Umbrella warfare

The weather here in this season is quite predictable: rain.  However, today there were a couple hours of sunshine and it was amazing.  The sun seemed to dry up some of the roads and moldy buildings.  But, then in the later evening it rained again.  There had been a celebrity sighting at one of the malls and so the Filipinos were out en masse.  When it started pouring, Dave and I were walking through these massive crowds.  Everyone had their umbrellas out.  From experience, I now know that it is very hard to walk through a crowd of all heights with umbrellas (mainly short with umbrellas at eye point).  Sometimes you would lift your umbrella up over the passerby ‘s head, other times you would both do that and slam into each other.  Hopefully, I never have to endure that umbrella warfare again.

I learned a little bit more about the filipino school system on this trip.  This year the national government of he Philippines has added two more school years.  This makes it mimic the American school system.  Before Filipinos would go to school until age 16 and then either graduate or go to college.  The Philippines does not want to get behind other countries in terms of building a skilled workforce and therefore decided that adding these two extra years will put them on par.  It is a big move to do that.  This means that not only do schools have to accommodate more students, but also teacheers need to learn higher level subjects.  Colleges also will need to make amendments by starting out with higher level courses.  I will be curious to see how this change works out.

I watched a sport today that I had never really seen.  Apparently it is the Filipino national sport, takraw.  It is a football/volleyball mix.  I have seen south Americans play it on beaches…never Asians.  The ball is a weaved plastic one the size of a large grapefruit.  There are three people per team and you have three hits before the ball has to go over the net. Unlike volleyball, one person can use all the hits.  Now the tricky thing is that you can only use your head, foot or chest.  The serve is funky in that a teammate tosses the ball to another teammate standing in the middle of the court and he or she must side kick it over the net.  Some of the really good players can do a complete flip as they spike over the net.  That takes a lit if hip flexibility.

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