Tag Archives: Peace Corps Manila

Peggy and Randy Ford Authors- FOUND OUR WAY 20th Installment

56. Four or five weeks before we left Manila, on a Sunday, Peggy became a godmother. It is customary in the Philippines that when a baby is to be baptized, his or her parents choose sponsors for the baby, usually from among their closest friends. These sponsors or godparents are supposed to take over raising the child if something happens to the parents. In the meantime, sponsors are expected to give birthday and Christmas presents to their godchild. Thus, many parents choose their good friends to be sponsors, but they often make sure that the child will get nice gifts.

Peggy’s godson was Linda’s nephew, Glenn del Resario, born November 24, 1968. His mother, Liwanag, often visited Linda in our home. Peggy never got to know her well, but she always liked her. Peggy was pleased to be a Nina, and she certainly remembered the child, but she didn’t feel a lot of responsibility to him since his mother knew that we were about to leave the country.

Three years later Peggy received a letter from Liwanag, telling her that Glenn was “already talkative and a naughty one.” The mother went on to write, “Whenever he had a playmate the game always ends in fighting. He often told me that he wants to go to school. He loved toys. I brought him sets of toys especially the animals, he recognizes them all. You can’t save a penny. He used to spend 30 cents a day going to a candy store … that’s why at his age he suffers toothache. But he ran me for an errand, cigarette for his father. Glen, he’s wearing a long pants now. He has plenty of questions that sometimes I get hard in answering him.”

“At present, I got two kids. Glenn has a kid sister, Mildred, which was two years old. How about you? Are you not planning to have one or maybe two?” The del Resarios lived in a permanent house built in the middle of a city street in an area made up of squatters.

57. Peggy tried to explain to her mother that she didn’t think our relationship with Linda, our maid, was so unusual considering that our family was not very well defined. She explained, “Your family (her mother’s) is well defined with six children.” But in the Philippines Peggy and I were a long ways from the families with which we grew up. We had no children, and so two people made a very small family. Thus, it was easy for us to adopt others, at least on a temporary basis: Linda, Lew (who lived with us a year), Ray (my college friend), Tony (who lived with us for a month), and even our puppy Peta.

The last news we received about Linda came from her sister Liwanag. She wrote the following: “Linda has one kid now, about one and a half year old girl. They lived near our parents’ home in project 7, Quezon City. Actually, I don’t know their address. I’ll send you as soon as I can secure for it.”

58. Meanwhile we occasionally heard from friends and the family we left behind. On October 27, 1969 Mr. Hernandez (Peggy’s principal) wrote about how “the winds were changing (in the Philippines) and seemed to be blowing in the opposite direction. While many people desired change a majority of this group doubted that a change in the presidency would be for the better.” President Marcos had just won the support of a religious sect and Mr. Hernandez felt that this was a clear indication of where the wind was blowing. “With all the mudslinging, character assassination, expensive gimmicks of the presidential campaign, which has reached a new low, I still feel confident that our republic will endure. Presidents will come and go but the Philippines will remain a pearl, the pearl of the Orient.”

59. Meanwhile the teachers of Manila were still in a “make leave of absence.” After a bill was passed to amend the City Charter to solve the problem of salary slashes, after the President signed it, after the mayor set the machinery for its implementation, the municipal board as usual “resorted to dilatory tactics to annul it.” The teachers, however, although on leave reported to school to receive a briefing for the teacher examination and carried out their duties as examiners. They received a meal of P2.40 and for work on a Sunday. Of course, they were also given service credit for the work. After the service exam they had to attend to their poll duties. It was Verification Day. Meanwhile the teacher’s strike continued.

60. Meanwhile, Marcos, after his re-election- put into place “the new order.” About it Mr. Hernandez wrote “it is understandable that those who have much to lose in the new order are unhappy … those who amassed wealth through crooked games … the absentee landlord who will be forced to give up his lands, the political bigwigs who wielded power. It is understandable that the lives of those dedicated to the establishment of the new order may be in danger.” Mr. Hernandez then cited the attempt on the life of the first lady. Some of his teachers witnessed this.

