The Cebu Philippines temple and the family history center closed for two weeks for their semi-annual maintenance, etc. This is the time when the temple missionaries take off for sight seeing and the family history missionary couple typically follows suit.
Julie and I decided to start off by visiting the neighboring islands of Bohol and Panglao for four days. We also decided to make part of the time a business trip thus allowing us to leave the mission boundaries. Our employee manager David liked our idea of visiting the Tagbilaran Stake Temple and Family History Consultant for some one-on-one training. We also coordinated this with the Cebu East Area Temple and Family History Consultants. We were technically representing the area consultants as we visited.
This past Saturday we took our assigned vehicle on the ferry and headed for Bohol. From Bohol, we drove over the bridge to the neighboring small island Panglao and checked into a small quaint beach side resort. It was out of the way from the popular tourist resorts down the beach and quiet at night. It wasn’t anything fancy, but the family that owns it are genuine. It was clean but basic. A no-thrill place, right on the beach.
The following day we drove back to Tagbilaran, Bohol and to the stake center to attend a nation-wide stake conference broadcast originating from Manila at which Elder Jeffery R. Holland was the visiting authority. All of the districts and stakes in the Philippines received the same broadcast. Such a strong spirit was present. While at the conference, we saw quite a few young missionaries of the Philippines Cebu East Mission. We also met Elder Michael and Sister Susan Anderson from Logan, Utah, the MLS missionary couple assigned to the islands of Bohol and Panglao. It’s always refreshing to meet another senior missionary couple. We visited and made arrangements to go to dinner together the following night. They will be going home in three weeks. There will be just one senior MLS couple left in the Cebu East Mission after they leave. They are in need of more MLS couples. There are couples in our stake back home that would do a wonderful job serving here.
After the conference we met with Sheila Acuña, the stake consultant and Bryan Besa, the stake high councilor over family history. It proved to be a productive time spent helping Sister Acuña and Brother Besa understand how to use parts of FamilySearch and the need for Sister Acuña to mentor her ward and branch consultants on a one-on-one basis. We taught her the purpose of the consultant planner in FamilySearch. We will continue to help the area consultants mentor Sister Acuna as she follows suit to mentor her consultants.
On Monday, Julie and I drove to the Tarzier Sanctuary on Bohol. There are a few sanctuaries on Bohol that are literally preventing Tarziers from becoming extinct. They are nocturnal animals and we were lucky to spot a few of small creatures asleep in the trees on low hanging branches.
We then visited a small roadside butterfly and bird exhibit that we came upon while headed to the Chocolate Hills at another part of Bohol. We paid our small admission fee and walked into a netted enclosure with butterflies flying around our heads. The guide went on to explain how they breed. The guide handed Julie a pair of butter flies to hold. She held a female by its wings and the female’s male partner was dangling from the female connected by whatever they use to breed. We were told that the breeding session for a male-female pair of the variety of butterfly that Julie was holding will last non-stop for 24 hours after which the female will shortly die.
We eventually made our way to the Chocolate Hills. In the summer time the hills are chocolate in color due to dying vegetation However, at this time of year, the vegetation is green and healthy and hills reminded me of scoops of pistachio nut ice cream. While there I spied a Filipino woman wearing a teeshirt with the word ‘Nauvoo’ printed on front. I pointed her out to Julie and Julie in turn approached her. She was indeed a member that had previously visited Nauvoo. She has spent several years living in California and Hawaii. She spent several years as an ordinance worker at the Laie, Hawaii temple and was now back in Cebu to live for a year or two.
We finished off the day dining with Elder and Sister Anderson at a very nice restaurant. The waiter went the extra mile to unfold our cloth napkins and lay them on our laps for us. I’ve never had that service at restaurant before in my life. The food was wonderful. The company was wonderful.
We spent Tuesday snorkeling, napping, watching a broadcast of Elder Holland on our laptop speaking to the employees, volunteers, and missionary couples that work under the direction of the Area Office, which includes us. We also drove to a small cave, paid our admission, and walked down several steps into a cavern with stalactites coming from the ceiling and a pool of water on the bottom. The pool water comes from the ocean and is a combination of fresh water and salty ocean water. I have seen bigger caves, but it was interesting nonetheless.
Tomorrow we travel back to Cebu. Next week will go with two temple missionary couples to the island of Siquijor.