Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Max in the Philippines... Part 3 - The Massage

Max had never had a massage before, so I told him he should get one here. They are a fraction of the price, and often times way better.

I hadn't used my original massage therapist in a while. She always did the same thing, and tried to bend me like pretzel... and I'm not really down with that. So I was looking for someone new. I made a call, and was told someone would come by the house that afternoon to give my brother and I massages. Perfect.

I turned our workout room into a massage room. (Meaning, I laid a towel on the workout mat, and used a neck roll as a face pillow...)

It was decided I would go first, and then Max would follow. The lady started with my head, and then had me turn over on to my stomach so she could work on my back... and that's when it happened.

Massage Lady: Sometimes, when I do the massage I will burp.

Me: (Did she say burp? I look up...) You burp?

Massage Lady: Yes, I will burp.

Me: You will burp.

Massage Lady: Yes, because when I am touching you the cold is transferred from your body through my fingers. If I don't burp out your cold, I will get dizzy and fall over.

Me: Right. So, you absorb my cold?

Massage Lady: Yes. I absorb your pain, your cold, through my fingers and burp it out.

Me: Allllrriiight then.


How do I attract these looney tunes?!

I mean, what does that say about me?

Massage Lady: Buuuuurrrrppppp! Buuuurrrrrrpppp!

OMG. Is this for real?

Massage Lady: Buuuuurrrrppppp! Buuuurrrrrrpppp!

These are not the barely audible feminine burps you would expect to come out of a woman this small. These are the belches of a 300 pound giant. She would win any burping contest. She would blow the competition out of the water!

Massage Lady: Buuuuurrrrrppp! Buuurrrrrrppppp!

Ok, this has got to be a joke. At any moment Lee is going to walk in laughing his ass off, and show me the hidden camera. I'm being punked.

Massage Lady: Buuuuurrrrppppp! Buuuurrrrrrpppp!

Oh yuck. I think she almost puked....

Massage Lady: Buuuuurrrrppppp! Buuuurrrrrrpppp!

OMG. What is Max going to do? He is going to freak out! Hahahaha! Do I tell him this chick burps or should I just let her surprise him? Hahaha!

Massage Lady: Buuuuurrrrrppp! Buuurrrrrrppppp!

It's at this point I can't keep silent any longer. I am tense all over from trying not to snicker, and I keep picturing the look on Max's face when he first hears her burp. ( I will find out later that he has already heard the burping over the sound of two air conditioning units, behind two closed doors and down a hallway. He thinks the massage is so good, and I'm so relaxed, that I'mthe one who is burping.... that I can't help myself.)

I realize I'm never going to relax, and the only way to keep from laughing is to talk to this crazy lady.

Me: So... how long have you been doing this?

Massage Lady: I took a five day seminar.

Me: Really? Five days huh?

Massage Lady: Yes. And then people were like, Juliette, can you massage my head? Or can you massage my shoulders? And I said, ok.

Me: Excellent.


Me: So... what about the burping? How did that start?

Massage Lady: The burping?

Me: Yes, I've had lots of massages... and never is there burping.

Massage Lady: Ahhh... Yes. My father was a healer. You know, heals the bones. I get it from him.

Me: Ah. (Oh Lord, please help me remember all this until I can write it down.)


It is then that she rubs her hands together back and forth very quickly and then lays them on my back.

Massage Lady: You feel that?

Me: What?

Massage Lady: You feel the heat?

Me: Yes.

Massage Lady: That is the healing power of Jesus.

Me: Huh.

I will recount this to Lee later, and he will say no... that's not Jesus... that's friction... that'sscience.

After my massage I explained to the woman that she might want to tell my brother about the burping before she begins, seeing as he is fifteen and bodily functions are quite humorous at that age. (I don't mention how I could barely contain my own laughter... because really, a burping massage therapist is funny at any age.)

I wait outside the door and listen to her explain to Max how her massage works. He replies in exactly the same way I did, "You burp?"

We talk about it later, and he tells me it was weird at first, but then he fell asleep. Fell asleep?!? How one could fall asleep while someone burps all over your body is beyond me!

Either way, the heat radiating, Jesus powered, belching Filipino lady wins the award for all time weirdest massage, beating out the troll-like Italian man who massaged the insides of my ears and clapped around my head.

Perhaps its true what they say... maybe you do get what you pay for.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Max in the Philippines... Part 2 - Hiking Baclayan

The second part of our adventure included a trip to Coco Beach. Coco Beach has always been one of my favorite places here in the Philippines, and again it didn't disappoint. Max was ready to move there after the first five minutes.

Traveling alone with my little brother proved to be confusing for some. I can't even begin to tell you how many conversations we had that went something like this...

Coco Staff: Ohh, who is this? He's your...?

Me: He's my little brother.

Coco Staff: So, where are your parents?

Me: Umm... at home I guess? Sleeping probably, it's 2 am their time... they live in the U.S.

Coco Staff: You're here by yourself?!?!

Me: Umm... yes...

I realize I look young sometimes, but do I really look young enough to require parental supervision?

How old do they think I am? 13? That would make Max a toddler...


The best thing we did while at Coco Beach was take a hike up Mount Baclayan to visit the Mangayn settlement. Although, when we signed up for the excursion they failed to mention we would be trekking over 20 kilometers... Surprise! (Note: This is especially difficult when done in flips flops. What we thought was a short walk between villages, was in fact a four hour hike up the mountain... And, we weren't the only one's that missed the memo. Two girls from Denmark went with us on this journey, both showed up in sandals, one wearing a lemon yellow skirt, and a white top. She looked more ready for Easter Sunday than a day in the dirt, sweating up a mountain. When I told Lee about her ensemble he told me I was in no position to judge what someone wears on a hike.. Whatever. I may hike in yoga pants, but that is because I can't be bothered with pants that require fourteen pockets. But, I do know better than to wear a skirt... a bright yellow one at that. )

Visiting the indigenous people of Mindoro was quite an experience. We hiked to three different villages passing out cookies to the children and buying their local handicrafts.

The village schoolhouse.

Visiting these native people was like nothing I've ever done before, or seen for that matter. To see the way these people live, to see their homes and to imagine what life must be like on a daily basis, through the heat, and the dust, or the wind and the rain. To see the looks on their faces when they know we are there to bring them something to eat, something as simple as a cookie.

Stepping into these villages was like stepping into a National Geographic magazine. In one village we met a woman with a two day old baby. She still lay in her hut, surrounded by blankets holding her newborn. She had no hospital, she had no drugs, (the most important element in my opinion ) she had no doctor, she had no modern medical care, but she was smiling and she held what appeared to be a perfectly healthy new born baby girl. The entire village felt so blessed and were so happy to have this miracle. And I found myself in awe of that. It is a miracle. New life is always a miracle. But this miracle will grow up to be another child in this village. Another child with barely a roof over her head. Another child with half a tee shirt and no shoes. Another child with nothing to eat, and no opportunity to better her existence. And while her birth is a miracle, her life will be a struggle.

While in my mind bringing new life into an environment where one struggles to provide food and shelter is troublesome, these people didn't seem to share that fear. Perhaps it is ignorant of me to believe these people want more, perhaps the little food and shelter they have is enough. And by that I am humbled.

When you grow up in middle class USA, it's hard to believe that what we witnessed for a few hours is a daily exisitance for so many people. It's hard to believe that poverty like this exists today, in a world with so much advancement. It was an experience I will never forget, and one I hope my brother never does either.