Philippines Visit, Merle's Family (Malaca Clan) Reunion, Part II
Thursday, we visit Manila.  Here, we are at the edge of the SuperMall of Asia in Manila, bordering Manila Bay.

The mall was like malls everywhere, with a few exceptions: 

--99+ percent of the people were Filipino (surprise!!),

--The items offered in the food court included some broader known corporate entities like Starbucks and Cinnabon, but mostly were local fare (filipino food),

--In the department store, at noon, an announcer noted that there will be a moment of silence, during which he read a prayer about the Virgin Mary

--and then instructed us to "resume shopping."

We visited the Manila Aquarium, which had some neat exhibits.

Here, I pose with the crocodiles.  That was close enough to these guys.

 

Of course, like people everywhere, some visitors had thrown coins into the crocodile pen despite instructions not to.

Merle!  Watch out!!  A shark!!
Ironically, just outside the Manila Ocean Park, which is a nature preserve of sorts, the water in Manila Bay had a good amount of floating garbage.

Thursday evening, Nanay (Merle's mother) pulls some educationally related strings (from her career as a teacher) to get us access to the basketball court for Friday am. 

 

It's not what you know....

Friday am, we're off to play basketball, but first a quick photo of the neighborhood in the background.
It was fun, but the sweat pattern on the shirt developed in about two minutes.
Action shot!
Back at the family compound, we help stir the Ube, here with Glenn, the handiman and driver.  We are stirring with branches of a coconut tree.
More stirring, but under careful supervision.
Saturday, for the big family reunion, we are driving down the street through the neighborhood...

Friday afternoon, we went to another mall, but allowed time earlier for Merle to visit with her friend Grace from high school. 

 

Afterwards, we saw Toy Story 3.

...until we reach the private resort, which was called "Private Resort," which had two pools and places for gathering and celebrating. 
The reunion banner.
Another pose.
JM lets me use his water wings...yay!

The kids there had more fun with water balloons than other kids I've seen in more developed countries with more expensive toys.

 

A  lot of the kids were very friendly and tried to teach me Tagalog.  I proved to be a frustrating student for them!

Whether it was because I was a foreigner or a doctor or just standing by, I had the honor of making the first machete cut to remove the head of the roast pig, the lechon.
That was hard work...
 
so time for ice cream!!!

Merle's maternal grandfather, Pedro Malaca, had 11 kids, ten of who were at this reunion.  If there is one thing Pedro excelled at, it was fertility!

 

Pictured here, top row, Jane, JM, Michael, Merle, MW, Joelle, Michelle, Joseph, Patty.  Bottom row, Paulo, Chico, Me Ann, Nanay (Merle's mother), Alan, Tata.

To see pictures from earlier in the trip, click here.

Quite a trip.  Travel time calculated from leaving the family compound to arriving in Albany, GA, excluding time visiting with Merle's sister in Jacksonville, 35 hours!!

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