Peggy and Randy Ford

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Peggy and Randy Ford Authors- FOUND OUR WAY 19th Installment

54. We finally moved out of our apartment and comfortably settled in the Mabuhay Hotel. Here we had air conditioning, hot water, a bathtub, and TV, none of which we had at the apartment. Our only complaint was that we had no window, making the room just as dark at 7:00 a.m. as at midnight. But we managed to wake up okay every morning, and we certainly enjoyed the luxuries.

We delivered our trunks to a freight company and knew they would be held up in San Francisco while an agent cleared them through customs. Peggy and I between us were allowed $200 worth of goods. The original value of our goods was something like $240, but most of the items were used, which reduced their value considerably. Besides, Peace Corps Volunteer’s trunks were rarely opened by customs officials, so we weren’t expecting trouble. I had to open one of the trunks at the freight company because they were 8 lbs. overweight. In the process I dropped two keys into the trunk and was unable to locate them. So when the trucks reached home someone had to pick, saw, or break the locks to open them.

My summer classes were still going on. Although I wasn’t able to execute many of the movements well, I really enjoyed my mime class under the German mime artist. Then the three classes I was teaching and our Peace Corps service ended on the same day. The rough thing was that everyone in my directing class (something like 25 or 30 students) was supposed to direct some sort of production, which meant we saw a lot of short, student-directed plays during those last two weekends. Our plans hadn’t changed and wouldn’t. We had our plane tickets. We would fly to Singapore and from there decide where to head next.

55. When we were no longer Peace Corps Volunteers but still in the Philippines, we joined the ranks of the unemployed, or maybe just of the free. Suddenly we had no responsibilities, so we planned to take advantage of it.

Since our flight didn’t leave right away, we decided to travel in the Philippines for a few days. We left Manila and spent the night in a small town (Lucina City, Quezon), a three hour bus ride south, and the next day traveled south again for about seven more hours to a small mining town. There we stayed with some friends (Filipinos) whom we met at Easter.

Up until then we had gotten to see a foreign country and its people under the protective wing of the Peace Corps. For Peggy it was somewhat frightening to about to take off for a new country (I’m not sure I thought about it), this time on our own. In Singapore there wouldn’t be anyone to meet us at the airport, to help us clear customs and change some of our money to the local currency, and to find a cheap but safe place stay. Peggy thought she would enjoy traveling … our vacations in the Philippines were some of the highlights of our stay; but it was going to require more courage from then on.

We still didn’t know where we were heading after Singapore. We had two likely choices: either traveling up through Malaysia to Bangkok or traveling in Indonesia. We planned to do both, but we weren’t sure which would follow Singapore. And I still had my eyes on Borneo.

Wherever we went, it would have to be done cheaply. We knew we could work in some countries, but not in either Indonesia or Malaysia. We were starting out with $1500, which was the money the Peace Corps gave us for our plane tickets home plus 1/3 of the money that the Peace Corps put away for us in the States every month. The other 2/3 went into a bank account in Texas. So if we were careful with our money and worked whenever we got an opportunity, we thought we could keep going for as long as we wanted to be vagabonds.

Other countries pretty definitely on our itinerary included Australia, New Zealand, and Korea, in all of which I knew people in drama. We also planed to get to Japan eventually because it was a country with a well-developed theater tradition. Although language would be a definite problem for us in Japan, we thought that we’d probably stay there for a long time. We told our families that as soon as we decided where we were heading after Singapore, we’d let them know. And if we decided to stay in Singapore, we’d let them know that too.

Meanwhile Peggy received some pictures of her family. Everyone certainly looked tall to us. And one brother looked more like the other than he used to. There wasn’t a picture of Peggy’s mother because she was the photographer.

Peggy and Randy Ford

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Peggy and Randy Ford Authors- FOUND OUR WAY 18th Installment

52. A week before we were to move from our apartment to the Mabuhay Hotel, where we stayed for two weeks, we had things ready that were to be sent home, but we still didn’t know how we were going to dispose of some of our household items. Peace Corps sent (by airfreight) 100 lbs. for each of us, but our trunks weighed something like 35 lbs. apiece. We were able to get our Philippine purchases (salad bowls, a couple of carvings, place mats, etc.), a few books, and some clothes into the trunks without going over the weight limit. Most of our books we sent by surface mail. And the clothes we were not taking with us or sending home went to an orphanage. But there were still lots of odds and ends left. We were sure there were plenty of people who would welcome them, but we just didn’t know who they were.

