Philippine Island Times Adventures of an American expat in the Philippines

January 6, 2009

Stormy Weather

Filed under: siquijor — Donald @ 12:24 pm

girl

[Written January 4, 2008; posting delayed by tropical depression]

In my neighborhood we usually get no warning at all of nearby typhoons. A couple of months ago we did and people diligently began making preparations. When I checked the internet I found that the system had already passed and was heading for China.

It began raining hard here a few days ago. New Year’s Eve it poured. I was at home with a fever so it didn’t matter much to me, but it put a damper on the last big night of holiday celebrations for my neighbors. In days since, the sun has not shone and the winds have picked up. I guess that means another unannounced system is passing to the north. Unusual weather for January; maybe the sea has stayed warm late this season. Not good for the many Filipinos who have been visiting family and will be taking ferries this weekend back to wherever they work. Foreign tourists will also be seasick, but at least their ferries probably won’t sink.

I’m anxious for my friends who are traveling today, but mostly I’m sad for a girl just up the road. Last year she was valedictorian of the best high school in the area. Unfortunately, her family could not afford to send her on to college. That seems to have precipitated a depression which ended on New Year’s Day, when she hanged herself. She had been working for a household on a neighboring island since the time I arrived in Siquijor and I had not heard about her before. She was only home for the holidays.

Tuition at Siquijor State College is about 6000 pesos per semester. Students need about another 500 pesos per week to cover room and board and transportation to visit their families on weekends. At the current rate of exchange, that works out to an all-inclusive total of about $350 US per semester. Silliman University, the best school in the region and one of the top five or so in the country, runs about $1,000 US per semester. There are others in between. A couple of you have already asked me to let you know of good kids you could help with school. For you and anyone else who might be interested, I’ll do what I can to find out about them.

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