Philippines Olongapo Mission

Free resources about the Philippines Olongapo Mission:

*Other Mission Pages: Philippines LDS Missions.

Philippines Olongapo Mission Address

Here’s a recent address for the Philippines Olongapo Mission. We try to keep this information up to date, but it’s a good idea to check the mission address with several sources, including your mission packet or the mission office.

Philippines Olongapo Mission
Km. 140 National Highway
Mangan-Vaca, Subic
2209 Zambales

Phone Number: 63-47-232-6282
Mission President: President Ruel E. Lacanienta

Philippines Olongapo Mission Map

Here’s a link to the mission map for the Philippines Olongapo Mission (LDS). To access the official, up-to-date map for the Olongapo Mission:

  1. Log into your LDS account here.
  2. Click here.

Videos with Olongapo RMs

Here are in-depth YouTube video interviews with returned missionaries from the Olongapo Mission.  We interview hundreds of returned missionaries each year, so check back regularly to see new RM interviews.

mission interview

LDS-Friendly Videos about Philippines

Here are LDS-friendly educational videos about Philippines. We scoured YouTube to find the best quality videos about Philippines, that are free from inappropriate music, immodesty and profanity.

LDS Church  places  history  food  People and Culture  language  Storms and Natural Disasters  time lapses  nature  traditions

Olongapo Missionary Blogs

Here’s a list of LDS missionary blogs for the Olongapo Mission. This list includes the missionary’s name, URL and when their blog was updated.

*Send your missionary a gift (mission-specific shirts, ties, Christmas stockings/ornaments, pillowcases, etc.)

Elder Hunter Hardy 2018
President & Sister Dahle 2017
Elder Jace Breinholt 2017
Sisters Epperson & Hays 2017
Elder Kobe Potter 2017
Mission Alumni 2016
Sister Audrey Morgan 2016
Elder & Sister Wood 2016
Sister Leticia Hansen 2015
Sister Courtney Marshall 2015
Sister Kimberly Dahl 2015
Sister Marissa Miller 2015
Sister McLean 2015
Sister Raynor 2015
Elder & Sister Gorringe 2015
Elder Jacob Rogers 2014
Sister Sarah Taylor 2014
Sister Danai Sirrine 2014
Sister Quinian Hess 2014
Sister Chelsea Pilkington 2014
Sister Abbi Rossberg 2014
Elder Beau Kapeliela 2014
Sister Brittni Burt 2013
Sister Jasmine Jensen 2013
Sister Kacey Savage 2013
Sister Liezel Alberto 2013
Elder Jensen Palmer 2013
Sister Lillie Ellsworth 2011
Elder BJ Buckmiller 2011
Elder Tanner Stephens 2011
Elder Genesis Oculares 2010
Elder Zachary Alger 2010
Sister Jessie Johnson 2009
Elder & Sister Kimberlin 2009

Philippines Olongapo Mission Groups

Here are Philippines Olongapo Mission Groups- for LDS missionary moms, returned missionaries, mission presidents and other alumni of the Olongapo Mission.

  1. Philippines Olongapo Mission Alumni Group (399 members)
  2. Members & RM served in Olongapo Mission Group (352 members)
  3. Returned Missionaries of Olongapo Mission Group (313 members)
  4. RMs Olongapo Mission 2011-2014 Group (225 members)
  5. Philippines Olongapo Mission Connection Group (124 members)
  6. Olongapo Mission President Burtenshaw Group (89 members)
  7. Olongapo Mission Young Single Adults Group (66 members)
  8. LDS Olongapo Mission Facebook Group (47 members)
  9. Olongapo Mission Return Missionaries Group (29 members)
  10. Olongapo Mission Alumni Facebook Group (24 members)
  11. We are all enlisted Olongapo Mission Group (20 members)

Philippines Olongapo Mission T-Shirts

Here are T-shirts for the Philippines Olongapo Mission!

Shirt designs include Philippines Olongapo Mission logo/emblem shirts and Called to Serve shirts. The shirts make great gifts for pre-missionaries, returned missionaries and missionaries currently serving. LDS Mission shirts come in all sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, up to 4XL.  The mission designs are printed on white shirts and are shipped to you.

*Simply click on a shirt design to view the details and submit an order. The designs on mission t-shirts may also be printed on other LDS mission gifts, including: Olongapo missionary aprons, Christmas stockings, ties, pillow cases, teddy bears and Christmas ornaments.

