Coming home from a book tour in Iloilo almost seven years ago, I began my blog with, “Iloilo is now a bustling metropolis, which was a pleasant surprise for me.”
I’d write these same words now and they’d still be true, and doubly so. The bustling Metropolis is even more bustling. The old airport where I arrived and departed has transformed into a modern complex—parks, buildings, restos, and art galleries. The farms that edged new buildings have morphed into hotels, boutiques, and other global enterprises one finds in Manila.
Only one thing has not changed—the people. Warm, wholehearted, welcoming—exactly the way I remember them. In every event where I was invited, I got the same uplifting treatment, doubled even.
Book tours like this are mounted by my publisher, OMF Literature. They’re junctures for me to meet my readers and for them to put a face on the words that I write. This time around, the tour was for "Dump Truck in My Heart" (kids) and Present! (Gen Y and their parents). The schedule is packed to the brim, the better to reach as many readers as possible.
OMF sent me an angel (again!) from Cebu named Lynnie, who has five heads, a dozen hands, and a heart as big as Earth to see to all the details, without missing a beat. She, too, had an angel (again!) named Christine, Iloilo-based, who brought along her adorable, four-month-old cherub, Matthew, to one of our brief breaks. What could be a better team!
My four-day trip took us to children in five schools, and to adults via a seminar, two church messages, and a women’s fellowship. All told, in nine events, I met close to two thousand new friends.
One blog post can’t begin to describe the overwhelming grace that swamped and seeped through all the places where we needed it.
A few of our first-day photos . . .
First stop: Iloilo Integrated School (IIS)
Second stop: Precious Gems Christian Academy (PGCA)
Third stop: Central Philippine University (CPU)
The photo below capped our long but wondrous day with some of the most affectionate children of Iloilo. Book lovers all!
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17 (ESV)