Thursday, June 10, 2010

Who writes the best newsletter/blog?

After going almost seven months with less than two inches of rain – which fell in two consecutive days in April – it had started to rain here while we were in Manila for the Memorial Day ceremony. Starting June 1, it rained off and on for the next six days, such a contrast to the sunny, blazing hot days of May. Since then we have returned to sunny skies with thunder in the distance each afternoon, only threats of actual thunderstorms on Corregidor. This is normal; in June the temperatures begin to moderate as the sun passes north of here and rainy season approaches. We are near the 14th parallel, so for several weeks every year the shadows point south at noon, something that is a little hard to get used to. Contrary to popular belief, the Philippines is not in the South Pacific.

It is amazing to us how quickly the dormant plant-life responds, once measurable rain arrives. All of the bushes and trees pop with new branch and leaf growth, and the crispy brown grass begins to send out new shoots from roots and seeds. The whole island looks fresh and green again. Soon the jungle undergrowth will fill in with leaves and vines, making our explorations more challenging.

On Sunday Steve guided for guests of the Australian Embassy. Outgoing Australian Defense Attaché Vic Jones, a career naval officer whom we first met last year on Leyte, was accompanied by incoming attaché, Craig White, from the Australian Air Force. As usual, Steve’s tour consisted of the typical history of the island and the gun batteries, but also included some information about his father Walter’s experiences here. Vic, who said that this was his sixth visit to Corregidor, told Steve that by doing so he made the tour personal and special. The group was fortunate to have good weather, cloudy, making it very comfortable temperature-wise, and no rain during the hours they were on the island. Since some of their contingent was from the Australian Defence Force “Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies,” they presented Steve with a very nice baseball-style cap from their organization.

On Wednesday we were delighted to host Nancy and Laura, two women who have spent many years doing mission work in the Philippines. Nancy and Marcia struck up a conversation at the Memorial Day ceremony. Nancy had been to Corregidor a few times, most recently nine years ago and wanted to see it one more time before returning to the States. She had never stayed overnight, and wished to do so before heading to the US on leave. Laura, a Canadian, had been in the Philippines for about 25 years, and had never been to the Rock. We spent the day showing them around, including some of the remote sites, and watched the sunset together at Battery Grubbs. On Thursday we took them on a tour of Malinta Tunnel before their return to Manila. We always encourage people who come here to spend at least a night in the Corregidor Inn so that they can experience the out-of-the-way places on the island, as well as having time to swim, relax, and enjoy the peace, beauty, and clean air.

Steve’s parents, Walter and Mary Anne Kwiecinski, were married 60 years ago this June 10. Their wedding took place in the old Sacred Heart Catholic Church on the north side of Virginia, Minnesota, across the street from Mary Anne’s family home. Forty or fifty years ago the parish moved to a new building a couple of blocks down the hill. The old church building is still there, although it has served a number of purposes, including being a Salvation Army drop off center. Today it is a private residence, a rather odd one from outward appearances. In 1967 “Grandma Krebs” passed away, and the following year Walter and Mary Anne bought the family home from her estate. Walter lived the last 20 years of his life in the Krebs home, and Mary Anne is approaching 65 years in the house in which she was born. Although Walter passed away over 22 years ago, we send our love to Mom and wish her happy memories on what would have been their 60th anniversary.

In an attempt to get an idea of who is reading this newsletter/blog and whether or not it is being appreciated, we would like to take a scientific opinion poll of our readers. We were going to ask several questions, starting with the best newsletter in the Philippines, then Southeast Asia, the Eastern Hemisphere, and then the world. But we felt it would easiest to go for the whole enchilada. So we simply ask you to respond to the following question:

What is the best newsletter/blog in the Universe?
1. Steve and Marcia on the Rock
2. Other – Please specify URL, purpose, and author’s name (including full middle name), city and country of birth, and place of birth

Think your opinion doesn’t matter? Feel your vote in the latest presidential election went unnoticed? You could be the one that makes this the number one newsletter/blog in the universe! We thank you for your vote.

Steve and Marcia on the Rock – To Infinity…And Beyond!

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