*Click here to browse Olongapo Mission gifts

Recommended Mission Prep Books

(Fun Fact: John Bytheway served in the Philippines!)

Olongapo Mission Presidents

Here’s a list of current and past Mission Presidents of the Olongapo Mission. 

  1. 2017-2020, Ruel E. Lacanienta
  2. 2014-2017, Dennis VaNon Dahle
  3. 2011-2014, Roberto Bayobo Querido
  4. 2008-2011, Dave A. Aquino
  5. 2005-2008, Craig A. Burtenshaw
  6. 2002-2005, Keith F. Kinghorn
  7. 1999-2002, E. LaMar Sanders
  8. 1997-1999, Del B. Garner
  9. 1994-1997, Allen C. Christensen
  10. 1991-1994, John H. Lyons
  11. 1988-1991, Robert J. Kennerley

Philippines LDS Statistics (2015)

  • Church Membership: 710,764
  • Missions: 21
  • Temples: 2
  • Congregations: 1,181
  • Family History Centers: 171

Helpful Tips about the Philippines (articles written by RMs)

Olongapo Missionary Survey

Here are survey responses from Philippines Olongapo RMs, to give you a snapshot into what it’s like to live in the mission.

*Click here to take a survey to help pre-missionaries going to your mission.

When did you serve?

  • 2016 (Ryan)
  • 2013-2015 (Salome)
  • 2013-2015 (Maveni)
  • 2013-2015 (Ryan)
  • November 2011 – December 2013 (Nick)
  • 2009-2011 (Eric)
  • 2008-2014 (Carmela)
  • 2007-2009 (Michelle)
  • 2006-2008 (Ann)
  • 2006-2008 (Arlene)
  • 1999-2001 (Dan)
  • June 1999-December 2000 (Coco)
  • 2012-2014 (Karson)
  • 2013-2014 (Quinlan)
  • 2006-2008 (Jerry)

Which areas did you serve in?

  • Guagua, Bataan, Olongapo, Zambales. (Salome)
  • Candeleria, Lubao, Botolan, Castillejos, Morong, Taugtog. (Maveni)
  • Balawan, Olongapo, Iba. (Ryan)
  • Botolan, Subic, Hermosa, Iba, Subic again. (Nick)
  • Lubao, Bani, Guagua, San Narciso and Cabangan. (Eric)
  • Zambales, Philippines. (Carmela)
  • Bataan Olongapo Alaminos Batolan. (Michelle)
  • Olongapo Zambalez, Balanga Bataan, Infanta Pangasinan and Alaminos Pangasinan. (Ann)
  • San Marcelino, Olongapo/Alaminos/Orani/Botolan. (Arlene)
  • Masinloc, Zambales; Lubao, Pampanga; San Agustin, Zambales; Samal, Bataan; Matain, Zambales; San Marcelino, Zambales. (Quinlan)
  • Orion, Cabalan, Bulawen (I’m here now), Bagac, Hundred Islands, Mandama, Mariveles. (Jerry)

What were some favorite foods?

  • Puto: dessert, Adobo, Balut. (Ryan)
  • Adobo, siningang, bicol expresss, fruit salad. (Salome)
  • Pinakbet, Ginataang Kalabasa, Menudo, Balut. (Maveni)
  • Holo holo, pansit and balut. (Ryan)
  • Adobo, Afritada, Adobong Sitaw, Chicken Curry, Tinola, Sayote, Mangoes and Rice. Lots and lots of rice! (Nick)
  • Adobo, tinola, spaghetti, asado, and the FRUIT!!! (Eric)
  • Seafood specially fish and lots and lots of veggies. (Carmela)
  • Chicken Adobo. Lumpia. Pancit Canton. Tocino. (Michelle)
  • Daeng, palakang bukid. (Ann)
  • Pinakbet. (Arlene)
  • Toron (fried Bananas). Tilapia. (Dan)
  • Tacos, spaghetti, barbecue, roasted and fried chicken, pork and chicken Adobo. (Coco)
  • Ginataang Bilo Bilo ( kind of tapioca rice and fruit pudding), Bayawak (Monitor Lizard so soft) Kare Kare (peanut base with veggies), Mongu na may pork (Mung beans with pork), Dog (stringy elk-like texture), Balut (duck fetus), Ube Ice Cream (sweet yam root almost creamy hazelnut taste) the freshest sweetest savory Mangoes and other fruits (rambutan, dragon fruit, lychees, jackfruit), tapsilog (cured ham). (Karson)
  • Toron (fried banana). Bicol Express. Bilo-bilo. Pancakes. Filipino Spaghetti. Palaka (frog). Tortang talong (eggplant dipped in egg and fried). (Quinlan)
  • Chocolates. (Jerry)

What was a funny experience?

