Caleb's Corner

 The goal of this page is to connect families more closely with the "world" their missionary is living in.  As Caleb shares his discoveries and adventures, we hope you enjoy the experiences too!

Makati Stake had a great Sports Saturday where they split all the kids into teams.  Each team chose members to compete during the day in different sports and games.  The total of all the scores was combined for each team at the end of the day and they had a winning team.  Caleb had a blast!

 We appreciate our Stake President's commitment to youth along with his counselors and stake leaders!   It's been a great blessing to Caleb!

 Imagine a country where neighborhoods advertise this way for themselves......on buses.

 School is finally over!  Three years at the International School of Manila.  It was a great place with great leaders, teachers, activities and friends.

This is a video driving back from the airport on a very light traffic day.

 For April 1st, our ward, the Makati 4th International Ward, had a "Wacky" Party where we dressed "wacky", played wacky games, ate wacky food, and had a "wacky" talent show.  The youth were in charge of it... and it was fun!


This is a way they decorate sidewalks in different places we have visited.  While the cement is still wet, they press leaves into it.  It is really nice.

                    This Filipina woman was sweeping the grass with the traditional broom made out of sticks.

                         Butterfly Garden on Palawan

 Buying Ice Cream in Narra

  My Aunt Arlene and Uncle Loyd came to visit.....and brought me all my favorite candies!!!! 

So, I like robotics.  I belong to the Robotics club that meets after school.  This year, I wanted to do something super fun, so I decided to try to make BB-8, a droid from Star Wars.

It was kind of a messy job with paper mache and styrofoam!

 I canibalized parts and pieces from deoderant bottles and a soap dispenser to make it work right.

          I got the idea from youtube and added my own ideas. 

The kitchen was a disaster.  But about midnight I finished the project and cleaned it up.

The Robolution/Maker Faire is always so much fun.  Everyone makes up their own invention.  They have Darth Vader that sprays out fire, all sorts of robots, an R2D2 and even a canon that shot fog rings that knocked a cup of the head of bystanders.  Classes from the elementary school as well as the middle school and high school come to watch and try out the robots.

I was hoping his BB-8 would have a head, but the magnets just weren't strong enough to hold it on, so I had a "Headless BB-8".  It was still really fun and the kids were amazed that a ball could roll itself around on the floor.

 They even saved my robot from last year and brought it out.  It was fun to see Wall-E again!

 Our teacher, Mr. Dingrado really plays the part of a robot well.  He even dresses like one.  He sure knows how to make robotics fun for everyone.  I think the whole school wants to join the robotics club now.

                                 Waiting for the award announcements!

This is my amazing early morning seminary teacher, Sister Jones, with all her supplies for our lesson.  It took three helpers to bring it all!  She's great!

 In Manila, space is used very well.  If there is room....someone will use it.

  I finally got my palm for my Eagle Scout Award.

 We're getting ready to perform in Jakarta for the IASAS arts and music performance.  For our pre-IASAS performance, I sang "Alma Del Core".

Our school has many opportunities to be creative.  In my business class, we had an assignment to come up with a business idea and research it and present it in a competition to some local business men who help start up companies.  My idea was "Deli-copter", a drone delivery service for local restaurants to deliver food faster to their customers.

We had a fair where we all explained our products to the students, parents and others who came to the fair, then we presented a video advertising our product, then we had to answer questions by a panel of judges.  It was a really fun experience.

 We made brownies "to demonstrate the delivery process" and to "sweeten the crowds' experience".

 The funniest part was when our group did the presentation to the judges.  We showed our advertisement video, then we explained the amount of time it would take for them to receive back their investment in our business and start making a profit.  After we told them about the profit they would be making, we opened this suitcase in front of them and said, "Just think about all the money you will be making."  We printed huge Filipino 1,000 peso bills.  It was hilarious.  I won a trophy probably because the drone delivery was a good idea, but I'm sure the brownies and peso humor helped. :)

This weekend was the Robo-Rumble, our annual ISM robotics competition. This year was the first year that it was an official international event. Four teams from TAS (Taipei) came to compete as well as one team from Beacon Academy in Manila. (In the picture below, our robot is the one closest to the camera.)

