Well I am back safe and sound along with my wife and I must say, it is good to be home. We both enjoyed the trip and as expected, I have lots of stories that I will relate to you in the upcoming days along with lots of pictures to post once I get them downloaded, processed and uploaded. For me, this trip was more special because it was our first trip as husband and wife, which meant that I was treated more as a close family member than the stranger that I was last time. I was given the title Kuya Ed by my wife's slightly younger cousins (lots of them), which is a term of respect meaning roughly "older brother." Those cousins from a different generation than us referred to me as Tito Ed which translates into Uncle Ed and often blessed me or touched the back of my right hand to their forehead as a means of showing respect to their elders. Likewise, I bless my elders when there to show my respect, much to their amusement and appreciation. In short, I was accepted and loved as one of the clan... all three hundred or so of them... and felt at home.
My last trip to the Philippines has three main goals. The first was to meet the immediate family, the second was to get a blessing for our upcoming marriage in the States since most (and as it turned out all) of them would not be able to make it, and lastly to explore the upper Luzon part of the Philippines. This trip was different. My wife and I both wanted to spend more time with all of the relatives during the holidays and not do so much traveling. As a result, I feel that I understand the culture quite a bit more than my first time around and got to explore my wife's heritage a little deeper.
I thought initially, that I would continue the Joe Philippines title of the series and take up where I left off on my last trip but for me that title is one of an explorer and this time, the trip was more about family. So I decided to come up with a different title for my series, which will eventually be linked in my sidebar that better suits the purpose. What I have decided with my wife's help is to name it "Kuya's Philippine Journals." I hope over the next few weeks or perhaps months as I slowly relate the stories and the pictures that you enjoy them as much as I did in experiencing them. Thanks for reading.