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Philippines Olongapo Mission
Our mission president, President Dahle, celebrated his birthday this week and included the senior missionaries in his celebration. We have heard about the Pawikan (sea turtle) Conservation Center for a long time. We were so excited that we were going to be able to experience releasing the baby turtles into the ocean. (Here we go with more beach pictures...but we do live on the South Sea.)
We learned that there are 3 types of marine turtles that swim to the shores of Mabayo to lay their eggs. There are other types in other areas of the Philippines, but we get eggs from the Hawksbill turtle, the Green turtle, and the Olive ridley turtle. The turtle lays the eggs in a deep hole they dig on the shoreline...and then the mother swims back into the ocean! This conservatory collects the eggs and moves them to a protected area to hatch. Eggs are laid during the months of September-February and take several weeks to hatch. The baby turtles are about 3-4 inches when they are released into the ocean. As with babies of all kinds...these baby turtles are so cute!
After releasing turtles, we just enjoyed walking the beach and talking for awhile before heading to the remains of the Philippine Refugee Processing Center where over 400,000 refugees came from war ravaged countries. There are many military history sights in this part of the Philippines. This is the first one we have been to, but more will come!
The pictures below are from the museum...and the history of the "boat people". The refuges were housed, fed, and trained in a 'trade' skill so that they could make a living for themselves and their families. It was pretty amazing.
After the museum we headed to the beautiful beach of the Camayan Resort for President Dahle's birthday lunch/dinner. Today was a national holiday, Rizal Day, in the Philippines. The beaches and all the tourist/shopping spots were packed. We have been to this beach several times now and have never seen so many people enjoying the beach (but not in my picture!).
It is the end of another year! It is hard for me to realize that today we are in 2017! Donna and I talk about all that we have learned and experienced...and the changes that have happened in our lives this year. We want to continue to grow and improve! We wonder if we will lose 'it' when we get home and take off our badges. Hopefully we will have practiced being our 'better' selves long enough that it will stick!
I chuckled when I saw this engraved stone at the refugee camp. It says it all!!!! Our motto for the coming year..."don't worry".
May we all have the best year ever! 2017