Today we have a guest article from Steve Walker. Steve lives in Cebu and has been living in the Philippines for about a year. Welcome to you, Steve, I am happy to publish your first article! We are always happy to publish appropriate articles for writers who live in the Philippines, or have Philippine experiences they wish tho share with others. If you want to write an article for the site, please just contact us by clicking on the “Contact” link at the top menu of every page on our website.
After years of preparation, which included visiting this (Bob’s) site often, a Chicago area couple followed their balikbayan boxes to a Cebu province town. Their retirement home was already built and waiting for them. Why did they move? They were retired. Their friends and family in the U.S. were still doing the daily grind, many with no end in sight, and no time to socialize. Each morning the couple woke to news about more overnight shootings and a growing, unsolvable city/state debt crisis. The couple took a leap of faith. They sold or donated most of their possessions, and shipped 11 balikbayon boxes to their Philippine address. They had no definite plans, just a vague idea that he might like to get involved with kids, probably in some way related to music. She wanted to sew and bake. They took a leap of faith and boarded the Korean Airlines flight to Cebu, both secretly wondering if this was a huge mistake.
He purchased a few musical instruments, not entirely sure how, or if he would use them. That famous movie line was inside his head, “If you build it, they will come.” Instead, in his head, he changed it to, “If you buy it, they will come.” Word spread in the small province town that some Americans had instruments available for use. The new expat couple figured the next step would be to coordinate with a local school and start free music lessons. Maybe after a few years of lessons, they could form a simple band. About this time, a small group of teenage boys came to the American’s home, hoping to use the instruments. Not expecting much, but being polite, the instruments were all plugged in and prepared for use. Suddenly, the familiar opening rift of ‘Sweet Child of Mine” flawlessly rocked from the amps. The kids rocked the house for the next 2 hours. Apparently, a local priest had supported the kids the past few years, and supplied them instruments. The kids had taught themselves, and had performed as a band until a few months earlier when the priest had left, taking the instruments with him. The kids hadn’t performed or practiced for several months. My name is Steve and that is how this American expat and his wife pretty much inherited a Philippine teen rock band.
Formerly childless, my wife and I now often find ourselves surrounded by 9 teenagers (3 girls and 6 boys). My wife and her sister often cook for the band. I remember, when back in Chicago, I would often play around with my hypothetical Philippine budget. It never occurred to me to that I should budget to feed 9 always hungry teens. I also never thought I would buy a jeepney, but today this large, brightly colored vehicle sits in my yard. It just seemed like the most economical mode of transportation for a band with instruments. We purchased it new in Cebu City. It’s kind of a blast for this old American to be riding around with a bunch of young musicians. The jokes, teasing, and laughter on the way to gigs never ends. I usually have no idea what they are saying in Cebuano, but my wife interprets.
They say God works in mysterious ways. Well, I don’t know about that, but is sure seems like a big coincidence that a few months after a priest abandons a teen band in a remote area of the world, a foreign couple suddenly shows up with the needed instruments and a desire to help kids.
It’s close to our one year anniversary in the Philippines. We are having fun, and so far, it has not been a big mistake.