Welcome to the Philippines!
This past September, I was able to travel to the Philippines for the first time ever. Now, my parents went to the Philippines for their honeymoon in 1976. Instead of going for leisure, I went with Wycliffe Associates, a global partner with Wycliffe Bible Translators, on one of their Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation (MAST) program. And how I got there was a great story but that’s a different post.
The images you see above from a small town called Bagabag on Luzon Island. Our team flew into Manila and spent one night at a very comfortable hotel called Red Planet, Aseana City. I arrived Friday early afternoon and extremely tired and jet lagged. Yet, I managed to stay up until 2000h local time. I managed to sleep very well that night to wake up at 0430h Saturday morning to drive eight hours north. We arrived and had a great lunch and despite the heat and humidity went to set up the place where we would be working with the local translators the next two weeks. This is what a full day looks like once we started.
This photo is the lunch from the first Sunday. Still tired and jet lagged, but hungry enough to eat siaopao (steamed pork buns), rice, cucumbers, and noodles.
And what does a MAST program entail?
- Wycliffe Associates’ goal is to translate the Bible into every language. At this event, translators from 7 ethnic groups and 10 languages came to learn how to translate the Gospel of Mark into their language.
- As a foreigner, I do not speak any Filipino languages. The team is to help the translators; many of them is their first time. Under the watchful eye and help of veteran translators from Wycliffe Associates, Wycliffe Philipines and SIL, we provided training on the MAST 8 Steps, kept them on schedule, and encouraged them.
For me, this is completely brand new. I have never heard of the 8 Step process before. Never been on a trip like this either. Yet, here I am by the grace of God and under His sovereign will. I had a rough idea and that was it. So what else I can do?
- Observe and learn. And ask questions. Lots of them.
- Offer up your skills when you see the opportunity. I traveled 7500 miles around the world and if I did nothing, what a waste. If I wanted to travel that same distance to do nothing, I should have saved my money and stayed home.
- Do not ever say “no.” “No” means a closed mind.
And that is what I did. WA was rolling out a new translation recording software with no documentation. Volunteering to do tech support and having knowledge of how tablets work, I created new documentation for them. Not the best, but usable. And it was used. Next, I noticed that one particular group’s language used Roman script with certain special characters. I found a hotkey maker and installed it to write a simple script for hotkeys mapped to those special characters. That saves lots of time because publishers do not have to spend time going back to fix the words which had those characters. Next, I installed it on every laptop and taught others to use it. Lastly, I helped our area director with some admin work.
The food in the Philippines was extremely tasty if you don’t mind rice as a staple for almost every meal. One dish that a coworker suggested was pork sisig. Strangely, her idea of what sisig should taste like is different from my experience. It must be a regional difference. It is basically the soft meat from a boar’s head that is boiled down, baked, then deep fried, and served over rice and pickled vegetables. It has a touch of mayo.
Of course, I also fulfilled my wish to eat at a McDo in every country too.
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