53. Peggy’s summer project with the Department of Social Welfare turned out differently than what she expected. Since she never taught kindergarten children before, she really had to rack her brain to think of enough activities to keep them busy. To begin with all of these children were from disadvantaged homes. In many cases neither parent was steadily employed. Houses were small and crowded, and sanitation was poor because all of water had to be fetched from fire hydrants. And children often did the fetching in the middle of night because taking water from fire hydrants was illegal. Thus, these children had little opportunity to explore any of the world except their immediate neighborhood, and most of their parents were unable to fill this gap in other ways.
Field trips were difficult because they would have to use public transportation, which wouldn’t be feasible with 20 pre-schoolers. Peggy did get to use a couple of cars so that some of them got to go to the zoo.

Peggy’s Tagalog vocabulary wasn’t big enough to translate stories from English or to make up stories of her own. To get around this she tried to encourage the children to just tell about their families, but most were too shy. So, one of the most import kindergarten activities … storytelling … was lost.

Filipino children had very few toys, which Peggy thought could be good because it led them to be more creative with what they had around them. But she didn’t have the time or the where with-all to assemble household toys for her classroom. She thought about buying some things, but anything that was sturdy enough to be practical was horribly expensive. So they did without toys … made do with just a few books that had some things or objects in them they knew (mostly cats and dogs).

Peggy still thought the experience of having some organized activity and the chance to express themselves was good for the children, but it was too short-termed to do much long-range good. The nun who was in charge of the social center was trying to find someone who could keep the classes going after Peggy left, but she didn’t have much luck. Peggy was sorry to discover this opportunity only as we were leaving.

I was quite excited about the improvisation group I was working with as a director … there was some indication that they might really be able to stick together as a group, but I found the short time we had left even more of a handicap than Peggy did. I felt that we were trying to cover too much ground too quickly, and that cohesion might not have time enough to set before they were turned loose on their own.

Poor Linda was quite upset by our fast approaching departure date. She still didn’t have another job. (We had hoped she could work for another volunteer; but when our left, there wouldn’t be many volunteers left in Manila.) Her parents wanted her to go to the family’s home in the south because she had a boyfriend, with whom they were afraid she would get in trouble. We were very fond of Linda, and we were sure she was also fond of us. Her only consolation was that she was going to get to keep Peta, our puppy. And one of the hardest things for us was that we were leaving both Linda and Peta behind.

53. Peggy’s Oma wrote us, telling us that she thought it was “fine” that we planned to “see some other interesting places in far-away Asia,” while we were “near,” and not bound by a schedule of work. She hoped that we would find some odd jobs that would help with expenses, especially if we got to Japan. And she would be thrilled to have a card from Bali or Tahiti, or “any other exotic place.” She also thought that the “good conscientious work” that we did in Manila would be valuable experiences for us, whatever else we did.

Peggy’s other grandmother also wrote, expressing her interest in learning what our “real purpose” was in taking our trip to Singapore, etc. “Was it for a vacation, to see the world, or to begin a new field of missionary labor?” She also called our Peace Corp work “helpful service” and commended us for our sacrifice.

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Peggy and Randy Ford Authors- FOUND OUR WAY 17th Installment

49. With our termination date approaching, we told our families that we weren’t coming home soon. Peggy wrote my mom that even after we left the Peace Corps she would still have the American government to help her locate us in case of an emergency. Peggy reassured her that we would always let her know what country we were in and the American Embassy in that country would be responsible for us. All she’d have to do was to cable or write the American Embassy of that country, explain the emergency, and they’d locate us. “It might not be as fast as going through the Peace Corps, but you could always get a message through to us if you had to.” Also, our passports said to notify our parents in case of an emergency, and the U.S. government would take care of it. At the same time I was concerned about not finding affordable international insurance, which we never found but never needed because in every country where we needed treatment we were treated free because of socialize medicine. The first country we used socialize medicine was in Singapore because we thought Peggy might’ve been pregnant.

