Jerry and Jelim
Below is picture story of the 3 weeks that I spent with my then new girlfriend Jelim Gabonada in April of 2006. I met her on the Filipina Heart web site, http://www.filipinaheart.com/default.cfm Jelim was then 20 and she lived in San Remegio, Cebu island, Philippines. We met in January and we both liked each other and hit it off well. Below is our story of those 3 weeks in April.
Above is a map of the Philippines. It takes about 12-14 hours to get there by commercial jet service, with a stop in Hawaii, Guam, Japan or Hong Kong. The main Airport is in Manila (top island), the capital city of the Philippines. This is on the island of Luzon, the biggest island of the Philippines. Then with a commuter flight, I flew one hour South, Southeast to the Island of Cebu, where I landed in Cebu City. Then it's a 2 hour ride north by Taxi or by Bus to Jelim's home in San Remegio. San Remegio is at the far north end of the Cebu island.
Here is where Jelim lives in San Remegio, with other family members. Her uncle owns and drives the "Tricycle" parked in front, and this is their primary means of income. Here are some statistics from a web site about San Remegio. "Based on the Census of Population and Housing, there are 21,682 inhabitants in this municipality as of May 1990; the total number of households is 3,925. The average family size in 5.5 per house. The survey on household members (based on 20% Household Survey) by major occupation shows that 30.75% are engaged in housekeeping followed closely by farming with 30.48% and 14.56% unemployed (15 years old and above). As to income, 38.44% of the household members earns below 5,000.00 Pesos; 95.31% lives below poverty level."
This is a view of Jelim's bedroom. She sleeps on that wooden bed without a mattress! The little one is Jelim's 15 month old daughter. Still small, her daughter weighed about 4¼ Lbs. at birth.
This is the first day of our visiting places in the city of Cebu. We are setting on a beautiful balcony of the Taoist Temple, built by wealthy Chinese who still live in the area. The view in the background is of downtown Cebu City.
This is part of the famous shrine of Magellan's cross, in Cebu City. Magellan’s Cross was put there in April 21, 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan.
This is what put Cebu on the map almost 500 years ago. It is a fort built by the Spanish by Cebu's great natural sea port.
On this day, we are relaxing in a Cebu Hotel. Jelim is making a call on the cell phone that I bought her.
The next day, we got up early and took a fast catamaran fairy boat to the beautiful Island of Bohol. Bohol is one of the Philippine's most beautiful islands, lush and green, and has many sites to see. In the background of this lookout point, are the "Chocolate Mountains". There are 1,268 perfectly cone-shaped hills on this island and they are actually tiny inactive volcanoes.
A bit later in the day, we are in a small boat, going up a beautiful tropical river to a water fall (in the background) in bohol. This place is total paradise!
Here we take a suspended cable bridge across the same river to see the world's smallest monkey's.
Here we are looking at the world's smallest monkeys, only found on this island. They sleep during the day.
2 days later, we are back in Cebu City. We take this tricycle to visit Jelim's aunt. This is the most popular type of transportation with the poor. A short trip costs about 25 cents. We spent a week here in Cebu city, just enjoying our time together, staying at a nearby hotel.
About a week later, we are back were Jelim lives, in San Remegio. On this day, we rented a cabana and spent the day playing in the ocean and on the beach. What beautifully clear water, and this place is only about 2 miles from where Jelim lives. There are 7120 Islands that make up the Philippines and this is one them! 60% of those islands are small and are not inhabited.
This photo I took of us in a hotel room in Cebu, using my camera's self timer. We are now very close and talking about marriage.
I took this photo of Jelim, after I bought her these clothes. She knew where to buy her size, and it was easier to buy clothes for her in the Philippines rather then here in the US, because there are more women of her size in the Philippines. Jelim measures 30-23-29, quite a small size considering that she has already given birth to a child.
Our last day together, 5/24/06. We are both sad that I'm leaving the next morning, because we have now become very close. In the meantime to keep the loneliness away, we talk by cell phone or on Yahoo IM every day about our future. I had proposed to Jelim during my stay, so we talk a lot about our future plans.