Pinoyspotting in Israel and Jordan

There are hundreds of tour groups that descend on Israel the whole year round and many of these groups have Filipino members. We were told that the biggest groups of tourists were the Evangelical Christians and second, the Catholics. I heard Tagalog spoken at almost every stop we made, only to see Filipinos hurrying to catch up with their tour guides, not presenting me a chance to even take their photos. I did manage to find some who sat to catch their breath like me, and workers at the hotels we stayed in.
Fran and Boy Cortez are from Vancouver, Canada. Their tour group was also billeted in our hotel. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

Fran and Boy Cortez are from Vancouver, Canada. Their tour group was also billeted in our hotel. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

All dressed up for a night out after Saturday evening Mass (left to right), Angie Tamesis who has been in Israel for eight years, Chona Lubi for 10 years and Lyn Gutierrez for 14 years. The three are caregivers. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

All dressed up for a night out after Saturday evening Mass (left to right), Angie Tamesis who has been in Israel for eight years, Chona Lubi for 10 years and Lyn Gutierrez for 14 years. The three are caregivers. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

Former San Francisco top litigator, Rod McLeod (center) with Teddy and Jeanine de Rivera, organizers of our pilgrimage. Rod is retired and has been living in Israel for the past six years with his wife, Naomi. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

Former San Francisco top litigator, Rod McLeod (center) with Teddy and Jeanine de Rivera, organizers of our pilgrimage. Rod is retired and has been living in Israel for the past six years with his wife, Naomi. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

A funny sign on our way to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

A funny sign on our way to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

The shopping skills of Filipinos are well-known, even in the Holy Land. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

The shopping skills of Filipinos are well-known, even in the Holy Land. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

Retired nurses enjoying Petra: Delia de la Rama (left) from New York was a UP instructor who hails from La Union. Helen Pablo from Pensacola, Florida is a UST graduate from Zambales. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

Retired nurses enjoying Petra: Delia de la Rama (left) from New York was a UP instructor who hails from La Union. Helen Pablo from Pensacola, Florida is a UST graduate from Zambales. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

Mr. and Mrs. Art Santos in Petra. Art is a retired architect and his wife worked at the Water Department of Southern California for 30 years before moving to Las Vegas. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

Mr. and Mrs. Art Santos in Petra. Art is a retired architect and his wife worked at the Water Department of Southern California for 30 years before moving to Las Vegas. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

Elizabeth Fortuna Padillo works in housekeeping at the Petra Moon Hotel. She hails from Davao. She has been in Jordan since 2012. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

Elizabeth Fortuna Padillo works in housekeeping at the Petra Moon Hotel. She hails from Davao. She has been in Jordan since 2012. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

Vanessa Mentar has been working at Movenpick Hotel in Petra, Jordan for the past eight years. She hails from Bataan. She says most Filipinos in Jordan are employed in the hotels and as caregivers. (Photo by Aimee Fuentes)

Vanessa Mentar has been working at Movenpick Hotel in Petra, Jordan for the past eight years. She hails from Bataan. She says most Filipinos in Jordan are employed in the hotels and as caregivers. (Photo by Aimee Fuentes)

Caregivers on their Friday day-off at the Citadel in Amman, Jordan (left to right): Rowena Costin hails from Tacloban and has been in Amman for seven years; Frenie Espino, from Pangasinan has been a housekeeper for 11 years; Zenaida Onio is from Nueva Ecija and has been in Jordan for 15 years; Lourdes Buensalida, 13 years in Jordan, is from Bicol. They say their employers are all very nice and kind. They also say that there are many Filipino construction workers and miners in Jordan. They offered to share their food with me: hipon sa gata at piniritong isda (shrimp in coconut milk and fried fish). This was so tempting after eating hummus every day! (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

Caregivers on their Friday day-off at the Citadel in Amman, Jordan (left to right): Rowena Costin hails from Tacloban and has been in Amman for seven years; Frenie Espino, from Pangasinan has been a housekeeper for 11 years; Zenaida Onio is from Nueva Ecija and has been in Jordan for 15 years; Lourdes Buensalida, 13 years in Jordan, is from Bicol. They say their employers are all very nice and kind. They also say that there are many Filipino construction workers and miners in Jordan. They offered to share their food with me: hipon sa gata at piniritong isda (shrimp in coconut milk and fried fish). This was so tempting after eating hummus every day! (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

Filipinos from Dubai on vacation in Amman, Jordan (left to right): Neil Aligonza from Capiz; Dinopaulo Bulaong from Bulacan; Eleanor Franceliso from Laguna. All three work as travel consultants in Dubai. They say the Filipinos in Dubai make up the second largest foreign worker population, next to East Indians. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

Filipinos from Dubai on vacation in Amman, Jordan (left to right): Neil Aligonza from Capiz; Dinopaulo Bulaong from Bulacan; Eleanor Franceliso from Laguna. All three work as travel consultants in Dubai. They say the Filipinos in Dubai make up the second largest foreign worker population, next to East Indians. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

Ruthcherry Melis is a promoter/hostess at the MasterCard lounge at the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan. She hails from Cavite. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

Ruthcherry Melis is a promoter/hostess at the MasterCard lounge at the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan. She hails from Cavite. (Photo by Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

After 11 days (eight in Israel and three in Jordan), my feet were tired and bruised. Our flight from Amman to Frankfurt was leaving at 2:30 a.m., an ungodly hour, for the five-hour flight to Frankfurt. We would have four hours waiting time in Frankfurt for another 12 hours to San Francisco. So tired and sleepy. I did hear Tagalog and Visayan spoken at the Frankfurt airport, but my body no longer had the energy to stop, talk to people and take their photos.