  • So I was on my first exchange and we went to the Zambales national high school to help with immunizations. I was the only white/American Elder there. We were walking past some classes to get to the class where we were to help. I was walking past a class of girls and they all started screaming like Justin Beiber was walking by! I didn’t know what was going on so what did I do? I ran! Then the other Elders were saying, “artista ka!” Which is like saying, “You are a superstar bro!” Haha, so that’s when I started to learn just how cute white people are to them! I got compliments everywhere! In America I would call myself a solid 6/10 tops. But there, I was like 16/10! (Ryan)
  • Riding on a tricycle when I told every one that I am a Filipina. (Salome)
  • The first time I tried eating Balut with one of the other Elders. He was just about to throw up the whole time while I pretty much downed it like nothing. (Maveni)
  • Celebrating birthdays with cake fights. (Ryan)
  • An older woman (in her 60s) would kiss my companion and I on the cheek at the end of every lesson because she wished she were 40 years younger! With her husband right there, and he didn’t bat an eye. (Eric)
  • Funny experience was when we didn’t have the chance to have a proper bath for straight 3 days. (Carmela)
  • Watching my companion, who was straight from the Mission Training Center, eat balut. (Michelle)
  • When my companion, Sister Loreto and I, were afraid at our apartment in St.Rita, Olongapo city during typoon, then we experienced the funniest ever moment!!! (Arlene)
  • On my first Monday in the field we went to the market to get our food for the week. I was disgusted with how dirty it smelled and looked. When we were looking at the hanging animal parts in the meat section, a giant cockroach fell from the rafters and landed on my neck. I freaked out. The culture shock was big, but looking back on it, I just laugh. (Dan)
  • Funny during our Mission Christmas picture. (Coco)
  • For my companions birthday, members bought him a cake. I coordinated a cake fight bringing an extra change of clothes for him for our last dinner appointment of the night! (Karson)
  • Finding insects and spiders while tracting. (Jerry)

What was a crazy experience?

  • Crazy experience was when they drove on the road and the most dangerous experience was when my investigator let us out from their house. (Salome)
  • A drunk man intruded in the middle of a lesson as he made his way from the road shouting and busted the door open of the little home we were teaching in. Surprisingly he did not cause any harm to anyone that was in the house. I was with a new Elder that just got into the field and hardly spoke the language but luckily as angry as the drunk man sounded outside, he left as peaceful as can be and ended up apologizing at the end. (Maveni)
  • Teaching investigators on their porch during a typhoon. (Ryan)
  • In the rainy season there was massive flooding in my area. the storm got so bad that we had to return to the apartment because of the flooding and lightning. I was also on an exchange with an Elder who had only been out for a few weeks. We were riding a jeepney back to our apartment when we came to a place where the flooding was about 3 feet deep. The jeepney driver attempted to cross through the flooding, but ended up flooding the engine instead. We waited there for a few minutes while the driver attempted to get the jeepney to move but only accomplished smoking out all of the passengers. This is when people started to get out of the jeepney to push. I handed my bag to the new Elder and told him to stay in the jeep. I got out and started to push and we were eventually able to get the jeepney to a dry spot. We ended up having to walk the quarter of a mile through another flooded area in order to get back to our apartment. That was the worst flooding I saw throughout my mission. (Nick)
  • One Saturday we went out planning to work half the day because a typhoon was coming that night. When we went to the bus stop to get home (30 minutes away the next town over), we waited until midnight when finally a nice guy with a jeepney happened to be going there and offered us a ride. It got really windy and rainy while we waited, but luckily the craziest parts of the storm didn’t start until we were already home. (Eric)
  • Dangerous experience was when we have to travel by foot from a town to a place where no vehicle can pass through. (Carmela)
  • Being yelled at by a drunk man telling us not to teach his wife anymore. (Michelle)
  • Umapak sa dagat dahil walang tulay na madaanan pauwi. (Ann)
  • When my companion and I were walking at the cemetery side during the night and as we walked along the way, we were faced by a crazy lady handling stone. My companion at San Marcelino, Sister Egonio and I ran because the drunken man held a bolo. (Arlene)
  • Lightning struck on the road ten feet from me and it went through my umbrella and shocked me. A Typhoon came right over our home and it was pretty scary, but awesome. While in Dagupan a 6.2 earthquake came through and the walls looked like they were going to tumble onto me. (Dan)
  • In my second area in Dagupan, our neighbor hated us and he said he would kill us! (Coco)
  • We taught an native Elder to ride a bike. After just a couple of weeks of getting the hang of it, he hit the breaks going down hill, flipping over the handle bar and broke his wrist at 10 at night. Luckily, I knew how to tie a sling for his arm and we took him to the hospital. For the next couple of weeks, we had to take turns sleeping on the floor and negotiating prices in a foreign hospital where you had to purchase supplies at a store across the street before they will even operate or treat them. (Karson)
  • Having a snake in a house. (Jerry)