The rules of this years VEX competition can be found here.

Our team name was "Techno-sled", also known as "Zled".

We won!! These are two of my teammates; Sean and Akash. The final member of our team, Peter, was off taking the SAT. The guy to the left is our Robotics Supervisor, Mr. Dingrando. 

Footage from one of the matches...

Two weeks ago, our volleyball team traveled to Taipei, Taiwan for the IASAS competition. Six Southeast Asian schools competed in the 4-day long tournament, ISM (International School of Manila, my school), TAS (Taipei American School),  ISKL (International School of Kuala Lampur), JIS (Jakarta Intercultural school), SAS (Singapore American School), and ISB (International School of Bangkok). Personally, I think we had the best team. :)

The tournament was super intense and the games often went into overtime. Games normally end at 25 points, but several during the competition ended above 30.  I got to play against ISKL, TAS, and ISB.

Lots of parents and other ISM athletes came to watch our games.

We made it all the way to the finals against TAS and ended up coming away with silver. The ISM girls team got silver too.

During the competition, and the season leading up to it, our team got super close and all of us think of each other as brothers.   (Below is a picture of the team after losing the final match)

I am going to miss playing volleyball with such great guys. (I'm number 5 in the picture below)

Last week, I went to Singapore for the Pre-IASAS Volleyball Tournament.  We had a great time and got the Bronze.  Today was our last home meet in Manila.  I love playing volleyball and the team spirit we share.

                             We are lucky to have such a great seminary class!  It starts at 6:15am!

                              This was my first attempt at oil pastels.... kind of fun!

I got to be in Remix Academy this summer at BYU.  We were the orange group and had a ton of fun!

I had an awesome summer with some awesome people!  I was in a three week Chinese immersion program at BYU called StarTalk.  It was a great experience, and I really grew to love my group. 

I also got to do a one week camp with Remix Academy at BYU.  The teachers are members of the Vocal Point acapella group.  It was really fun and was an incredible experience.

  What a blessing it was to be back in Arizona for a few days and spend time with good
   friends.  So much thanks goes to the Robles family who housed me eventhough they
   had ended up moving the day I arrived!

      I also participated in a BYU Volleyball camp in preparation for the VB season at ISM.  It paid off because I made Varsity.  Two other players on our varsity team are the sons of the Quezon City Mission President.  I'm so glad Andrew and James Koster moved to Manila.  It's great having friends with similar interests!

Our season has started, and we had games Friday night and Saturday.  It was a ton of fun!



 Last week, we went to Narra (on Palawan) for a District Conference.  Dad had meetings all Saturday, so my friend, Peter Taylor, and I went to visit Arena island off of Palawan.

It is a 45 minute boat ride from Narra.  A security guard picked us up at the one fast food restaurant in town and drove us in his truck, weaving between palm trees, people and huts to the nearby beach.  We waded through water and climbed into the boat.

 This is the island once we got nearer to it.  From Narra, all you can see is a dot of land.

 When we arrived, we climbed out of the boat and waded through water again, walked up the sand and were greeted by ladies with shell necklaces and cold pineapple juice.

We basically had the island to ourselves.  We only saw one other couple there once.  So we felt like we could be really comfortable and do what we enjoy doing.  Kite flying is one thing we have not done since moving to Manila!

 It was amazingly beautiful!  We got to take kayaks and go out to a floating pier.  From there, we snorkeled and got to see all sorts of cool fish and beautiful coral.

 These trees are really amazing!  They send back down roots from the branches, so the tree becomes very entrenched in the ground.

    This island is a turtle sanctuary.  Turtles come regularly and lay their eggs on the beaches.  The hotel staff protects the eggs with cages until they hatch, then they help care for the turtles until they are ready to be let go.

        In the water, we found all sorts of interesting creatures.  This one was fascinating.

Being alone on the island brought out our natural survival instincts!


 Dinner was amazing!  The chef fixed colorful and flavorful food he thought we'd really enjoy.  It was just as nice to look at as it was to eat.

        This reminded me of Sister Campbell's stories of her mission in the Philippines.

