Just got back from another wonderful — but sticky and hot — trip to the Philippines. It was great to be able to spend another week on Marinduque with Catherine and the Rivamonte family, her incredibly generous host family that lets me film everything! Almost everything. They continue to take care of me even though Catherine moved out to her own apartment last month. But, I draw the line at them doing my laundry. Fortunately for me, I’m not there long enough for it to become a problem.
This time I was accompanied to the island by Michael Christian Cardoz, a young filmmaker from Manila who set the Matalaba High girls’ hearts on fire (and maybe a few of the boys’ too) with his adorable smile and TV star good looks. I couldn’t have asked for a better assistant! I think some day I’ll be carrying his gear! Here we are with Catherine late one night after I filmed her eating her standard fried egg sandwich dinner (yes, even the mundane activities of a Peace Corps volunteer are good cinema). Oh, yes, I am wearing a UNC hat. I earned Honorary Tar Heel status when I got two UNC grads to agree to let me pester them for three years with a camera.
We spent several days filming at Matalaba High School, where Catherine has become a patient and beloved teacher. The kids — boys and girls alike — are shy in the classroom but burst into outrageously charismatic singing/dancing/modeling butterflies during the innumerable performances I witnessed, including one in Boac that must have featured at least five groups dancing to Maroon5′s “Moves Like Jagger”. I hope I never have to hear that song again.
I also got to catch up with Gina Hesiak, a PCV serving in Mocpog, the closest community to Catherine in Santa Cruz. Here they are at their favorite restaurant in Boac eating the house speciality: meatballs. Yes, sweet and sour meatballs. O! the Philippines is place of many wonders!