4/9 I was awoken by sirens, constant barking dogs, whistles, and crazy traffic horns. This is at 6:15 AM mind you... ah Manila. We had quite the view of Manila bay but apparently there was some kind of running event across the street for The Day of Valor, a new holiday to us Westerners. The jeepneys, motorbikes, taxis, and even a few bikes were out in full force. This is the same place that was still boomin 4 hours ago in the dark right? This place is absolutely unreal. This seriously is a city that never sleeps. I'm looking forward to seeing more of it but probably won't catch much rest here.
We grabbed breakfast at the Hotel Jen buffet (not too bad btw) and checked out the hotel pool before Ramon picked us up for our big day. On the way to Samaritans Place Ramon told us about Th Day of Valor, some facts about Manila and the area of Silang, and facts about traditional Filipino life.
We stopped at a Korean restaurant, yes we've been eating more Korean food than anything, before entering the gated community where SP is located.
The gates were guarded by some serous looking security guards, and that's good. We pulled up between 2 large gated buildings and Ramon said,"We are here". Liza and I were pretty nervous and I'm sure that Joshua was too. We met several members of the staff and they seemed very friendly and caring. There were cameras out and people taking video of the big event as we walked into the area where Joshua and his "house parents" were. There were hugs, tears, and lots of awkward excitement. It was a strange but wonderful thing to meet our 14 yr old son do the first time. We all knew that it would take time to get to know each other but we were finally together after almost 2 years!
We spent the ext few hours in the play yard with Joshua, the other kids, and the rest of the staff. Everyone was playing volleyball, basketball, Ping pong, and anything else in sight. It was an amazing experience playing with all these cute kids that we wish we could take home as well. There are so many good kids at this place and the Samaritan's Place and staff are such an amazing blessing. I really can't say enough. They really are a family and take very good care of the children. I'm finding that I really love Filipino values, food, culture, and everything I've encountered. We had Joshua's favorite "American" dinner of fried chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, and fresh mixed veggies with a few staff members. We were so tired that we hit the sack around 9 in our specially prepared room. Joshua had his own bunk bed in the room. What a day. We were all exhausted.