The sunset was spectacular!

This trip was what we both needed after studying for and taking finals! 

They even set up a bonfire for us to enjoy that night.

                                            A perfect end to a perfect day!


We got up early the next morning and took the small boat to the big boat across the water to another small boat to the shore where we met the truck that took us to where Dad was waiting to pick us up and drive is to the meeting 30 mins. away.

         They loaded our suitcases and us all in the small boat to get out to the deeper water where the larger boat was waiting.

                             How many times have you taken a boat to church?

    I couldn't help thinking about what it will be like to be a missionary in less than 2 years.

    This is a panoramic picture of huge fish-drying stands where the fishermen were drying their fish from the night's catch.

 When we met Dad at the parking lot, there were other members who had met there too to get rides on UV's. We had room, so we took them.  On the way we picked up another family that was walking.  It's amazing how many Filipinos can fit in a van!

      Whenever there is a District Conference, they make necklaces for the visiting authorities and guests.  They really make you feel special.  I was asked to share my testimony so I did.  I basically explained how I tell my friends why I believe what I do.  It's because of the feeling I have inside when I do what's right.  The Holy Ghost witnesses it is right by the feelings I have. 


                  A group of my friends from school, (me, Simon, Abhinav, Tai, Ishan, Ashish


    Friday, May 13th, was the Fathers and Sons Campout.  Makati 4th ward chose the American Cemetery for the occasion.  Quite a chuckle came from the congretation when it was first announced that the Fathers and Sons campout would be on Friday the 13th in the cemetery! 

 The cemetery is surrounded by city on every side, but the edges of the cemetery have some land where it is perfect for camping.  You forget you are in the middle of Manila!

 They have amazing trees that send down roots from the branches that end up growing as thick as some branches.  It was so fun to climb up them.

One of Manila's HUGE toads!

                                  The American Cemetery is a beautiful place, day or night.

Caleb got to go on a night hike in the mountains with one of his leaders, some other boys and some Filipino guides.  They hiked for several hours before finding all sorts of night creatures.  They caught several of them and brought some of them back for the leader's collection at his home.

                                   This is the most delicious coconut juice I have even had!

                                                   This is a viper he has at his home.

One of the guides caught a bat, so Caleb got to hold it.

 This is 3 foot long "venomous snake" that bit Caleb. According to Caleb, it makes a better story if you leave out the fact that the snake is as thin as a pencil and about as venomous as a bee sting.  :) 
                                       How do you make a snowman in the Philippines?

                                                      Swiss Family Robinson "Bombs"

                                        Local Fish basket....made to keep fish fresh while fishing

    For spring break, we took a trip to Palawan and stayed in Narra, then visited the Brooke's Point Branch.  It was a beautiful drive with a wide variety of trees and amazing sights.

 This is a scene we see every morning on the way to seminary.  This guy barbeques breakfast for people every morning on his roof.  Usually there is a big cloud of smoke.  A lot of workers pass by his home on their way to work in the city, so he has a thriving business.  The rooster stands guard every morning.  

                                 This proves I can cook a Sunday roast!

March 18th, we went for zone conference and District Conference in Puerto Princesa.  Here I am standing on a sand bar out in the middle of the ocean.  It was amazing!

                             They have the coolest looking starfish!

                                          Plane flying over sandbar.

                             The sand is amazingly fine and white.


We now have two new members of our family....African Love Birds.  They aren't trained, so I'm starting to train them.  This one is fairly tame....he doesn't bite me.  The other one....well.....

3-0-2016   Today, I got to be in the Third Annual Robotics Maker's Fair.  We all got to build robots with our own ideas.  It was so much fun.  

 I built my own version of Wall-E.  He could follow people, shake hands, wave and say his name.  I also made an automatic bubble blower (on the left side of the picture.  I made it so it dipped the wand in the bubble solution, then a fan turned on and blew the bubbles.  The elementary school kids came to see all the inventions.  They LOVED Wall-E and the bubbles.

It was fun showing the kids how to use the remote control.  This fair is a great way to get kids excited about robotics.  We had over 1,000 kids come!


