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The Philippines is made up over 7,000 islands with over 170 local languages. The national languages are Filipino (Tagalog) and English, which are taught in school. Quezon City North Mission is a Tagalog speaking mission and often (especially in the city) it is mixed with English to form “Taglish.” The mission is a mix of green, provincial landscapes and busy crowded city. Often, people living in Quezon City, moved from their native islands or provinces to find work in the city, and therefore make the adjustment to speak Tagalog rather than their local dialect.
The Filipino people are a happy, fun-loving people. They are predominantly Christian and hold their families in high regard. Religion and missionaries are common in the Philippines so people welcome them to the community.
The Church officially arrived in the Philippines in 1961 and in 50 years, church membership grew to nearly 650,000 with over 1,200 congregations. Members are willing to work with missionaries on visits and are willing to give referrals to the missionaries.
As a missionary, you work closely with the wards and attend and participate in ward meetings.
In the past few years, the direction from the Philippines area presidency has been to focus on reactivating the less-actives, strengthening the church, and finding potential priesthood holders to teach.
The Manila temple is also located just outside the Quezon City North Mission, however, missionaries are permitted to visit the temple according to the arrangement of the mission president. The current mission president allows missionaries to visit the temple once a transfer.
As a missionary in the Philippines, expect to eat rice everyday. The dish eaten with the rice is called “ulam” and usually consists of chicken, fish, pork, or canned foods. “Lechon na baboy” or roasted pig, is a common traditional meal eaten with rice. Members and investigators often offer “merienda,” a small snack like crackers, soda, chips, or various Hostess type goods, after sharing a message with them.
A common mode of transportation for missionaries include Jeepneys — an elongated Jeep where passengers enter in and out the back and sit on one of the two benches facing each other inside. Passengers pass their fare to the driver or his assistant (conductor), by saying “bayad po,” meaning payment sir/mam. To get off the Jeep, you simply say, “para po,” meaning please stop, or knock on the ceiling of the Jeep.
Tricycles are also commonly used which is a covered sidecar attached to motorcycle. As many as four to six passengers can squeeze onto one tricycle at a time.
Things to watch out for are pickpockets. Generally, crime is moderately-low.
Upon entering a house, it is polite to take off your shoes.
You eat most meals with a spoon in the right hand, and a fork in the left. It is also common to “magkamay,” which is to eat with your hands.
When meeting or greeting an elderly person, it is a polite gestures to take the back side of an elderly person’s hand and place it to your forehead. This is call “mano” or “bless.”
Kumusta po kayo? – How are you? (with respect)
Magandang umaga-good morning
Ingat-take care (often used as a parting goodbye)
Elders NEVER are required to wear a whole suit. The mission requests that you DO NOT pack one.
Wear quality shoes. You will be walking everywhere. Your shoes should also be able to endure flooding during typhoon season. Rubber shoes are recommended. Rubber shoes for men are inexpensive and readily available here if you are a size 11 or under.
Umbrellas are optional. It depends on your preference. Many missionaries just brave the rain along with the locals. Females usually use umbrellas. Umbrellas can be purchased at the local “palenke” (open market).
Most silk ties shrivel up in the humidity. Use ties with fabric blends.
Bedding (including sheets and a pillow) will be provided for every missionary upon arrival and cost $25 or P1,100. No need to pack any.
Small hand sanitizer bottles are essential to pack and use constantly. You can find these at local drugstores in the mission.
Bring a small, lightweight proselyting bag. While proselyting, you will only be bringing small Books of Mormon and a few other items. A stylish bag that has a shoulder strap is a very good option.
Some people believe that the Philippines is void of toilet paper. The mission assures all missionaries that yes indeed, toilet paper is widely available in the mission.
PO Box 1243, QCPO
Nia Road, Diliman, Quezon City
1100 Metro Manila
Straight from the Philippines Quezon City North Mission:
What items were hard to get or not available?
Pasteurized milk is available, but expensive; they mainly use boxed milk. If you have large feet, sometimes it is difficult to find large shoes.
What did you eat the most of?
Rice with chicken, pork, and fish. Also pancit, which is a skinny noodle. The members also fed us lots of snacks similar to Hostess products and Sprite.
What is the craziest thing you ate?
A sixteen-day old duck embryo, also know as Balut. Chicken intestine.
What was most surprising about the culture?
Filipinos are very hospitable and fun loving people. Often, they use their “shyness” as an excuse for not going to church.
They love basketball, boxing, cockfighting, billiards, and karaoke.
They also love Americans and will call at you when they see you walking by.
What advice would you give to someone going to the Quezon City North Mission?
Focus on building the church. Provide fellowshippiers to your investigators so that when you get transfered, they have a friend and support.
**Did you serve in the Philippines Quezon City North Mission Mission? If so we would love to hear your advice and your stories! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org**