Our approaching termination date made us also think about saving dollars that was sent to us for our birthdays. We also had to think about packing everything that was going to the States and paring down to what we could carry with us. (Before we left we moved into the Mabuhay Hotel for debriefing and medical exams.) We had already done considerable housecleaning and throwing away; sent some packages to Texas and others to New Mexico; and it was beginning to frighten us to think that we had to be completely finished by a specific date. All of this before we decided where we were heading next!

Yes, before we decided to fly to Singapore. We really wanted to go to Singapore by boat because it would give us time to relax. … to get over the rush of leaving and to prepare to enter a new culture. But there were no boats (at least around our termination date) that went straight from Manila to Singapore. They all went via Hong Kong and Bangkok, which meant the fare was much higher. So, we could fly cheaper than we could go by boat. (We saved $50 … a large sum of money then in Asia.) Imagine! leaving the Philippines and arriving in Singapore (2,000 miles away) 2 hours and 40 minutes later! At least we were going from one big city to another, and would be able to speak English in Singapore.

Our idea then was to spend a week or less in Singapore … we expected lodging and food to be quite expensive there. (Only one hitch: Peggy was possibly pregnant.) From Singapore … well, Malaysia was next door, and I still wanted to explore Borneo. (On one vacation we spent a wonderful week on a boat sailing the Sulus and came very close to Borneo … just how close? We thought we could see it off in the distance.) From Singapore we finally decided to head north through Malaysia to Bangkok. My friend Ray Hubener, who stayed with us in Manila, was in Bangkok by then, and he said the drama opportunities there were good. He was also teaching English, so we thought we shouldn’t have much trouble getting jobs there if we decided to stay for a while. My latest dream then was to buy bicycles in Singapore and make this trip by that mode of transportation. (Only one hitch: Peggy was possibly pregnant.) But at the same time I was also still talking about Indonesia, especially Bali (which we thought would probably be just a tourist spot before very long).

As far as a mailing address, we told our families that as soon as we began heading somewhere, we would let them know and they could write us care of the American Embassy in the capital of the country where we were going.

50. The two months leading up to this were quite busy for both of us. Peggy had lots of little things to finish up at school. “The Chairs,” which I directed in the dungeons of Fort Santiago, had a successful run, playing the last week in March and every weekend in April. Peggy was involved as the ticket seller. (We had two extra performances for the cast of another play that was brought to Manila from a city in the south.) Then Peggy and I were able to take off for four days at Easter to go to Marinduque, a small island southeast of Manila. On Easter Sunday we saw a beautiful pageant, built around a legend of a Roman soldier who became a follower of Christ when blood spurted in his eyes as he pierced Jesus’ side. We bought one of the masks used in the pageant, and it became a keepsake.

51. Like I said Lino Brocka named the puppy Peta after the Philippine Educational Theater Association. She must’ve been about three months old and was really a housedog … the only time she wanted to be outside in our tiny backyard was when someone was out there playing with her. At night she even slept in the hallway upstairs because we were mean and wouldn’t let her sleep in our room and that was as close to Peggy and me as she could get.

Peta was a native dog … just a mutt … but she was supposed to like rice and fish and to be rather slow to learn. Well, Peta liked fish, but she didn’t seem to care for rice. (Dog food was quite expensive in Manila, so dogs generally ate the same thing people did.) As far as training her, she learned her name and “No!” very quickly, and it took only a few meals to teach her to stay in her box while we were eating. (Sometimes she got out, but she knew the commands.) But we couldn’t housebreak her. We were almost sure it was because of abstinence and not stupidity, but after weeks of cleaning up puddles, we were rather fed up. Even after she was whipped though, she came sidling up, wagging her tail, and it was impossible not be friends with her. We left the puppy behind with Linda.

52. The finial six weeks were even busier than ever … as we were getting ready to leave the Philippines, our summer projects were in full swing. I was following a really hectic schedule:
M-W-F
10-12 Mime class (I was a student)
1-3 or 4 Directing (I was the teacher)
6-8 Mime class
8:30-11:00 “ Maynila,” an improvisational show I was directing. I took the improvisational group to a huge tenement building in Tondo (a slum area) for three performances.

