Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tacloban Philippines

We were so blessed to stay in the heart of Tacloban. We were next to a Jollibee's which is the Filipino version of McDonalds. Our hotel was the Z Pad. It was a great place to stay. We had a kitchen and living room area with 3 separate bedrooms that each had a bathroom. It reminded us of a dorm room here in the USA. Scott and I were happy to actually have a double bed. It was neat and clean and very comfortable.

Our expectation prior to leaving Utah was that we were basically going to take one bag (a backpack) and that in many ways we pretty much would be camping. We were pleasantly surprised by our fabulous accommodations and never missed the luxury's of home.
Directly Across the Street - View from our sitting room window!
The craziest part about this hotel is that on both sides of it and directly across the street were typical Filipino homes. The humbleness of their homes was striking to us however I am sure they felt as comfortable and blessed as we do in our homes here in Utah.
For the most part is was pretty quiet but as soon as it started to get dark there was lots of activity. People coming and going laughing and having a good time. I was so impressed with how clean and well dressed everyone was as they exited these meager living conditions.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Up early and off to the airport to fly from Manila to Tacloban to meet our missionary. If not for the jet lag we would not have been able to sleep. It was interesting as we checked into the airport. Security for the most part is pretty lax. It seems like every job that is being done there are 3 people working in the same space that one American would be expected to work in. Behind the check in counter 3 beautiful Filipino woman worked instead of the typical one. The people were very friendly and helpful.
 There is no doubt that this is the highlight of our trip. Nothing that happens from this point on can compare with this moment. Missionary Madi and some of the other sister missionaries were allowed to come to the Tacloban Airport to meet us. This would assist us with transportation to our hotel safely and remove any issues with the language barrier. 
It was so great to visit for a short time with Missionary Madi and the other sister missionaries. We hopped on a Jeepney and were on our way to the hotel.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Day 1 - Manila Hotel

We arrived to the hustle and bustle that is Manila, Philippines. Lots of horns honking, languages we could not speak, people soliciting our business, taxis, vans every form of transportation you could imagine. We trusted the nice lady as we excited the airport doors to ground transportation as she looked so official with her security uniform and her huge badge of credentials hanging around her neck. She told us which service to take and let me know that if we rode with them "you will be safe!" What she really meant was if you ride with us we will charge you two to three more pesos than it should really cost. The Filipino people sure do love to see Americans as they can make a few extra bucks on our ignorance. However it was all good. We arrived safely at the Manila Hotel.

Our accommodations were wonderful. However it is very strange to them to provide double beds or to sleep more than two people in a room. So Scott and I had single beds and Kenzie was provided with a roll-away for her first nights sleep in the Philippines. We were so surprised with how beautiful our room was.

When daylight came we loved the view from our hotel room window. It overlooked the Manila Bay.


