Saturday, June 25, 2016


The Cocolele!
A ukulele made from three half coconut shells - not something we expected to see when Sister Tanner suggested a visit to a guitar maker in Lapu-Lapu. Well, we can check 'Cocolele' off the bucket list.
After visiting the Mactan Shrine last week we drove to the Alegre Guitar Company where every instrument is made entirely by hand and you can literally see what you are buying from plank to final product. The guitar craftsmen work in open air workshops.
Craftsmen at work.
Display of different wood used.
Guitar glue up using string.
Sanding and finishing.
Trying the final product.
Then it was on to the show room.  As we entered the building a musician began to serenade us with a mandolin. He was soon joined by a guitar player and then, the next thing we knew, Sister Tanner was on the bass fiddle and Elder Head on the maraca. It is an interesting and effective way of demonstrating and selling their instruments.
Paul McCartney could use one of these.
At an outdoor souvenir stand Elder Baladad and Elder Head model hats made from coconut fiber. Sorry Elder Head, you'll need to take yours home with you. Ball caps aren't missionary approved. Elder Baladad, on the other hand, can wear his now every day, if he likes.  (We have the impression Elder Head is willing to wait the month and a half he has left. He is not the least bit trunky - ha ha.)
This past week saw two mission conferences, On Monday there was a conference on the Island of Bohol for the Missionaries there and on Wednesday a conference on Cebu for the rest of the mission. These were held so that President and Sister Tanner could meet with all the missionaries one last time before President and Sister Maughan take over the reigns of the Cebu East Mission. Each zone did a musical presentation, Tanners spoke and the missionaries departing in July were given the opportunity to bear their testimonies. It was pretty emotional and we enjoyed it immensely.
Musical Number - 'Bring Him Home'
Final farewell.
We took this next picture as the missionaries were leaving the conference. It is such a good representation of the spirit and enthusiasm of  the young Elders and Sisters and why we love them so much.

How many missionaries will fit in/on a jeepnee?

Thought for the week

"Let me begin by reminding you that we so blithely say in the Church that life is a school, a testing ground. It is true, even though it is trite. What we don’t accept are the implications of that true teaching—at least as fully as we should. One of the implications is that the tests that we face are real. They are not going to be things we can do with one hand tied behind our backs. They are real enough that if we meet them we shall know that we have felt them, because we will feel them deeply and keenly and pervasively"
   Neal A Maxwell - 'But for a Small Moment' - BYU Speeches, Sept 1, 1974

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Magellan (0), Lapu-Lapu (1)

Lapu-Lapu Memorial
Magellan Monument

To be fair, Lapu-Lapu had home court advantage, but we'll get to that. President and Sister Tanner carved out some time in the middle of packing up the mission home to meet with the Cebu East senior couples for a mini-conference. Bells and Bocks came from the far reaches, while Tanners and McNetts came from the near reaches for a get together Wednesday evening and all day Thursday. It began with dinner Wednesday at the mission home with time to just relax and chat. After breakfast Thursday, the morning was dedicated to discussing issues and challenges we face here and how senior couples can assist. The primary focus was on how to improve unity in the mission. 

After lunch we went to visit some local landmarks. President Tanner had to stay with the movers until things were loaded on the moving truck but was able to join up with us again for dinner at Cafe Georg.  
This week we will focus on and show pictures for the first place we visited. We will try to cover the others in later blogs.

Pop Quiz.

1. Who was Ferdinand Magellan?
(Hint: Native of Portugal who, while in the service of Spain in 1519, led first European voyage of discovery to circumnavigate the globe.)

2. Where was Ferdinand Magellan killed while on his voyage around the world? 
(Hint: The Philippines)

3. Was Ferdinand Magellan killed on Mactan Island off the coast of Cebu by the warriors of the local chieftain, Lapu-Lapu, who now has the city of Lapu-Lapu named for him, which is located in the Cebu East Mission  and can be seen from the window of the mission home and is where the Cebu airport is located and where one of us received a traffic ticket for making an illegal U-turn after spending a night in the hospital with missionaries from the Lapu-Lapu Zone? 
(Hint: Yes)

Someday knowing these tidbits of information may give you the winning edge in Final Jeopardy. We are just excited to know that a major event in world history took place right here in our mission.
Mural depicting battle between Magellan and Lapu-Lapu
The pictures below are from the waterfront next to the park. This is the area where the battle between the Europeans and natives took place. Some accounts have the Europeans outnumbered by about 1500 to 49. Magellan's boats couldn't get close enough to shore for their cannon to do any good and the men had to wade to battle in knee deep water. Not a good day for the visiting team, although lacking confidence was not a problem for them. 

The tide was out while we were there and thousands of little crabs were running around in the sand. Notice how high the boats are that will be floating when the tide is in again.

Thought for the week:

"Forgiveness is the very reason God sent his Son, so let us rejoice in His offering to heal us all. The Savior's Atonement is not just for those who need to repent; it is also for those who need to forgive. If you are having trouble forgiving another person or even yourself, ask God to help you. Forgiveness is a glorious, healing principle. We do not need to be a victim twice. We can forgive."

