|My last few days in the Philippines were as eventful as ever, always rising early to my homemade coffee in my small hotel room in Manila. The heavily staffed crew at the hotel ranged from young waiters and waitresses to security guards, doormen or boys, luggage handlers, desk clerks and more. The old Royal typewriter was still the only printer device that was used behind the counter.
|The Royal Typewriter
On Friday afternoon, Ramon and I went to the Iloilo City Airport to see if we could catch an earlier flight back to Manila instead of our scheduled 9:00 PM flight time. The attendant at the counter said the flight was now closed, even though the request was coming from a Coast Guard Commander. Ramon leaned over the counter and said quietly, “Do you know who that is? It is Chuck Norris”. Needless to say, I (Chuck) took numerous photos with all the stewardesses, attendants, luggage handlers, managers and others. Thanks to Chuck Norris, we made our earlier flight. To the real Chuck Norris, we’d like to thank you for all you have done to help the children of the Philippines and our music mission! You have helped in ways you may never know.
Early on Saturday morning, we all met up outside of Manila at a freeway stop and joined Hubert d’Aboville and his lovely Filipina wife of 30 years, Ara, and drove over an hour to a docked bangka on the southern seaside south of Manila. Hubert was so kind as to personally rent the 90-foot bangka for the day to power us to the island of Mindoro.
We were guests to his beautiful home there and also visited the site of the Malasimbo Festival, a world music roots festival he personally started on his property at the base of the majestic Malasimbo Mountain in this exotic jungle paradise. I was honored to play my nose flutes made by Anthony Natividad of Hawaii at the site of the festival coming up in February.
We powered back through large, breaking waves with Hubert and me up top sharing stories of world travels and adventures from days past. Our drive back to Manila was long, but Ramon and I had a dinner engagement with Oscar, Bell and Barrera family. My friend and well-known music celebrity, John Lasaca and his wife, joined us for the delicious Filipino dinner. I played many traditional flutes for the family and guests afterwards and John Lasaca also played my violin, which I believe all enjoyed.
It is hard to summarize the experiences I have gained in this short music mission to the Philippines. It feels more like a month long journey than a two week mission. Ramon and I have lived a small lifetime in such a short period. We have touched many lives, created many smiles, shared our joy of children, learning, music and life. There are moments I will not forget and faces that have left a deep impression on me. Flutes Across The World has done its part to help unite children from distant lands and help spread the joy of music to all it has touched.
The living heroes of ULIS, elite French firefighters I was privileged to meet, each received flutes to take home to France to their family members. We are now proud to call them friends and to be able to say that Flutes Across The World is now in the country of France.