Manila: Day 1
I had just got off work and was getting into the car to drive down to Manila to begin another two days of filming, photographing and interviewing the work of some CICM priests (an order of missionary priests). All I knew going into this was that I would be visiting a leper colony and the hospital. I've always had good experiences with hospitals, so I didn't think I would have many issues going into this one. I couldn't have been more wrong.
After about two hours of driving, we finally arrived at the church and the priest's house, where they treat me, the videographers, and photographers to a bounteous breakfast. We talk logistics, laying out the agenda for the day (which the priest graciously designed), and talking about what I wanted to accomplish during these two days of filming.
To begin with, we were led to a nearby building that was currently being used as a community center for local children. Each Saturday, over a hundred children would flock to this building to receive food, education, and play games. Due to a lack of monetary support, they are only able to feed these children once a week, and all the staff are volunteers from the local community. Ages for these children ranged from one-year-olds to early teens, though the majority were under ten years old. We spent most of the morning just watching all the children interact with each other and the staff.
We took a break for lunch and then a short siesta until we began filming and photographing again (after two bottles of white wine of course). This time, we took a tour around the church and the school that was connected with it. While there, we talked with some of the Sisters who taught there and heard about the history and needs of the school. We were also able to interview the Sisters, all three of the priests that lived and served in that area, and one of the volunteer staff. We ended the day by attending the mass that one of the priests was celebrating, taking videos and photos of him in action, as well as the people and building.
After mass, we came back to the house and had some dinner. One thing that I appreciated about the Philippines, in general, was the hospitality. Everywhere I went, whether it be in the office, another city, or even for a weekend vacation, the hospitality shown to me has been something that America has lost. On top of that, meal times are very much a shared experience. What I mean by this is, when you bring in your lunch, you tend to share it with the people around you. I noticed this all the time when I ate lunch in the office, and I think is something that a majority of American's have lost as well. But hey, those are both gross generalization and there are always exceptions to the rule.
Once dinner was over, I went upstairs to my room and passed out, knowing it would be another full and hot day in the morning.