Elder Kevin R. Duncan
April 2016 General Conference

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Elerie and Wilma Bugtai

On Wednesday, June 8, 2016 Elerie Bugtai and Wilma Penig were united in the Cebu Temple as husband and wife. It was an honor to be invited to witness the marriage and sealing of these two very special people

Elerie is a member of the ward we attend here in Lilo-an, Cebu.We met the first week we arrived in Lilo-an and the more we learn from and about him the more amazed we are. He is the embodiment of living the council given by Neal A. Maxwell:

"As life's events bring our allotment of adversity, let us accept the bitter cup without becoming bitter. By so doing, we will testify in special and contagious ways!"

As a young child Elerie experienced a medical condition which effected his physical development, particularly the ability to perform fine motor skills. He faces his 'allotment of adversity' every day in a cheerful way. Many times he has mentioned to us how blessed he is. When asked how he was able to learn to ride a bicycle (something we are still amazed by) the closest thing to a complaint we heard was for him to say quietly, "It is hard for me."  Then he laughed and pointed to his legs and told how cut and bruised they were from falling. When asked how long it took to learn to ride a bike the answer was 4 years! We would have given up long before that. Now he is able to drive motorcycles as well as many other physical tasks that amaze us as well. Among his other accomplishments is his service as a full time missionary in Manila where he became an Assistant to the President.

Wilma and Elerie met on-line and then arranged to meet face to face for the first time in the Cebu Temple. We remember how excited Elerie was after that meeting. The excitement and anticipation continued until their wedding day.
Wilma is so quiet and shy that we haven't been able to learn much about her. We know she comes from the island of Negros which is in the Cebu Mission and it is a joy to watch her and Elerie together.
Reception Dinner
"Even so, everyone has gifts; everyone has talents; everyone can contribute to the unfolding of the divine plan in each generation. Much that is good, much that is essential—even sometimes all that is necessary for now—can be achieved in less than ideal circumstances. So many of you are doing your very best. And when you who bear the heaviest burdens of mortality stand up in defense of God’s plan to exalt His children, we are all ready to march. With confidence we testify that the Atonement of Jesus Christ has anticipated and, in the end, will compensate all deprivation and loss for those who turn to Him. No one is predestined to receive less than all that the Father has for His children." 
      Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Sunday, June 5, 2016


Post Transfer Stress Disorder

Elder Saluta, Elder Bermoy
The transfer this week was a big one. Not only because the numbers were greater than the last few have been but because two of the missionaries who were in the office when we arrived went home. Elder Saluta trained Sister McNett in her office duties and Elder Bermoy helped with housing. We became quite close They are groovy missionaries who applied a lot of elbow grease when they weren't popping wheelies on bicycles or scarfing down their food. Seeing them go is really a bummer deal. We hope they will keep in touch and give us the big skinny from time to time as they go out into the world to earn some bread. Miss them we will.  
Sister Bermoy with her son
Elder Bermoy's mother came to pick him up and fly home with him. She had been to the mission office once before and seeing her again was a treat. Elders Bermoy and Saluta are from the island of Mindanao which is the large island just south of our mission boundaries and home to many of our missionaries.

Last Supper

Monday evening was the 'Last Supper'. The departing missionaries gather at the mission home for a meal and testimony meeting.

SRC and Temple

Tuesday was SRC followed by a temple session. SRC is a self reliance workshop that lasts about 3-4 hours and is intended to help departing missionaries transition to the next stage of their life. The group left early for SRC and we came later to meet them at the temple.
Departing Batch

Army Navy

After the temple we stopped just a few blocks away at Army Navy to eat. This is the final meal together for this batch.


We met at the mission office Wednesday morning at 6:30 AM to load luggage and departing missionaries for the drive to the airport. The missionaries leaving needed to be there close to the time that the new missionaries were scheduled to arrive. This generally works out, with some exceptions now and then. Two of the departing actually left later in the day which required a second run to the airport. Notice Elder Head standing in the foreground of the picture below. He trained Elder McNett in his office financial duties and is back now as an Assistant to the President.  
There were 12 Elders and one Sister in the departing batch. All except Elder Grace, who is from New Zealand, returned to homes here in the Philippines.We mentioned Elder Grace last week and his connection to the Highland High rugby team. Check out this link to his arrival home.

Welcome Home Elder Grace

Arrival in Cebu

This transfer we welcomed seven new arrivals into the mission, six elders and one sister. After loading luggage and missionaries again it is time to drive to the mission home for orientation and new assignments. We were transporting luggage only and made a side trip on the way back to pick up pizza and salad for lunch.

Orientation and New Assignments

There is breakfast and lunch at the mission home with an orientation for the new arrivals and their trainers. After lunch, and after President Tanner has had time to talk individually with each of the new missionaries, companionship and area assignments are made. Most of these newly arriving missionaries only had an hour of sleep the night before.
New batch and trainers.