“Life is difficult” starts Father de la Peña his preach in the only church of the teeny-tiny island of Pamilacan in the Philippines. There are plenty of examples why life is considered difficult in the country of 7107 islands: it is enough to remind people of the previous year when a tsunami and a devastating typhoon hit the Visayas within only 3 weeks. The traces of those catastrophies are still visible at certain parts of Bohol island. The school children sitting on the front benches learn the phrase very quickly and they repeat it after every example the priest come up with. By the end of the preach, they learn, though: no matter what difficulties you need to deal with, your happiness is in your own hands, and you need to take responsibility for it.
I think deep inside every Philippino knows that, because no matter how poor they are and what kind of catastrophies hit them, they keep smiling, singing and giving. What do they give? Food, a smile or some nice words…whatever they can.
To be honest, we had heard and read lots of bad things about the country before, so we were rather skeptic and very cautious first suspecting a terrorist or a thief at every corner, but our skepticism evaporated quite soon and what remained was the most honest admiration for these wonderful people.
A glimpse of heaven on Earth