It was election day when we arrived in The Philippines, so the streets were tame; a big departure from the usual parade of jeepneys, taxis and motorcycles that clot the highway arteries in one of the world’s most populated cities.
This mini-tour of Asia, and the upcoming tour dates for 2013 for that matter, are taking us to THE PLANET’S MOST populated cities. Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, Manila, Moscow, Istanbul, and the 2nd most populated city in the world that I’d never heard of until now, Guangzhou. At first I thought, what are the odds that we’d get to travel through this top 10 list of most populated cities? How cool. But then, as slowly as a winter sun rises in the arctic, it dawned on me. Duh. It’s where the people are. It’s like that time I flew home from college, NYC to RVA, and I couldn’t believe the guy I was sitting next to was from my hometown! What are the odds I’d get sat next to a guy from Richmond VA on a flight from New York to Richmond VA? We had so much in common. Like our des’DUH’nation. …Say no to drugs, kids.
Besides Filipinos being the most spirited and most in-tune of audiences, they are also the craftiest and most clever poster-makers, hands down, (or up rather.) Looking out at the crowd last night there were almost too many good signs to consider, like “I voted for you yesterday” and “The No Wang Wang Zone” (whatever that means) and my personal favorite, “Merritt Me?” Well done Manila. Thanks for giving us such a warm reception home.
While there I also had the pleasure of catching up with the immeasurable Cecelia Oebanda from the Visayan Forum, an organization that rescues girls from trafficking. In addition to the hard work Cecelia does to keep the organization up and running to house and rehabilitate the girls, she also has to deal with death threats from traffickers who wish she’d stop interfering with their business of kidnapping and selling young girls into servitude and sex slavery. WTF? How was your day at the office?
In addition to funding and awareness, Cecelia could use more volunteers, those in psychiatry, healing, and social work to help the girls recover from their experiences. If you know anyone who can help her mission, please spread the word, share the link below and send her some love.