Manila Hotel Through the Years
The Manila Hotel which opened in 1912 and extensively remodeled in the 1970s, is a Philippine landmark, home to high society and often a scene of historic events.
1898- Judge William howard Taft issued of the first decrees of the Second Philippine Commission to create an urban plan for Manila. Architect and the city planner Daniel Hudson Burnham drafted a wide and long tree-lined boulevard that would begin at the park and at the spit's end of the bay, a boulevard that would be dominated on one end by a hotel.
1908- William Parsons was appointed to continue where Burnham left off. He supervised the design and construction of Manila Hotel and was completed four years later. Soon, a magnificent, white, green-tile-roofed California Missionary-styled edifice emerged housing 149 spacious ang high- ceiling rooms. Since then, it is a hotel that commands the best westward view of Manila's fabled sunset, the fortress of Corregidor, the poignant ruins of the medieval fortress that was Intramuros, and the palm-lined promenades of Luneta Park.
July 4, 1912- On the commemoration date of the American Independence, Manila Hotel was inaugurated and officially opened. With the hotel garbed in full regalia, four hundred handsomely groomed and elegantly attired guests were ushered in for a dinner of American roast, Philippine lobster, and French Champagne.
1912 to 1935- Manila Hotel was visited by some of the most prominent and notable personalities.
1935 to 1941- Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon invited General Douglas MacArthur to build the Philippine army in 1935, Gen MacArthur responded to the request of his long confidant and sailed back to the Philippines. During his tenure as the Military advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines, Gen. MacArthur, his wife Jean and son Arthur made Manila Hotel their home.
Quick fact: To handle the cost of MacArthur's suite, he was given the honorary title of "General Manager". He attended the monthly meetings. He, however, ignored the figurehead status and instead took control of hotel management. MacArthur's favorite food at the hotel was lapu-lapu, a grouper fish native to the Philippines, wrapped in banana leaves.
1941 December- Manila Hotel became the command post at the onslaught of the Japanese invasion. But MacArthur and his men were unable to hold off the advancing forces and he and his men withdrew to Corregidor.
Quick fact: When World War II broke out, Gen. MacArthur made Manila Hotel his command post. On the height of the war, the Japanese occupied Manila hotel and Gen. MacArthur was forced to leave. On his memoirs, he told of joining the patrol to recapture the hotel from the Jpanese High Command, writing, "I was anxious to rescue as much as I could of my home atop the Manila Hotel".
1942-1945- Japanese flag flew over the hotel during occupation in WWII.
1945- MacArthur returned and was eager to rescue his home atop Manila hotel as it was reported to him that the penthouse was intact. Upon reaching new Luneta however, they were pinned down by machine gunfire coming from the hotel. Suddenly, they saw that the penthouse blazed into flames consuming MacArthur's military library, his souvenirs, and other personal belongings.
1946 July 4- Manila Hotel was graced by the likes of Bob Hope, Marlon Brando, Tyrone Power, Secretary John Foster Dulles, Senator Robert Kennedy, Sir Anthony Eden, Charlton Heston, Burgees Meredith, the Rockefeller brothers, John Wayne, Publisher Henry Luce, Vice President Richard Nixon, President Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson, and notable personalities.
1966 July 4- The Beatles stayed at the Manila Hotel
1966 October- Manila Hotel's Fiesta Pavilion was the venue for the ASEAN Summit Meeting. Six leaders discussed the worsening situation in war-torn Vietnam.
1970- Philippine Constitutional Convention was held at the Fiesta Pavilion which was led by the political party of Marcos. Among the 320 delegates were the former Presidents Diosdado Macapagal and Carlos Garcia. 
1974 January- In accordance to Presidential Decree 645, the old Manila Hotel Company was liquidated and GSIS was given the mandate to form a new subsidiary corporation which will restore, renovate, and expand the Manila Hotel.
1976- The Manila Hotel was remodeled.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

To pick up a Missionary

The day finally arrived. July 26, 2014. The last month of Missionary Madi's mission dragged on with the excitement and preparation to travel to the Philippines to see our beautiful Sister Kramer. Early morning departure from Salt Lake City, Utah Airport to Los Angeles, California. Then a 11 hour flight to Tokyo then one last flight to Manila, Philippines. Add a few layovers and 24 hours later we had arrived.
 Salt Lake City, Utah. Journey Begins.
 Los Angeles. One flight down two to go.
Tokyo Airport! Traveling Like Champs. Tired! Getting closer to our girl and more excited as the hours and miles click by.
On Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 12:46 AM, Dixie Kramer <> wrote:
We have arrived. Big day. Madi's world. We are just going to sleep at the Manila Motel. It is super nice. We are ballers.
Cannot wait to see you.
Mama DK, Marv & KK

Sent from my iPad


Missionary Madi we have loved sharing this adventure with you. We have learned from you. We have been blessed by your spirit and your strength. We find you SIMPLY AMAZING! Thank You for your example and your testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our lives have been blessed and changed forever. XO

Last Week Fools

Missionary Madi has reached a point where as they say "It's all over but the crying!" Her mission is coming to end. Time is moving too fast. Focusing on the work of sharing the gospel while preparing mentally for life after her mission is a tough balance. Missionary Madis' mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will end July 30, 2014. She will have to return to life as she knew it prior to serving a full time mission in the Tacloban Philippines Mission. In a matter of days her parents and twin sister will board a plane headed for the Philippines to spend 9 days exploring the world that she now calls home.......
Only to be whisked away to the world they and she once called HOME.

"There is no way that it has already been 18 months!"
"It went by soooooo fast. I can't freaking accept it. To be honest it doesn't feel real yet but I have like a million people who won't stop reminding me so that helps...haha I swear my whole ward knows. It has been getting us a lot of pity dinner appointments tho :) So no complaints."
"Don't worry the typhoons have passed on to the more wicked parts of the world. I hope they don't come back here when the Kramer's show up.....:)"
"I want to thank everyone for all their support and love to me throughout my mission"
"Siguro ito ang last time nga magsulat ako ha cebuano/waray...halo halo ako hindoro yano. magpasalamat ako ha iyo ug ha aton Dios ug ha akon oportunidad ha nakapagserve og mission. diri ko marraam kay ano blessed ako ha serve paro marraam ako nga ha akon kinabuhi mas iba kon waray ako nagserve."
"This has been the best experience of my life."
 "GO ON A MISSION PEOPLE. you will not regret it."
We have a good busy week ahead of us and around Saturday or Sunday I am going to make myself do my packing. I am not excited.
"I love you all sooooo much!! 
For the last time 
Love, Sister Kramer"