Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Down on the Farm

Hey Everyone,

Here's some more stuff we did in the Philippines:

We went down to the old farmhouse where my friends, the Perpuse family lived up until the late 1960s. The farmhouse is not lived in anymore, and the Perpuses are not farmers anymore, as they are increasingly going abroad (mostly to America, some to Europe) to work and then retiring in the Philippines. The family gives generously to the local church and has built a nice school called the Perpuse Learning Center for grades K through 3 in the town of San Quintin.

Here's Farmer Yogi - Howdy Y'all!

So the old farmhouse is not inhabited anymore, but someone from the family usually goes there once or twice a week to feed the chickens and check on the two dogs that live there. There's also mango, jackfruit, and star-apple trees that they still harvest the fruits from. So we went down to the farm one day. We took the farmtruck shown here. OK, guys, who can tell me what make of truck this is? Answer is below.

The truck is homemade. It has a toyota five-speed engine, rear-wheel drive. It is not a 4x4, but it has very powerful low gears. A lot of people still build their own cars in the Philippines, and every family has at least one or two guys who are self-taught mechanics.

So then we come to the old farmhouse. This is the wife of my friend Jhun who took us there that day.

To get water, the people drill down to the water table and make a pump. They then pump up the water. Here's Jhun's wife, her daughter Theresa, and Cherry and Josie doing laundry at the water pump. Most people still do laundry this way in the Philippines.

Here's a shot of the old kitchen, showing the wood stove, and some pots and pans. Many people cook in kitchens like this, or simply build an outdoor fire in their backyard and wash dishes at the pump.

Now its time to check on the star-apples and mangoes. I volunteer to pick mangoes. This is done very similar to the way apples are picked here in Washington State. There is a makeshift ladder constructed from bamboo, and then you have a long pole with a hook and a little net on the end to pluck and catch the mangoes. Sometimes a bucket is tied to the end of the hook pole instead of netting. This is me standing on a ladder stretching to get at some mangoes that are about 25 feet off the ground.

Here's Cherry hooking up the bucket for Jhun. He was after some big mangoes we couldn't reach even with the ladder and pole. The mango trees here are old, some of the fruit is 40 or 50 feet from the ground. You have to climb the tree and then extend the pole from the branches to get them.

Here's Jhun climbing back out of a mango tree.

Here's Theresa taking a cookie break.

OK, farmer boys and girls. Enough for today. Join us tomorrow for trips up a mountain river rapids, and into the mountains north of Manila.


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