Friday: Philippine Airlines has in-flight snacks that exemplify the national culinary obsession with meat; during the flight, I snacked on chicken-flavored peanuts and beef-flavored crackers. (There is an ad for "meat seasoning," which it describes via sultry voiceover as "a woman's secret." This isn't seasoning for meat; it's seasoning for vegetables to make them taste like meat so that the men in your life will... love you more, says the TV.)

I was flying to Cagayan de Oro with Tito Pax, who once threw my dad into a lake when they were college kids at UP Diliman. Tito Tophie (who helped Pax dump my dad in the lake) was going to meet us at an event called "Go Negosyo" (Go be an entrepreneur) for which Pax was speaking. Pax and Tophie aren't actually my biological uncles; we call the friends of our parents and the parents of our friends as if they were our aunts and uncles here. Also, they claim my father used to be a nerd. I do not believe them.

Several hours later, after the "Go Negosyo" theme song was running circles around my glazed eyes (short attention span + long lectures in a foreign language = MEL IS DISTRACTED) we had some fantastically spicy Filipino food (and in my case, three bottles of water) for dinner. Cagayan has more {space, trees, breathable air} than Manila, and the persistent hacking cough I've had for nearly 3 weeks slowed dramatically as soon as I arrived. We met up with Tito Tophie's family, ate fantastically spicy Filipino food, and left for school. Er, home.

They're actually the same thing. Tito Tophie's family runs two Montessouri schools in Mindanao, and their house is a small loft above the mountainside classrooms with a gorgeous view of the bay. At night you can see the tiny pinpricks of fishing ships at sea, and hear the "EH!-gou, EH!-gou" calls of the large geckos that swarm the trees and buildings.

Saturday: Foundation Day! This is an annual festival where the entire 200-odd group of K-12ers at the school put on a musical extravaganza. This being a predominantly Catholic school, the (very, very long) play progressed from the Garden of Eden all the way through Noah's Ark, then split into presentations of cultures of countries around the world that came from Noah's descendants.

The show was an unintentionally hilarious one, as it turns out. The preschool Adam and Eve couldn't get the Apple of Good and Evil off the tree and had to shrug and eat the Invisible Apple of Good and Evil instead before grabbing the Large Cardboad Fig Leaves of Nakedness Covering. Noah played baseball with his Gnarled Staff of Aged Infirmity offstage right when he thought nobody was watching. Toddlers in paired Winnie the Pooh costumes jumped up and down and waved their hands, except for a lone penguin who stared forlornly into the footlights, slightly stunned at the multiple copies of Eeyore and Tigger (isn't the wonderful thing about them supposed to be that there's only one?) costumes leaping on the grass beside him.

Music was... nontraditional, to say the least. I recognized the Gladiator movie theme, as well as the Hobbits theme from Lord of the Rings. The Russians got their segment from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, the Egyptians strutted to "Walk Like An Egyptian," and Germany... well, Germany's presentation featured small, decidedly non-Aryan children in costume waving cardboard cutouts of sausage, cheese, and beer. Then the music started, and suddenly the SS men and the pretzel ladies were doing... the chicken dance.

I almost knocked over the speakers laughing.

Sunday: My knees hurt. Whitewater rafting was involved. Apparently, my upper torso is sufficiently sun-browned to warrant only a coating of mild sunblock, but my pasty-white "I've been in jeans inside an office all summer!" legs... are not. They've metamorphed from pasty-white right to an angry stinging pink which I'm continually slathering lotion on top of. So that's what sunburn feels like. Ah, new experiences.

Monday: Visiting Tito Tophie's high school, which is built on a farm (the students run the farm as part of their studies). The school's a year or two younger that Olin (depending on whether you count Partner Year). My blog entries get exponentially shorter as I attempt to hit the minimum parental description demands before passing out in preparation for a 5am wake-up call.

Good night.