The gardener, Michael, came and trimmed all the coconut trees in our yard.  He was so kind, he prepared some coconuts for us to drink the buco juice.  It actually tastes pretty good after you chill it in the fridge.

It's amazing to be an American, singing Italian in the Philippines in a Filipino Barong! This is my solo for IASAS (Musical groups from International Schools from Southeast Asia meet in one of the areas and perform for each other and then several numbers together.)  This year, we are performing in......Manila.  :)

 This is the International School of Manila's Show Choir.  It's so much fun to sing in!

Every year, the school has one day called "Bearcat Challenge".  It is a day full of every kind of activity you could imagine.  We get to sign up for whatever activities we want, and everyone competes.  They add up the points for each grade levels' wins to determine which grade level is the champion.  We have every sport, chess, robotics, computer games, basically every game you can think of.  We all dress up to represent whatever our grade level has chosen. This year, my group was the "Demigods".  It's so great that such an intensely academic school takes time for fun too!

                                                One well-cooked fish!

Missionary shoes during MLC.

        We had a track meet with all the schools in the area.

             I did the long jump, triple jump and 100 meter dash.

We spent the weekend in Narra for the District Conference.  It was really beautiful, and the people are really amazing there.


 It was "Spirit Week" at our school last week.  One day the theme was "Athlete vrs. Mathlete".  I like math AND sports, so I dressed half and half.  It's nice to have a break and do something creative.

I have been asking, ever since we got called on a mission, about whether or not I will get to drive in Manila.  Well..... this picture is as close as I will get to having a car to drive in Manila.  :)

(We were at a baptism and one of the members drives a jeepney!)

     An interesting name for a shoe store.......

This is what it was like on New Year's Eve looking out our window.

Traffic in the Philippines is famous for its "creative" way of making it from place to place in the easiest way for everyone.  Even if it doesn't make sense, if it works....they will try it.  Even if the sign or law says one thing, sometimes it doesn't even matter.  So when we drive, we just imagine we are all like water moving down a street and then we're not surprised when cars, bikes, jeepneys or trikes "flow" where they fit.  It's amazing how few accidents there are, and people are generally very patient.  But, its no wonder why my parents don't want me to drive in Manila!

                    Surprisingly, there are huge stores and malls here in Manila.  This is a picture in S&R which is like Costco in the US.  They even sell great pizza!  They have some American goods, but things are quite expensive.

It is common to see security guards with big rifles near all of the big stores, garages, etc. in Makati where the mission office is. They are very nice and helpful.

One interesting thing is that we don't see many lawn mowers here.  People generally mow with weed eaters or hand trimming shears.

We flew to Palawan for interviews and were able to have dinner with Ramon and Lovelle and their family.  They are a wonderful family who radiate light and goodness.  They introduced us to new foods... shrimp paste, raw fish with cucumbers and onions, and beef kame-kame.  Dad tried a green mango smoothie.  It was tart and tasted like lemonade.  The shrimp paste was salty, sour and fishy.  It's interesting to see what different cultures think tastes really good.   The restaurant was called bird's nest in Tagalog.  They are famous for bird nest soup.  The soup is made from nests that are "harvested" from caves.  The nests are made with twigs and the birds' saliva. The nests are boiled down to capture the delightful taste of the bird saliva.  Dad ate his soup, but I didn't try any.

It's kind of strange to be taller than most of the people in the airport.  I'm about a head taller than most people.

 Some of the most interesting and beautiful flowers grow here.
 We went to see a World War 2 Museum dedicated to those who fought for Philippine freedom on Palawan.


We saw actual pictures taken of the infamous Death March where almost half the Americans died and many of the Filipinos died.

This was taken when General MacArthur returned to help liberate the Philippines from the Japanese.

This was really cool to see how they disguised a radio to look like just a canteen.

  These were some of the weapons used during the fighting.

When this man, "Buddy", who has collected all these things and runs the museum, was only 9 years old, his father was executed by the Japanese for being part of the resistance.

These are pictures of one of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan.  The two pilots who dropped the bombs did not know what they were carrying.

It was cool trying to read the notes written in Chinese.  I'm taking Chinese in school.

