April Fools Day — April 1, 2014

Overlooking Cebu city

Overlooking Cebu city

Traffic in Toledo

Traffic in Toledo

Seminary graduation

Seminary graduation

Family picture

Family picture

Kawasan Falls

Kawasan Falls

Lewis goes native

Lewis goes native

Swwimming with the Whale Sharks

Swimming with the Whale Sharks

We are coming to the airport now.

We’re there already?


We got out of the pickup as they unloaded their luggage. We gave them each a good-bye hug and tried to hold back the tears. Lewis and Celia’s short visit was over, and in a few minutes, they would be on the airplane to Shanghai and then on to the United States at the end of the week.

It was hard to see them go but oh! How we enjoyed the visit!

We picked Lewis and Celia up at the airport early on the previous Friday morning. Their plane had been delayed leaving Shanghai so they missed the last plane from Manila to Cebu. They spent the night in the airport in Manila and caught the 5 AM flight to Cebu.

People in the airport just kept coming by and asking us if we needed anything. One lady went to get water for us. Another asked if we needed a blanket. Others just asked if we were alright. I have never been treated so well in an airport.

 The airline offered to take us to a hotel. But we would only have been able to sleep 2 hours. In retrospect, though, we should have taken it. Two hours is better than no hours of sleep.

After hugs and hugs we drove to the Cebu Temple Complex and had a Philippine breakfast in the Patron House. We showed them the panoramic view of Cebu City from the overlook called TOPS. We drove slowly over the Trans-Central Highway and stopped for pictures. We arrived at our house in Toledo in time for a nap before going to lunch at Sister Vineyard’s peaceful mansion by the sea. Her beautifully set up table under a pavilion in the yard overlooking the sea was spread with a delightful feast.

What are these?

There are sticky rice cakes spread with chocolate. I made the chocolate from my own trees.

We had one, then another, then another. She sent what was left home with us.

We walked past Balwarte Park and then through the lush jungle along the Boho river.

You had better go to bed early. You didn’t get much sleep last night.

Yes. I think I will get up early and go for a run in the morning.

Are you running Robie Creek again this year?


Elder Hall and his son looked at Goggle Earth and planned a route. In the morning, we fixed fresh coconut, fresh mangos, bananas, scrambled eggs and rice. Breakfast was ready when Lewis came back.

Wow! It’s hard to run I this heat. I only did four miles before I gave out.

Did you run up the stairs?

Yes. The stairs here sure have a high rise. I missed the turn at the top and had to run through some people’s houses.

You mean literally through their houses, of course.

Yes, through where they were cooking, through where they were eating. These people live outdoors, don’t they?

Yes, they do.

Elder Hall presided at the Saturday morning Seminary Graduation. Then we drove to Kawasan Falls, where Lewis went with the others on the raft under the falls for a “super massage.” He said it actually felt more like he’d gotten beat up.

Sunday, we went to church and treated them to mango shakes.

Monday we got up at 3 AM to drive to Oslob at the southern tip of the island of Cebu to swim with the whale sharks. In the evening we had a Family Home Evening with a new convert family.

Tuesday morning, we left at 5 AM to drive to the airport in Cebu City. The visit went really fast, but we were so glad to have them here. We would love to have all our family come for a visit.

The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a slow-moving filter feeding shark and the largest known extant fish species. The name “whale shark” comes from the fish’s size, being as large as some species of whales The largest confirmed individual had a length of 12.65 m (41.50 ft) and a weight of more than 21.5 metric tons (47,000 lb), and unconfirmed reports of considerably larger whale sharks exist. Claims of individuals over 14 m (46 ft) long and weighing at least 30 mt (66,000 lb) are not uncommon. The whale shark holds many records for sheer size in the animal kingdom, most notably being by far the largest living nonmammalian vertebrate, rivalling many of the largest dinosaurs in weight.

Whale sharks have a mouth that can be 1.5 m (4.9 ft) wide. Its mouth contains between 300 to 350 rows of tiny teeth and 10 filter pads which it uses to feed on plankton. Whale sharks have five large pairs of gills. Its head is wide and flat with two small eyes at the front. Whale sharks are grey with a white belly. Their skin is marked with pale yellow spots and stripes which are unique to each individual. The whale shark has three prominent ridges along its sides. Its skin can be up to 10 cm (3.9 in) thick. The shark has a pair of dorsal fins and pectoral fins. Juveniles’ tails have a larger upper fin than lower fin, while the adult tail becomes semilunate. The whale shark’s spiracles are just behind its eyes.

The whale shark is found in tropical and warm oceans and lives in the open sea, with a lifespan of about 70 years.

Despite its size, the whale shark does not pose significant danger to humans. They are docile fish and sometimes allow swimmers to catch a ride, although this practice is discouraged by shark scientists and conservationists. Younger whale sharks are gentle and can play with divers.

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