Philippines and Fishing - Another Guest Post

Greetings Family, Friends, and Guests! I have returned for another guest post on Kassie's blog. This entry will cover my three week "vacation" to the Philippines and a deep sea fishing trip my office took two weekend's ago. I will let the pictures do most of the talking.

I was in the Philippines for three weeks learning how the US military executes a Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) operation in cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), US Agency for International Development (USAID), and US Embassy. The operation was called Balikatan-2013 and this is the 29th iteration of US-AFP joint training. I learned quite a bit while working with my Army, Navy, Air Force, & AFP counterparts. 

One day after work we took a field trip to the local war memorial in honor of the survivors of the Bataan Death March. It was a humbling experience to see the endless list of names of Filipinos that did not survive this episode of the war. 

Many Americans lost their lives while they were herded north to the POW camp. The memorial in the above picture honors their names. The cross is a recreation of one the prisoners built in their POW camp. After gaining the trust of a couple guards, the prisoners managed to acquire a few bags of cement meant to improve their huts. They actually built a cement cross in the tall grass; both in an act of defiance to never give up as US soldiers, but also to maintain some semblance of humanity. The original cross was discovered decades later and now rests in a national museum, with this replacement honoring the story.

This is me.

Work was work, but we still managed to find a little bit of time to have some fun and see the sites. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Clark. Yes, I daily made jokes about not having a clue how to evacuate 20,000 people or transport 250 tons of relief supplies..... "But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night." The hotel resides on base property we turned over to the Philippines in 1996 so the houses look like base houses, streets are straight and narrow, and scenario reminiscent of old time South Carolina. 

Main street through former 'officer' housing

There were quite a few restrictions on our libo time due to things y'all don't need to worry about. We still managed to get out and experience the culture.

The food was good overall. One plate I had was called Sizzling Sisig and it came out on a big, sizzling skillet. It was made of pork...pork belly, pork ear, tendon, nose, fat, and everything else we normally don't eat. The gorilla is holding Sizzling Sisig. Food was cheap, around $4-5 for a feast and $1.50 for a beer.

I managed to get in a round of golf before the exercise began and another 9 after it ended. It was pricey, but the course was beautiful and well kept. For a little bit extra you could pay for a towel girl and an umbrella girl. Filipino women know how to dote on visitors. I tagged along with two Koreans and they had the whole gambit: eight women following them around doting on their every need. It was a circus. No, I did not have extra support as I am cheap and frugal. 

Mimosa Golf Course

The weekend after I returned from the Philippines I went deep sea fishing with a few guys from the office. For $120 ten of us hopped on a chartered boat from Salty Rods with all gear provided. Easy and simple. The day started out beautiful.....

Seas were a little rough, but only one member got seasick. The first buoy we stopped at was fruitless so we sped off for another about 30 minutes away. As soon as we arrived and started drifting with the current we all started hitting tuna. By the days end we had more than enough to go around!

I did not want to waste any food so I only kept my Mahi Mahi and 4 out of 12 tuna.

Once we arrived back at port the deckhand immediately started cleaning the fish. 

And once I arrived back home I immediately started to cook the fish.

 Simple fried fish: flour, egg, cornmeal w/ seasoning

 End product of fried fish

 Most of the tuna I cubed and marinated in soy sauce and wasabi

The other technique was a simple pan fry in butter, salt, pepper, and shikuwasa (lime juice)

Kassie is not a big fan of seafood. However [comma pause for effect] due to my superior skills in catching, preparing, and cooking the fish she absolutely loved it. 

Hope y'all enjoy the blog entry!

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