T-Th-Sat.
10-12 Playwriting (I was the teacher)
1-3 or 4 Stagecraft (I was the teacher)
6-8 Mime class
8:30- 11:00 “Maynila”

During a performance of “Maynila” in the dungeons of Fort Santiago, there was an ugly incident involving a nun “getting touched in dark,” and I resolved the incident (proudly) by being “more Filipino than Filipinos around me.” I held the hand of the man who was upset while I calmed him down.

To further complicate matters, my classes were held at three different places, so that I had to spend a good deal of time just coming and going. Needless to say it was a busy six weeks.

Meanwhile Peggy was teaching two classes of kindergarten children. The classes were under the sponsorship of the Social Welfare Department and were only for very, very poor children. In the morning she had about 15 three- and four-year-olds. Her afternoon group was about 30 children, ranging in ages from 3 to 7. The children were fun and she enjoyed working with them. But it was a challenge. What a challenge! She had watched her mother work with this age group, and of course she had done a lot of babysitting. But being in charge of that many children for two hours a day required a lot of imagination. So she quickly exhausted most of her ideas. She was handicapped because there were no Filipino picture books, and her Tagalog was not good enough to do much storytelling. She luckily found someone who could teach the children action songs in Tagalog.

Peggy and Randy Ford

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Peggy and Randy Ford Authors- FOUND OUR WAY 16th Installment

46. In December our household shrank to three. But shortly there after our friend Lino Brocka (yes, the movie director) gave us two very small chicks, Chittichitty and Bangbang. They had a box (and a light) in one corner of the kitchen. Chittichitty could fly in and out at will, but Bangbang couldn’t quite make it out. They were the same size when we got them, but Chittichitty grew faster. Several people suggested the former was probably a male and the latter a female. We thought that they would grow out of cuteness and that then we’d give them away. We were sure we could never eat them after we raised them as pets. Then Lino brought us a puppy, or tuta. Peggy had wanted a puppy ever since we arrived in Manila, but I kept insisting that it was better not to get one since we’d just have to leave it and because rabies was a real problem. But when Lino brought the puppy by and we saw that it was clean, we couldn’t turn it down.

Linda, our maid, named the chicks. She didn’t have a name for the puppy, so we called her (the puppy) Tuta for a while. Later Lino named her PETA after the Philippine Education Theater Association, where Lino and I both worked. The puppy was white and grayish-brown in a very irregular pattern. She wasn’t pretty, but she was certainly cute. Biting was her favorite game, but we hoped she’d grow out of it. I was her favorite person.

We really enjoyed watching the chicks change from tiny fuzzy animals into ones who could fly. But then came a very sad day. The puppy killed Chittychitty. (She had always chased the chicks, but we didn’t think she would really hurt them). After this sad event we made big plans to keep Bangbang away from the dog if no one was around. And then what happened? The day after Chittychitty died Bangbang drowned in the toilet. Most Filipino toilets have no seats, leaving just the porcelain and the hole with water. The downstairs bathroom door was always open because that was where the dog was supposed to do her business. Apparently, Bangbang flew up on the bowl rim and fell in.

47. My turning 26 didn’t completely assure that I wouldn’t be drafted, but I was now in a new category (6), which was further down on the list of priorities. Married men 26 or older were not generally drafted, but it depended upon the needs of the local board. We just hoped that there were plenty of men available in Dallas in the 4 or 5 categories that would be called before my category (6).

48. It was the beginning of March, and whether we would extend until the end August or leave the Peace Corps in June was still up in the air. Requests for extension of service had to be in at least three months before the scheduled termination date, which meant we had until March 16 to apply. At that point we were still waiting for a letter (a required letter) from the person who originally requested that I stay longer. We thought if she didn’t care enough to write one letter, there was no point in staying. Peggy would’ve liked to have stayed so that she could’ve had longer to work in the community center, but I really got the urge to travel on.

Our thinking for some time was along the lines of heading next to Borneo, specifically to Sabah, Brunei and parts of Malaysia. But the fact that Malaysia and the Philippines had broken off diplomatic relations made it rather difficult to get there. No planes went from Manila to Borneo, and ships left for Borneo only from the port of Iligan. That would’ve been o.k. had we not be convinced that we could only leave the Philippines from Manila. We could get a boat from Manila to Hong Kong or Singapore, and then get another one for Borneo, but that would eat up a lot of extra money.