What was a spiritual experience?

  • The most spiritual experience is when I attended my first baptism in my mission and also one of my teaching experiences. I really know the Spirit was there and I felt it and that moment I used words that changed the heart of the investigator. (Salome)
  • The very first time I baptized someone, I realized how big of a step it was for the person and their starting point on the pathway to salvation. (Maveni)
  • Seeing how everyone came together after the storms to help people out and just give service without wanting anything back. (Ryan)
  • While teaching a couple, we noticed this little girl always playing with their son. My companion and I both felt impressed that we needed to talk to her and teach her parents. When we met her parents we found out that the father had tuberculosis, pneumonia, and a growth of some kind in his lungs. He was a carpenter, but had to sell all of his tools in order to buy medicine, but wasn’t recovering, and expected not to live much longer. We gave him a blessing that night and the next week when we returned they told us they had gone back to the doctor for a checkup they had scheduled and the doctor was shocked because his tuberculosis was gone, there was no growth in his lungs, and his pneumonia was in the weakest stage. His pneumonia fluctuated still, and one Saturday when we taught them he could not even sit up. We invited them to church, and he said that he would go even if it was the last thing he did. He told us the next morning he felt worse. But he had promised us (and, more importantly, the Lord) that he would go to church. Barely able to walk, he did it. He even felt the desire to turn back when they arrived at the church. But he went inside anyway, and as soon as he walked through the doors of The Church he felt no weakness. He witnessed so many miracles that taught all of us about how much Heavenly Father loves him and each of His children. (Eric)
  • Felt blessed, felt right to be used as a channel of blessing and a channel to pass the word of wisdom. (Carmela)
  • An investigator referred us to his neighbor across the street. The neighbor was a really old man. Said he learned about the church many years ago and always wanted to be baptized but never was because he was worried his family would disown him. He told us that he wished he had not wasted all those years. Our investigator who referred him was with us and this was the exact same reason that he was struggling with not being baptized. Having him hear the old man’s story was an answer to a prayer to help him overcome his struggles. (Michelle)
  • Punted for 4 consecutive appointments then after praying comes a revelation as to where to go after and then the Golden investigators come in and ask why we were so late. Whoah! So inspiring. (Ann)
  • When we served two areas at Alaminos 1 and Alaminos 2, my companion and I have to give extra effort to take care of the area. There was a time that I cried inside the bus at night because we have to attend an investigator in the other area yet we are tired the whole day but we have to attend to our investigator’s need. (Arlene)
  • Too many to list. Amazing experiences. (Dan)
  • Many to mention. My spiritual experiences are during conferences, interviews with the President, attending baptisms and teaching the 1st discussion…Joseph Smith Vision. (Coco)
  • My companion and I were arguing about where to go because of the lack of progress. We said a quick prayer and walked to an area we had never been before. Little did we know, someone was being prepared. We met a woman, doubtful of our message, confused by our language skills but desperately in need of the Spirit so much she decided to come to church the next day and every day since. We had no idea that her family had disowned her, despite her being a well-respected member in another church. She finished The Book of Mormon in a month and became a youth teacher within three months. She cooked us meals and worked with us referring her friends and family despite strong resistance. (Karson)
  • A family who never felt love towards their fellow members, was changed when they learned the Gospel. (Jerry)

What are some interesting facts about the Olongapo Mission?

