After nearly six grueling months in the States, we have finally returned to Bantayan Island where life has taken a soft slumber reminiscent of village life in the Philippines one hundred years ago.
The sale of our home completed, we packed up our few belongings and made the 20-hour journey to our tiny seven by ten mile island atol that is to be our new permanent home. I am writing to you today from our small rental home along the shores of Santa Fe Beach, on Bantayan Island.
From the moment that we stepped back upon the white sands of this beloved island, we felt a surge of peace and tranquility that we have not felt since our last stay here this past January. This morning as I prepared myself to open my Macbook and write the first article since settling in, my wife walked the short distance to the open air market to purchase our daily groceries.
Every morning at about six, the local fishermen and farmers gather in the town square to offer the public their proud display of fresh fish, meats and vegetables.
The wonderful bright colors of the vegetables, mixed with the smell of fresh fruit and meat leave you with a sensation in shopping that we have never experienced in the U.S.
The people of Bantayan Island do not store a week’s worth of vegetables in their refrigerator or “Ref” as they refer to it here, they simply walk to the market every morning and buy what they need for that day. In this way they save on electricity in running a refrigerator and the unending waste that Americans experience in having unused food spoil in their refrigerators.
This past Friday we took a short 30 minute flight from the island of Bantayan, back to the larger island of Cebu. There we took a taxi to one of the very large and well supplied and modern malls.
When we arrived on Bantayan Island we brought with us a small television and DVD player from the states. These electronic appliances are manufactured to use 110 electric current. The Philippine islands supply 220 volt current. If you plug your American appliances into Philippine electrical outlets, you will immediately see a puff of smoke and hear the sound of crackling as your electronic appliance is “fried” from the inside-out.
Most Americans who bring these appliances to the islands, purchase a “step-down” transformer that lowers the 220 current of the Philippines to the American standard of 110. One of our purchases in Cebu was for one of these step down converters. Other purchases included a small German made hot water heater for our bathroom shower and sink.
In the Philippines, the majority of the 93 million people who live here, do not use any hot water in their homes whatsoever. They have grown accustomed to the shock of a cold shower and even enjoy the refreshment that the cold water gives them after a day in the hot and humid climate of their homeland.
The aircraft that we journeyed from Bantayan Island to Cebu in is a small 10-passenger plane that skims across the land and water at about 3-5,000 feet.
This allows for a wonderful view of the clear emerald green waters of the islands and the lush tropical vegetation. It was a delight to be able to land in Cebu after just a 30-minute flight. The normal route to Cebu from Bantayan Island is by a 3-hour bus ride and 1 1/2-hour ferry.
After our first week back on Bantayan Island we have become aware that possessing less materially and in living a quiet and simple life everyday, is where the blessedness of life dwells.
It seems that the Lord did not create any of us to undergo the daily stress that an abundant material life provides us. It is in getting back to a simple and carefree lifestyle that we understand now just how wonderful life can be.
We look forward to future posts here in sharing with you the life and culture of Bantayan Island, as well as edifying and encouraging Bible studies and articles. Thank you to all of our readers who have patiently waited for us to complete our move, without the benefit of a flow of articles the past two months.
We look forward to sharing with you this incredible island and people from the perspective of an outsider who is daily becoming more “Filipino” in his inner man.