today i realized that puto bumbong, together with native hot chocolate is officially my favorite comfort food, here in baguio.:)

today, as we prepared for our christmas party at SOSCFI, i started working with a small group of 6 elementary kids, and for the first time, i ended up having to choreograph a little dance to “jingle bell rock.” my dance moves are incredibly cheesy, but the kids make it look fun – so thank goodness for that. today emphasized that indeed, it is sometimes really difficult to not be on the same communication level as 10 year old ilokano girls. haha, in other words, my “ms. catalan” teacher demeanor that i used at the high school in new york last year, is not transferable to the PI – that is for sure. moments today, i felt like i was in a sitcom, where the teacher would say something (me), and i would get blank stares back (them). and then i realized, ok, this isn’t working! think, crystal, think. hahahaha…so i had to slow down my talking, continue to encourage their creativity, and show them, no – we are not moving on, until YOU think of a dance move. hahaha…hilarious – well, it was after that hour of minor frustration on my part. haha 🙂

there’s a beautiful song that i absolutely love, and it’s called breath of heaven by amy grant. it’s a song about mary singing about her fear and her anxiety after she has been told by the angel gabriel that she will be bearing a child…i thought – how appropriate it would be to sing this song! and then i thought to myself, no crystal! not you. you pick someone. and so, one of the girls here is super involved in her church choir and she asks me for vocal exercises and what not…soooo i introduced the song to her, and she rocks 🙂 sooo i’m going to choreograph some staging for her, and i thnk this will hopefully be a nice opening prayer or simply part of the program for the christmas party. i got really excited because she is young, just like mary was, and it will be great! 🙂

i hung out with the college kids the rest of the afternoon today, and watched videos on the famous painting by joey velasco, “hapag ng pag-asa” also known as “table of hope.” joey velasco is a popular filipino artist here in the philippines, however, he has never been formally trained. he got really sick, and started painting, and so, started his painting career – he has since passed away fairly recently. check out his site to learn more and see pictures of his paintings: joey velasco

this painting, “hapag ng pag-asa” hangs near the table in columbus, and here in casa, and also in the corazon community – i’m sure it is other places as well…and only upon arriving here in the philippines, did i find out that there is a story behind each one of the children. after watching some youtube videos, i learned more.

joey painted this because he started noticing that his children were getting very picky about their food, they wanted to eat out a lot, etc…and so, he went to squatter areas, fed some of the children there, and took no more than 3 shots of some of the kids…he said he can’t just draw out of the blue – he had to see a picture…and so, he then created this painting. well, after the completion of the painting, he realized he knew nothing about the kids, and so, he went back to find them, and learn more about them. it was then that he discovered their lives, and wrote, “they have jesus: the stories of the children of hapag” pretty amazing! since then, he started to raise some money for these children and their families.

hapag ng pag-asa (table of hope) // in actuality, this is not a table. it is a dilapidated cardboard box.
hapag ng pag-ibig (table of love) // this is the following painting velasco created to depict the contrast

something that i thought was VERY interesting, is that in the “hapag ng pag-asa”, is that there are 11 filipinos, and 1 sudanese. the sudanese child is the one that is on the floor on the bottom left. as i mentioned earlier, velasco took pictures of the children to then create them into the last supper – well, this sudanese child is also from a photograph – from a photographer named kevin carter who won a ’94 pulitizer prize for taking this photograph during the early ’90s in sudan (if you have time, you should read about this story too – lots of articles on it) here’s the picture:

taken by late photographer, kevin carter

all really interesting stuff i learned this afternoon with regards to joey velasco’s art! it’s really inspiring, and really awesome at the same time too. if you have free time/curious/want to learn more, definitely check out some youtube videos, or look up images on joey velasco. beautiful, inspiring paintings.

…i originally wrote this post intending to talk about my experience at the jail and learning more about the commission on human rights, here in the philippines – but that will wait! bedtime is approaching. thanks for reading! 🙂


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