  • We had an old US naval base that is now a giant mall. Olongapo means head of chief. This is general for the Philippines; when you meet an elderly person, it is SUPER good manners and super polite to do “Mano po” it is the highest respect you can give. You take their hand and touch their hand, with their knuckles up, to your forehead as you bend down. A lot of older people were amazed and honored that I’d do that. White people are called Joe because of the GI JOES from war. They all say “hey Joe!” Just say hey back. White is more attractive to them. In America, people pay to tan. In the Philippines, they have soap and stuff that is “whitening” and they carry an umbrella even if it’s not raining, to keep the sun off them. (Ryan)
  • The interesting facts when I was tracting I’d talk with everyone I met. (Salome)
  • There were multiple languages within some regions of the area. There was either rich or poor and nothing in between. You were able to get around with many modes of public transportation besides walking and biking like tricycles, buses and jeepneys. There are also some historical sites of the Philippines that are located within the mission. (Maveni)
  • It has one of the highest baptism rates in the world for such a little island. (Ryan)
  • The Philippines Olongapo Mission is composed of three provinces. Bataan, Zambales and Pampanga. Bataan is home to the Bataan Death March where American and Filipino prisoners of war were marched to San Fernando. Many prisoners died and a Shrine of Valor was built on top of Mt. Samat. The Shrine is a large cross that can be seen from a lot of places throughout Bataan. Zambales is a drier province that isn’t nearly as green as other provinces in the Philippines. Iba, the capital of Zambales is known as the Mango Capital of the Philippines. Every year in May they hold a giant Mango Festival. The capital building is decorated with many vibrant colors and the city just comes alive with mangoes. This is just in time for when mangoes become ripe. Not only are they really cheap at market, but neighbors will usually give out free mangoes if they have a mango tree due to the overabundance of mangoes. Expect to get your fill of mangoes if you’re anywhere near Iba in the month of May! There is only a small part of Pampanga in the mission, but it is lush and beautiful. (Nick)
  • All but three areas are coastal. LOTS of beach visibility. And the other side is a mountain range. (Eric)
  • To help others believe and lift up their faith. To establish the love of God in the hearts of the people. (Carmela)
  • The word Olongapo is derived from the phrase ulo ng apo meaning the grandchild’s head. There is a story behind it. The south end of the mission in Bataan is where some of World War II was fought and the Japanese soldiers made the American captives do the death walk where they walked until they collapsed and then were killed. There are markets along the highway commemorating each mile. (Michelle)
  • The smallest mission in the Philippines in the year 2006-2008. (Ann)
  • When we helped and assisted sisters and a brothers working with their papers to marry legally. (Arlene)
  • Facts about my mission…I was converted to become a true follower of Christ. (Coco)
  • It is on the coast, it has an American base with luxuries like American foods, TGI Fridays and California Pizza Kitchen (don’t expect this anywhere else). The Bataan death march took place in the southern part. They travel by bus and tricycle (motorcycle with a side cart.). (Karson)
  • It’s one of the smallest missions in the Philippines. (Quinlan)
  • I served a long period of time in one area. Still I serve this day, for I found my eternal companion in this (the same) area. (Jerry)

What was the weather like?

  • Hot and humid with lots of rain. Sometimes stormy. I loved during storms hearing frogs say MORONG with a deep croaking. (Morong was my second area). (Ryan)
  • SOMETIMES is cool but it was really hot. (Salome)
  • It was very humid and hot every day and I cherished the cloudy days. Even when it was raining, it was still a little hot. When it was typhoon season there would be “brownouts” and it made some things difficult like showering and keeping things refrigerated. (Maveni)
  • Really, really hot, humid and rainy. (Ryan)
  • There are three main seasons in the Philippines. The Hot season is from the end of March through May. It is blistering hot all day, especially during the afternoon. Take extra water. The Rainy season is from June through September. Even though it is supposed to be rainy, it is really hot through August. The morning will be just like the hot season, but the afternoon will always rain without fail. The last season is the dry season. The dry season lasts from October to the end of March. This season is almost perfect weather. It is not too hot with very little rain. There is usually a cool breeze during the afternoons and overall it is a very pleasant time in the Philippines. (Nick)
  • Pretty hot, and incredibly humid. Or really rainy. (Eric)
  • Always good, even when our skin felt burnt by so much heat exposure during community service, and we sometimes get wet during rainy days. (Carmela)
  • Hot and humid year around with the occasional typhoon during what they call tagulan or the wet season. (Michelle)
  • Dinadaanan lagi ng bagyo ang mission place nato. (Ann)
  • Good. (Arlene)
  • Hot and humid year around with the occasional typhoon during what they call tagulan or the wet season
  • Hot, humid, amazing. (Dan)
  • Humid. (Coco)
  • Hot humid with a slight coastal breeze. It rains non stop during the monsoon season. Expect winds, flooding, mud and hiking. (Karson)
  • Rainy season is June until October. This means tons and tons of rain, usually with flooding too. It’s still hot even if it’s raining. It’s basically hot all year round. (Quinlan)
  • Very HOT. (Jerry)

Any things you really like about the area/people?

