NOTED NCR Road Trip (Last of Four Parts)

This was the longest road trip I have been in, and though it began with a lot of trepidation, it ended up, by God’s grace, being a trip to remember.
 

I will always remember how the Lord sustained my strength throughout the trip. A few hours before the trip I was feeling feverish and nauseous. Moreover, I was so concerned about my fractured coccyx (tailbone), which could not stand prolonged sitting, and my asthma, which flares up badly when in an environment filled with airborne dust and pollen. But despite travelling on the road a lot, and despite being covered with dust from head to foot one afternoon (such that my companions told me I looked like espasol), and despite the lack of sleep, I remained strong! Thank God! Thanks, too, to those who prayed for me.

To save time and resources, we decided to travel overnight from Manila to Isabela (which took us 9 hours). We stopped to stretch and rest our tired bodies at this gasoline station in Nueva Ecija. Can you see the image of our Lord in the background? What a meaningful symbol for the fact that He was with us from the beginning until the end. How kind He is!

I will also never forget the joy in the faces of the teachers and school administrators whom we met. And I will never forget how I belly-laughed a lot with the teachers of San Vicente as dust covered us from head to foot while travelling by jeepney on rough dirt road. What a blessing it is to be alive, and to freely give and receive.

With the teachers of San Vicente High School, with whom I laughed a lot throughout our dust- but also joy-filled rough road trip from Minuri to San Vicente Elementary Schools in Isabela.

I will also never forget how my companions and I bonded together in such short a time. I knew Eppie and Sally professionally, but the rest were new faces. But, by God’s grace, we all enjoyed each other’s company. I will also always remember how my companions were so caring toward my nephew, Paolo, who, on our way to Bangui from Pagudpud, had a headache that was so bad he vomited several times. They were all so solicitous toward Paolo, especially Rod, our mystic.

Spontaneous fun. We didn’t really plan to spend the night and swim in Pagudpud, but we made the decision while laughing a lot (long story) traveling along the Patapat viaduct, and it was a great decision, thank God!
Paolo and Nong Raymund in the clear waters of Pagudpud

Finally, I will also always remember the beauty of the provinces we visited, and the delicious dishes and delicacies of the regions.

Sumptuous feast. The teachers of Minuri Elementary School prepared this splendid feast from locally grown/caught ingredients. Not in the picture are the many fruits, the buko salad, and the malunggay salad. Many liked the dish of tiny fish, whose name I forgot. I personally liked the diningding.
Paoay Church vs. the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. Which is more beautiful, Paoay Church (above), or the Cathedral of Pisa and its famous Leaning Tower (below)?
(Photo taken June 7, 2010) I’m surprised that I honestly can’t decide which is more beautiful, Paoay Church or the Cathedral and Leaning Tower of Pisa!

Many thanks to my companions, especially to Sally, who organized the trip, to Eppie, who believed in its success, and to Mar, who drove us with amazing skill and patience. All glory to God!

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