I spent considerable time pouring over a travel guide to South and East Asia and a map. I thought we might go to Singapore, then slowly work our way through Indonesia to Australia. (We’d pick up Malaysia and Brunei on a return trip.) A drawback to this plan, we thought, would be that Indonesians did not like Americans (which we found wasn’t true), and travel there was even more difficult than in most of the rest of this part of the world (which was also untrue). So we thought starting there might be really discouraging.

Still another alternative entered the picture. Back in my days at the Dallas Theater Center, I worked with the son of the director of the Korean National Theater. If we went to Korea, I was assured of getting to study and work in this theater. We had planned to make Korea one of the latter stops on our trip, but we began to think that any major trouble in this part of the world (in addition to Vietnam) increased the possibility that we wouldn’t be able to get into Korea. Thus we thought maybe we should go there while we could. A big disadvantage was that Korea had cold winters, and we would need a whole new wardrobe. Besides, going to less developed countries was more exciting to me. .

We also knew that most of traveling in this part of world would be just traveling, since jobs were too scarce to give to outsiders. But jobs were supposed to be plentiful in both New Zealand and Australia, which we thought meant we would be able to work and travel in those countries. Also, I had friends in drama in Christchurch, New Zealand. Finally we also thought Japan would be another place where we could work since there was supposed to be a great demand for English teachers and tutors there.

How long we traveled, we thought, would depend upon how far we could stretch our money and/or the job situation, how involved I became in different theaters, and how much we enjoyed the life of a vagabond. I was thinking in terms of six or eight years, but Peggy tended toward two or three years. She was somewhat apprehensive of just striking out on our own in countries where we knew no one and none of the local languages. But I kept telling her that it would be much like trips around the Philippines, which she enjoyed thoroughly.

Peggy and Randy Ford

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Peggy and Randy Ford Authors- FOUND OUR WAY 15th Installment

43. Meanwhile, Peggy’s work was kind of petering off. She reached the point where she didn’t feel like forcing the teachers, and they showed little enthusiasm when she was not pushing them. One Monday when she was scheduled to start a new series of in-service training sessions for third grade teachers, she got an unexpected vacation: for the first time in the history of the Philippines the Manila public school teachers went on strike.

Peggy felt Filipino school teachers were really mistreated. Through some fancy politicking, teacher’s pay was drastically cut so that their basic salary was only P212 a month. (Peace Corps Volunteers got P275 a month plus rent plus medical expenses, and we didn’t have families.) And even this meager amount was often paid late. All and all there were something like eleven grievances, but most centered around salaries.

Since it was illegal for teachers to strike, they declared themselves to be on a mass leave of absence. Initially only 13,000 Manila teachers were absent, but teachers in the province were supposedly also restless. The Secretary of Education cancelled classes in Manila for a week, then proceeded to get a court injunction ordering the teachers to return to work. That was on Tuesday, but on Wednesday the teachers were still absent. Peggy thought that by the end of the week things would be settled enough for classes to open again. But she thought if politicians just made a bunch of promises and then didn’t come through, there would be a lot more vacations. It seemed like teachers in Manila had always been passive, but they weren’t anymore. And Peggy thought that they were going to fight until their demands were met.

44. We took Linda, our maid, with us on our Christmas vacation, and she seemed to enjoy traveling. We saw some beautiful countryside as most of our trip was either along the cost or through the mountains. The best part was the last three days, which we spent in Bontoc, a small mountain town. (The bus ride to Bontoc started in the resort town of Baguio. The bus averaged 20 kilometers an hour … 9 miles an hour!) We spent the last day in Bontoc hiking up a mountain, across rice terraces, and part way down and back. Linda found climbing up hard, and Peggy found coming down the hardest. None of it seemed hard to me.

