>The Danger Zone (For Goats)

>We rent a big van to have a weekend at the hot springs. Sherwin’s Mum has asked me to keep a bullet on my person at all times, for protection. I am not sure if this is a magical bullet, some kind of amulet, or just practical. I hate guns and bullets, but if that’s what his Mum wants then I will carry it with me.

While we had the van, everyone decides to take a trip to see an uncle living fairly nearby. We drive through Cotobato, and into Sultan Kudarat. This is the danger zone, where tourists are recommended not to go. It’s a heavily muslim area, you know, the one in the news, with rebel groups, guerrillas, bombings, tourist kidnappings…. I have to say that it’s a hell of a lot safer for me to be there right now.

We arrive, and I am eager to use the bathroom.

I can wash my hands here.

There is a goat tied up next to a boiling pot. Not a good sign.

Inday, the generous Mum of Kat, Sherwin’s sister-in-law, peels a cool root vegetable.

There are alot of prize roosters to be seen. These are for cockfighting, of course.

The kids, all cousins, gather around me and just stare.

We start taking pictures.

We get in the van to go somewhere. I am not sure where we are going. We end up at a church that the sister-in-law, Susan, belongs to. The disciples of this church have tattoos on their forehead, a feature I didn’t notice immediately in Susan. You see, this is no ordinary church. It seems to be a unique religion, a combination of Catholicism, Karate, and Yogic principles.

I didn’t realize at first that this visit had a purpose. I was told that the ex had put a curse on us. Sherwin was to die within 3 days and I within 5. I stifled a giggle. This was no laughing matter. Curses are not taken lightly around here. Sherwin’s own Grandpa had died of a curse at a young age. Furthermore, the ex’s family were well known in the village for their dark arts.

I realize the bullet must be protection against the curse.

The priest is seated in the church and seems to be open for questions. He is an impressive figure, seated in a white outfit, white fedora, and a long flowing white beard. He has what looks almost like an eye tattooed on his forehead, tattooed arms and various snake bracelets and bling. It turns out this man is the head of this church, and also the inventor and original grand master of Sphinx martial arts. He takes a lock of Sherwin’s hair and puts it into an incense burner and swings it around him. “Don’t forget his heels!” I cried out. He has already pinpointed things about Sherwin that he couldn’t possibly know. He speaks about past witchcraft done to him and dark magic. I am called up to sit next to Sherwin. I am nervous, and I don’t know why. He asks me how I feel about the curse. I told him, that I believed if I only harboured good thoughts and feelings inside me, the curse cannot touch me. If I can get rid of my negative thoughts, I am sure I will be safe, because it is only those negative thoughts that will hurt me. The priest nodded in agreement. He suggested some meditation, some yogic practice. I didn’t need the incense, he agreed. He asked me if I had heard about his martial art. It’s famous in martial art circles.

Here is the church itself. If you want to read the writing there, click on the picture to make it larger.

The priest’s son poses for a shot.

The son and another disciple, they were of the most tattooed people there.

There was a really cool vegetable growing on a tree there. Sherwin’s Mum recognized it instantly.

It was good and crunchy and sour.

We get back and the party is in full swing. The live goat is gone.

Time to check on the stew

The goat meat gets chopped up. All except the head. That was saved, and also shaved.

Sherwin adds lime vinegar and some spices.

A fish grills

We leave for the hot springs and everyone falls asleep in the van.

I try and capture the setting sun in the rice paddies

We get a giant family room for everyone. Everyone parties. Baby Ira dances for everyone, much to our delight.

I notice, and smell, the goat head in the corner. They took it with them. I’m not sure why. I keep my mouth shut.

We take Baby Ira for a walk. We see a big frog

Videos of Dancing Baby Ira to come!

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4 Responses to >The Danger Zone (For Goats)

  1. Betsy says:

    >So I think you’re post-dating all of these pictures and stories and that you’re already back at work. How did days #3 and #5 go? Anything spooky happen? I think I would have still been nervous in spite of myself!

  2. Debbie says:

    >When you said it was going to get more interesting real soon, I had no idea that this would be what was coming next!! What drama. I’m glad you are still safe and posting, 5+ days after. *hugs* Miss you tons, hope you’re having a great time towards the south pole!! -Debbie C.

  3. Goofball says:

    >getting cursed? I my gosh, talk about an unsual vacation adventure. It would freak me .

  4. >Why was the ex so mad? Can’t she find another guy? Oh now that I’ve said it, she might curse me too.BTW, regarding Filipinos apologizing for being poor – my mother does that too, all the time whenever we have visitors in our home in the Philippines.

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