  • For a people who have nothing, they are willing to give you everything. They are the kindest people you will ever meet and are eager to help you learn the language. (Ryan)
  • The place is really good because I like mountain places, crossing the river and the people- they are so friendly and they love joking and they love me so much because I am easy to them. (Salome)
  • The Filipinos were mostly always hospitable being part of their culture and they were always helpful in directions and how to get places. (Maveni)
  • How caring and accepting they were. (Ryan)
  • The Filipino people are the best people in the world. They don’t require material things in order to be happy, but rather they value people and family. They are very patient and truthful. (Nick)
  • The most humble and hospitable people you will ever meet. Absolutely gorgeous scenery—lush green trees, mountains, the ocean…it was all so beautiful. (Eric)
  • They have so much room and time to hear words of wisdom. (Carmela)
  • My favorite was working outside the main city. It was more quiet and green. I loved all the people because they are so humble and full of laughter. They are very accepting and kind. They all try and accommodate you by speaking English. (Michelle)
  • Friendly, hospitable and fun. (Ann)
  • The people are hospitable. (Arlene)
  • They are so nice and welcoming. (Dan)
  • We have the same culture. (Coco)
  • They are so happy! There are so many cool people with unique experiences that you can learn from. Love the people like your own family you will enjoy finding ways to serve them. (Karson)
  • The people are so welcoming and loving. They treat you like family and will always take care of you. I had several “nanay” (mothers) in the mission. (Quinlan)
  • They talk a lot. (Jerry)

Any packing/clothing advice?

  • One short sleeve shirt for the temple, the rest short sleeve. Forget the suit jacket. Plenty of mosquito spray. For garments, better too many than not enough. Take a pair of comfy flip-flops. (Ryan)
  • If you are expecting to collect souvenirs, pack light and pack things that are easy to wash. Expect to give things away. (Maveni)
  • Lots of socks and white shirts- they will get wet and dirty really fast and handkerchiefs to wipe sweat off your brow. (Ryan)
  • Invest in a thin material when buying shirts, preferably broadcloth. It is durable enough to withstand daily use while not strangling or trapping heat within the body. Avoid silk-like material when buying garments as it doesn’t allow sweat to evaporate off the body. Get a good pair of shoes that are durable and waterproof. Do not worry about getting closed-toe sandals, there will never be any time or situation where they are useful. Don’t worry about boots or flip-flops, there are many cheaper options available once you arrive in the Philippines. Do not buy silk ties, they won’t survive the rainy season. Bring extra socks, those are what I went through the quickest. (Nick)
  • You can buy clothes there for really cheap. I especially liked having tailored pants and shirts. (Eric)
  • Always bring comfortable clothes, cotton shirts, jeans and rubber shoes. (Carmela)
  • Bring a really sturdy umbrella and a jar of your favorite peanut butter. (Michelle)
  • Pack only minimal pair of clothes. You can buy more in the field. (Ann)
  • Be simply in dressing because some of my areas were like a desert…sandy and hot. (Arlene)
  • Bring money with you to get some suits tailor-made to bring home after the mission. (Dan)
  • Pack clothes that don’t need ironing. (Coco)
  • Wrinkle-free shirts, polyester ties. Everything will get wet! Pack good American medicines i.e. Ibuprofen, Pepto. Pack light and bring lots of pictures to share with those you teach. Family Home Evening games. Lean towards things that are durable but cheap. Pack shareable things. (Karson)
  • Don’t listen to all the crazy posts about dipping your clothes in bug repellent or getting a certain kind of fabric. Anything works in the clothes department. But you will want clothes that you aren’t afraid of getting dirty and leaving there. Also crocs are an amazing invention. I wore them my whole mission and they were great in the rain and the sun. But don’t leave them outside in the sun when you’re not wearing them. They melt. (Quinlan)
  • Umbrella, extra boots. (Jerry)

What blessings did you receive from serving a mission?

