filipino scholars in Q/A sessions following each lecture. These were rich exchanges. Gradually we are gaining an appreciation of the complexities and challenges of this fascinating island-country. We have been treated with great courtesy, hospitality and friendship by NWU staff, faculty and students as we engaged in conversations with our hosts in the classroom, at mealtimes, in the library and computer centre, and at other university venues.
The Mission Statement of NWU is that the university “…is committed to develop man’s full potential, empower him to attain excellence, uphold his dignity and worth as God’s creation and hence mold him to become a creative, patriotic and noble Filipino.” Our ongoing partnership between NWU and SSU holds much promise for SSU’s future visits to the Philippines.
When SSU students were not in class they were spending quality time with their home-stay families, experiencing exotic local foods like fried calamari, fried bananas, etc. and visiting sites around Laoag City.
Toward the end of the week the SSU group made a couple of day trips beyond Laoag City to visit historical and cultural attractions in the region of northern Luzon, including the Burgos National Museum, Vigan (UNESCO Site featuring Spanish colonial buildings), and St. Augustine’s Church at Paoay (UNESCO Site). On the second day we had time to splish and splash in the South China Sea on Valentine’s Day. At Pagudpud, we enjoyed a swim and lunch at one of the finest white sand beaches in the country – and yes, the water was warm and the tropical breeze was haunting.
— Thanksgiving for gracious, hospitable families in the Philippines that showed love and built relationship with our students.
— Travel mercies as we travel to and in Malaysia.
— May the hearts and minds of the Moslem villagers be open to receive us warmly, and may our students not be fearful as they enter into very new and unfamiliar Malaysian surroundings;
— May our time in Sabah be enabled by continued unity and cooperation within the SSU group, and may our “quiet times” be enlivened by prayer and mutual service to one another.
— Healthy bodies as the rigors of travel have resulted in some colds and upset stomachs.
Thanks again for your support,
Asia 2009 Team