Jolo, Philippines

Walt Okon visits Jolo
Journal of the Trip to The Philippines with Rosie

01-09 March 1998:

Rosie Lee Go and I are not married yet.  We are engaged to be married and this is a trip back to Rosie's home town to meet her Family.

Rosie and I going through the process of getting ready to make our first trip to the Philippines together. The week prior to the trip on one of preparation. The custom is for the traveler to buy presents for all the relatives in the Philippines that they are going to visit. Rosie is very much engaged in the process of buying the little presents. This gets us both excited about the trip and make the trip the so much better. I am also excited about the trip and fully participating in the acquiring of the gift and the packing. We get special boxes for the trip so we can pack the maximum allowable and take advantage of the full 70 pounds authorization for the two authorized boxes that the airlines will allow for check in.  I have learned that this process of packing the boxes and weighing them for the exact weight is like a family tradition.  Everyone participates.  It make the trip so much more meaningful.  It is truly a lot of fun.

09 March 1998: We wake up early in the morning at 6 AM. Rosie drives to Walt's house and we park her car in the garage along with Walt's Honda Prelude SH.  The Van is all packed and we drive to Jay Tates house. Jay, Walt's best friend, will drive us to the airport at Washington National. Jay drops us off and he drives the Van home. We check in at the Northwest Airlines counter. The two boxes we packed for check-in are right at 70 pounds for Walt's two. Rosie's boxes are weighed in at 73 pounds each; but, the check in person allows us to check them in anyway.

The first flight of the trip is our plane to Minneapolis.  It is full od people and every seat is taken.  It is a OK two hour trip. We have a two hour wait for the next plane a 747 to take us to Osaka, Japan. The 747 is also almost full. But, we are lucky enough to get four seats in the center cabin together. In this way, Rosie can stretch out and sleep. They serves a nice lunch of chicken curry.

11 March 1998

We are still traveling. We are now in the Manila Domestic Airport waiting for a plane to take us to Zamboaga. Zamboanga is in the southern part of the Philippine Islands.  When we arrived in Manila, we were meet by Jimmy Go, Rosie's Brother. He now lives in Manila.  he has lots of kids and most are married with their kids.  Rosie's family is a big family.  Jimmy Go took us from the International Airport to the Domestic airport. Getting to the Domestic airport was easy. But, we had to wait from 10:30 PM on 10 March to 4:50 AM, 11 March 1998. Once we did the baggage check in and got to the Gate areas , it was quite pleasant in the Domestic Terminal. We had to pay extra baggage of about $30.00. The airport now was using airport xray scanners so they don't open our bags. I did some video of Rosie sleeping and of the terminal.

4:30 AM - We got on board a new Airbus 320 of the Philippines Airlines. I am impressed with their aircraft and the crew. They are very professional and provide a very professional service. I was also impressed with the movie screens that came down at every other seat and they displayed a program (Computer based) with maps of the aircraft actual flight path, speed, direction, elisped time, arrival time and local time. All this was being up dated real time. This aircraft was flying at 555 MPH. Since we will arrive at 6:09 AM on 11 March and there will be day light, I hope to take video of the landing.  I will ask what time the sun comes up. I think it will be light enough. It was light enough; but the flight attendants said no that we could not record during landing. It is ashamed because the sight was beautiful as we came in for a landing.  The beaches of the Philippines are the best in the world.

6:30 AM - We were met at the airport by Rosie's sister Vivian Go Lee and her husband Ging Lee. They took us to there home which was about a ten minute drive from the airport. They seem to live in the suburbs of Zamboanga. There house is in a walled in compound. The wall is about 8 feet high. It has a big steel gate and the "Helpers" open and close the gate. Vivians and Gings house is beautiful. It is clear that they live well compared to the rest of the people. Their house is very clean and the floors are all polished hard wood and marble. They had a full breakfast waiting for us. The kids were at school and they would not be home for lunch until 11:30 AM. We had a very nice breakfast. Vivian had arranged for a professional massage person to come in and give Rosie and I a full body massage. I was able to shower and shampoo in a beautiful bathroom part of a private guest room. The Massage lady came in and performed her magic. It was a very special treat. The kids came home from school at 11:30 AM and I did get to meet all of them.

 Vivian, Ging, Bobby Lee, Glenda, Tara Lee,  Iris Lee, Gingrich Lee, Cherish Lee, and Krystle Lee
Ging and Vivian drove us back to the Airport at 1 PM to catch another flight to Jolo.  Jolo is Rosie's Home Town.  So we are still traveling.  It is not easy to get to Jolo.  At the Zamboanga airport,  we met Andy Go Tua (who is a nephew of Rosie) who was also going back to Jolo. Andy and his family lives in Jolo.  This time we flew on a smaller plane.  It is a 50 seat Falkner turboprop aircraft.

It was a good flight and Andy is a great guy. He is the son of Malinda, Rosie's oldest sister.

11 March, 3:15 PM - We arrived in Jolo. We were met by Melinda [Suy Eng] Go Tua (Rosie's Oldest sister), her husband Kocksuy Tua (Melinda's husband), Andy's wife and their three daughters. Melinda and the girls drove Rosie and I to her house. Melinda's house is also in a compound.  There is a large school or some kind of public/community building next to the compound.  In side the Go compound are houses and a the lumber mill. Philip's house or Rosie's Mother's house is on ther other side of the Lumber Mill. They are connected. This is where Rosie grew up until she went away to college.

Malinda house is inside a compound with a ten foot wall of cinder block around it. We had cake waiting for us in the kitchen and a Coke a Cola. The kids and Rosie were busy opening the boxes.

After the Cake, I helped Angeli Mein Y Tua (Daughter #1) age seven; Born 25 May 1991 to set up the Wize Kid Computer that I bought for them. It is working well and there is a lot of interest in the learning games.

5:00 AM - someone is downstaires playing the panio. The rosters here and there are a lot of them can't tell time. They have been crowing all night. One starts and then the other answer. There must be about seven different rosters her in Jolo.

13 March 1998, Friday

I woke up at 6 AM, Washed and came down. We had a wonderful breakfest. The plan for this morning was to take a drive up into the moutains. Melinda [Suy Eng] Go Tua (Rosie's Oldest sister) and her husband Kocksuy Tua were are host for this trip. We were accompanied by Annabelle Que who is the Niece of Kocksuy Tua. Of course, we had two body guards with us all the time.

19 March 1998 - Cebu - Rosieand I went to the SM mall, We bought two new suitcases. P 1,959.50 = $48.98.

19 March 1998 - Cebu - Rosieand I went to a gift shopwith nephew Hockson. He knew the owner and the owner said for us to take 50 % off of everything. We bought lots of little things to fill up the suitcases. P 4,459.50 = $120.00.

20 March 1998 - Cebu, We are up

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