Four Days in Papua New Guinea

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After returning to Sydney and repacking my suitcase, I headed north to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea on Thursday. Fr. Ariel picked me up at the airport. He is a classmate from back in the 2nd Grade at Don Bosco Technical Institute (now College) in Mandaluyong, Philippines. He spent time with me in Virginia in 2012 in between assignments, so I promised to visit him when I returned to the other side of the world. I stayed with the Salesian community at the Emmaus Conference Center on the grounds of Don Bosco Technological Institute in East Boroko. The community welcomed me with open arms, and I was suddenly immersed in religious life once again … with common prayer in the early morning, mass, and the rosary with the resident students in the evening, and meals in common. The rest of the day, everyone was immersed in the life and work of the gospel among the people of Papua New Guinea.

On Friday, my host took me to see local places of interest–the National Museum and Art Gallery (we were not allowed to take photos inside–so I took some off the web), the Port Moresby Nature Park.

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Photos from the National Museum & Art Gallery website.

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The following day, we visited Vunabosco Agro-Technical Secondary School in Rabaul, where Fr. Roger serves as rector, and who I haven’t seen since our days in college. We took a tour of the school, and I forgot to take pictures! Here’s one off the web.

Vunabosco Rabaul

Fr. Angel took us back to DBTI by way of the Bomana War Cemetery. From the website of the Kokoda Track (Australians in WWII): “Just off the road from Port Moresby at the southern end of the Kokoda track is Bomana, the largest war cemetery in the Pacific. It contains 3779 graves. There are 3069 known and 237 unknown Australians from the fighting in New Guinea together with 443 Allied soldiers sailors and airmen.” A fitting tribute … and a somber warning and reminder of the tremendous human cost of war.

On Saturday, Fr. Ariel, Br. Reto, & I went to the Loloata Island Resort to enjoy some snorkeling and time at the beach.

Loloata

But I only took pictures after we got back from snorkeling … at Lion’s Island, a boat ride away from the resort above. We saw some lovely coral and exotic fish. And the water was warm as bathwater. I spent a good deal of time just sitting in the clear shallow water up to my shoulders soaking in the scenery–a most relaxing experience.

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 The dock on Loloata.

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Lion’s Island, a fifteen minute motorboat ride away. We landed toward the right of the island.

Victoria Crowned Pigeon (the size of a chicken) roam the island … so do wallabies (scrubby-looking things). The lorikeets are in cages. The giant tribal masked figures stand guard in the dining area.

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Br. Reto, Fr. Ariel & myself before departing the island.

After morning mass on Sunday, we headed to Adventure Park, a local destination for family picnics in wide open grassy areas with a lake setting, and it seems a developing amusement park complex (water rides, ferris wheel, paddle boats, etc), where also the National Orchid Garden & Wildlife Sanctuary is located. We spent our time at the gardens where a great variety of orchids are on display, and at the wildlife sanctuary where we saw various brightly-plumed birds of paradise.

The orchids on display.

After visiting Adventure Park, we joined the Canossian Sisters for lunch at their convent in Boroko.

Rolo B Castillo © 2014