So, yes, the house has been blessed in the local practice of a service, sprinkling of holy water and tons of eating! More than 60 people -- not including about 50 neighborhood kids -- attended the blessing last Saturday. Father George, one of the local priests, did the blessing. We all lit candles and followed him from room to room while he sprinkled holy water on the walls and floors. Even the bathroom got blessed. Phew! And just in case the rat comes back, the priest has agreed to throw in a cat for free! :)
Check out the party pics:
Father George is doing his thing during the blessing of my new hut in Punta, Dancalan.
Father George is sprinkling holy water around the hut during the blessing.
Kain Tayo! Let's eat. A Filipino House Blessing is not complete without a ton of food...6 kilos of Bihon noodles, 100+ lumpia rolls, 100+ sandwiches, 100+ puto muffins, etc.
Kanta Tayo! We sing. And of course, no Filipino party is complete without karoake....
Ma'am Jacinto (the librarian) and I yuck it up at the party...
Pictures of my new neighbors, hanging out at home:
This is the sweetest kid. His name is
Gerald "Tong" Lopez and he's really smart but his parents don't let him go to school because there is not enough money to pay registration fees and they want him to cook and clean and take care of the other children while they work, fishing and selling fish.
My new "sisters" -- Grace and April, 14-year-old twins, and Shyrell, 7 -- live nextdoor to me. Their parents, Ate Basing and Kuya June, own the hut I live in.
Ate Basing and Tong hanging out in the new hut...pretty classy for a hut, eh?
Punta English Club
I've started an English club in Punta for the kids who live right around me. It's especially good for the kids who do not attend school because of lack of pera (money). Last Sunday, I read a Filipino folktale in English about a girl who falls from the sky and the animals find a way to make a safe landing for her by building the island of Bohol out of soil from the bottom of the ocean. The little ones had a hard time...but the older kids enjoyed:
Me, explaining a story to the kids in my neighborhood class.
The members of the Punta English Club, ages 6 to 15. Some of them do not attend school because their parents cannot afford to pay a yearly fee of less than 200 pesos (less than $4) and daily transportation fees of 12 pesos (less than a dime).