45. “The Theatre among the Ruins” in Fort Santiago (in which I worked) was in an open space no larger than twenty by eighty feet … a space made more constricted by a T-shaped stage whose arms extended the whole length of the enclosure, and whose leg virtually bisected it. The audience sat in swivel chairs since the action surrounded them, giving each person a strong sense of participation. I first encountered this theatrical concept as a student of Paul Baker. The audience at Baylor Theater, and later at Trinity University …theaters Baker designed … also sat in swivel chairs.

Randy and Peggy Ford

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Peggy and Randy Ford Authors- FOUND OUR WAY 14th Installment

38. I was quite busy with drama. I produced two one-act plays at a private girl’s college, and the result was quite rewarding. Peggy thought it was the best production she’d seen in Manila, but I had a rough time with the cast and Mother Superior during rehearsals. They asked me to direct a major production there the following spring, but I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to do it or not.

I was instead more excited about another group (Philippine Education Theater Association PETA), which was just forming. They were all people I had worked with before and who could work together well. I was going to direct three of them in another one-act play (THE CHAIRS in the dungeons of Fort Santiago), but I also wanted to become part of the group. Though I would see less of Peggy, I was very happy about getting involved. One of the first things I helped with was to put up lights for a new show at Fort Santiago. Since this was the first time an outside crew wasn’t hired, there was a lot of extra work… beginning with putting up pipe to hang lights from. It took three solid nights (plus many daylight hours) of working, but I enjoyed working hard to get the job done properly.

39. For a year we had another volunteer, Lew Burkley, living with us. Then in the middle of October a friend of Lew’s, Bill Brightman, joined us and then two weeks later Ray Hubener appeared. Ray had been my best friend and writing-buddy at Baylor University. I hadn’t communicated with him in over five years when out-of-the-blue he knocked on our door in Manila. He came from Hong Kong, where he worked as a journalist. I’m not sure how he found us in Manila, but it was a start of something amazing. For the next several years Ray’s and our paths crisscrossed in several places around the world. Somehow we found our way and kept running into each other.

This time Ray stayed with us from May until December before he left for Indonesia. I remember he told us at the airport that he guessed we wouldn’t see each other ever again. When Bill left, he returned to the States, and soon afterward Lew moved to live with a new volunteer, a blind man, who had nobody else to live with him. So our family shrank from 6 to 3 and it happened within a few days. We were sorry to see them leave, but we enjoyed increased privacy. But Linda (our maid) thought it was about the end of the world. She was very fond of Lew. According to her, our house was going to be as lonely as it was when we were all on vacation.

40. For a Christmas present Peggy sent one of her sisters a doll wearing a Maria Clarissa skirt, which was worn to many local dances. Maria Clarissa was a girlfriend of Jose Rizal, a national hero.

41. A chance of a lifetime. Peggy got a chance of a lifetime to be the Virgin Mary on national television. It was for a weekly show in Tagalog, but she had no speaking lines. She was a statue that came alive to show that it was pleased with a priest who did a juggling act because he had no other offering … or something like that. Peggy was not too enthusiastic, but Lino Brocka and I wanted her to do it. Besides she was sure that she wouldn’t get another chance to be the Virgin Mary on television. I thought she made a beautiful Mary, and members of the cast did too.

42. For a summer project Peggy requested to work in one of the neighborhood centers that was being established by the Social Welfare Administration. She really didn’t have an idea what she would be doing, but she wanted to work with nursery-school-age children. Since these children would probably speak no English, she took formal Tagalog lesson in an effort to learn enough to be able to communicate in Tagalog.

I was asked by the Philippine Education Theater Association, or PETA (the drama group I was working with right along), to stay through August. (Our termination date was scheduled for late June.) We decided to stay if Peace Corps would give us an extension. Peggy hoped that she would get involved enough in her summer project to want to spend two more months doing similar work.

I was then running lights for the latest PETA production. PETA had a way of making big plans that didn’t always pan out; but it looked as if I would get to direct three shows before we left Manila. The first production was to be two plays by the French playwright Ionesto, the next THE VISIT, a very powerful play by the contemporary German playwright Durrenmatt. And the last was supposed to be the Greek play TROJAN WOMEN, with an American actress … Mildred Dunock (sp?) … playing the lead. This coming after my successful production of THE CHAIRS in the dungeons of Fort Santiago, but it all depended on a Peace Corps extension.

Peggy and Randy Ford

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