"Buddy" has pictures of American teachers who stayed on Palawan and tried to bring education to the people there.  He has great respect for their sacrifices made to stay and live there and credits the level of education on the island to them.

   These are papaya trees.

When we stopped at a toll booth, the lady had a mask on to protect her from the exhaust.  But she had a smile printed on it!  It's not unusual to see people holding handkerchiefs over their nose and mouth when they are near the main streets.  They also use handkerchiefs to wipe the sweat off their faces. Some have a small towel stuck out the back neck of their shirt that they use for sweat too.  It's normal to see these things.

It was really fun having Elder and Sister Ardern here.  They are both very nice and have a good sense of humor.  Angel fixed some very delicious food for all of us.  As a joke, Elder Ardern said we should share Angel with them.


    For our p-day one week, we visited several islands near Palawan.

 They have sand crabs running around on the beach in their shells.

      One place called Honda Bay had a huge reef that you could snorkel around.  The water was warm and eventhough it was raining, it was really fun!  We all had life vests on so we couldn't dive down and touch the coral.  But we could see all sorts of fish and sea life.  It was amazing!  The best part was when we tossed small bits of bread in the water.  TONS of fish immediately came to us.  We could have touched them and almost fed them out of our hands!

    One of the best parts of this mission is the good food Angel makes for the missionaries!

 The best part is being with my Dad and Mom, serving the Lord.  We are so lucky!  I love being with the missionaries!

Here are some shoes I saw at a missionary's apartment.  Yes, they do work and play hard!

Recently, I had two great OYM (open your mouth) experiences.
In the first, Elder Haynie, Elder Vang, and I came out of a discussion w/ a member referral in the persons family shrine. We exited through this semi-dark alleyway and turned right onto a busy street. in short while, I started asking them about specifically how they did OYM's, like how to follow up on your opening question and how to bring the conversation to a religious topic. (They had said earlier that I should do my first OYM so I was trying to gather as much info about OYM'ing as possible). They pretty much just said something along the lines of they are happy to help w/ anything so you can ask them any thing you want, it always will eventually lead to the gospel, etc. When we reached the corner, we paused and this guy came toward us w/ outstretched arms. I think the guy might have been drunk. We turned the corner and started walking. About 100 yards into it one of them said that "you can do it (OYM)to anyone", and the other said something like "Just whoever you feel prompted to". Seconds later we passed in front of the gates of this school. I looked over to our left and I saw this guy in a Lakers purple jersey. I felt prompted to go over and OYM him. I walked over to him and said, "Excuse me, can I ask you a question? Do you know where Juan Alvarez is...lives". He shrugged his shoulders and said "I don't know an Alvarez." The missionaries then took over and said the name of a street and he gave us directions. Eventually they asked him some questions about himself and he said that he was married, with 5 kids and he had no work because of sicknesses that he had. They gave him their info and we shook his hand and walked off. Later they visited him and then sent President Ostler a text, it said..."We taught the man Caleb contacted yesterday. He said he is searching for the truth and even accepted a baptismal date for this august 16th. "

In the other OYM, I was on an airplane to Palawan(the island group in our mission. I was sitting next to the AP's (assistants to the president) so I couldn't talk to anyone very easily, but after the flight landed and we stood up, I tapped a guy on the shoulder and said "So what brings you to Palawan?" he said "Work". When we asked him more about himself he said that he is working for an oil/gas company and it was his first time on the island. We told him that we were here for our first time and that we were staying in manila for a mission lasting 3 years. We all disembarked and we saw him again at the hotel but didn't talk to him that much besides a greeting.

This is my first interesting thing to eat!  On Palawan, we went out to dinner with the Hiatts and Wirthlins.  I got my first taste of crocodile sisig!  Mom even tried some.  It was pretty chewy.

This is a view of Manila from outside our first hotel room.  It gives you an idea of how huge the city is.

Hi!  I'm Caleb.  I'm 14 and start high school in the Fall (2014). I'm the youngest of seven kids, and I'm really excited I get to go with my parents on this mission. This page is to share the fun adventures I have and the interesting things I discover in the Philippines.  Hope you like it!