  • I have learned to be more understanding and loving of people. I have also learned patience. (Ryan)
  • The biggest blessing that I received is I never got sick on my whole 18 months and I have faced many blessings and also my dad released me before he died. And my family was blessed. (Salome)
  • It was all the blessings that my family received as I was serving, whether it was spiritually or temporally. Me personally, I was blessed with a stronger understanding of the gospel and a stronger testimony with a greater knowledge of the plan that our Heavenly Father has for all of us. (Maveni)
  • The ability to really step out of my comfort zone and learn a strange language and the blessing of meeting so many awesome people and the food! (Ryan)
  • The biggest thing I learned on my mission was that we are all capable of doing hard things. No matter how hard something may seem or how long you’ve been working on something, you can do it. I have been blessed to know this as I go through college and make other very important decisions in my life. (Nick)
  • A much greater appreciation for sacrifice and that true happiness comes from the Holy Ghost and relationships.  (Eric)
  • The best blessing ever…. Time and appreciation. (Carmela)
  • My mom got help while I was gone and it saved my parents marriage. Also my best friend decided to get baptized. (Michelle)
  • My family and I were sealed in the temple. Two of my siblings went on a mission too. I am married to a return missionary in the temple. There’s a lot more to enumerate… (so many to mention ). (Ann)
  • Marrying a handsome and worthy man….actually my husband was once our Assistant to the President. And now enjoying a happy life with our two beautiful daughter and son. Though we have trials, I know because of our spiritual training, we all blessed in times of our difficulties. (Arlene)
  • I am more humble, caring, charitable and hardworking because of my mission. (Dan)
  • Strengthened my faith, gained more knowledge about my religion and about our Savior and became more independent. (Coco)
  • Literally everything you learn on your mission is about living the gospel and being a better person. Hardest, yet best two years for my life. The blessing is that you learn to live the gospel and a better life while encouraging others to do the same. Seeing families touched by Christ is the greatest blessing ever. (Karson)
  • I changed my perspective on the Priesthood and I learned to have my own testimony. (Jerry)

What are some skills you gained?

  • I can cook adobo, haha. I am a harder worker now and I leaned to be independent. (Ryan)
  • I know how to get the trust of the people I teach, also I know how to help others and solve their concerns. (Salome)
  • Social interaction with strangers, some leadership skills, teaching some skills to others. (Maveni)
  • Tagalog language, but also the ability to care for people on another level. (Ryan)
  • Being out in the Philippines with only myself and a companion was honestly a very good learning experience. Take every opportunity to learn how to do things. Learn how to cook and how to cook like a Filipino, don’t get by with only learning the bare minimum. Knowing how to take care of myself without outside help and knowing how to be clean has blessed my life significantly. (Nick)
  • Recognizing and following the Spirit, talking with people, studying the gospel. (Eric)
  • Confidence. (Carmela)
  • Leadership, time management and more. (Ann)
  • Dealing with others. Loving and caring for people. Teaching skill. (Arlene)
  • Public speaking. I was very shy before the mission and the mission taught me to be a leader and a public speaker. Now I am the top sales rep in the country for a giant drug company and have a YouTube channel with over 1 million subscribers. Never would have happened with pre-mission Dan. (Dan)
  • Can handle or deal any type of person. (Coco)
  • Time management, goal setting, scripture reading, communication, people skills, event coordination, budgeting, cooking, basics of music, cleaning skills. (Karson)
  • Talking skills. (Jerry)

What do you wish you knew/did at the beginning of your mission?

  • The first thing I wished was to have Tongan companion, but I found out in my first area that was better for me not to have it in order for me to become a successful missionary. I have to rely on the Spirit. (Salome)
  • A better understanding of the Preach My Gospel booklet. (Maveni)
  • A better studying habit and better memory of scripture stories by heart. (Ryan)
  • The biggest thing I wish I would have known was there is absolutely nothing you can do to be prepared for serving a mission in the Philippines. There is no amount of language study that can prepare you for speaking the language. There is no amount of gospel study that will prepare you to address the unique concerns of Filipinos. Come prepared to learn because that is all that you’re going to be doing for the first few months. Be humble and willing to learn. (Nick)
  • Focused more on the atonement because that really is the most important thing of all the gospel. That and how much God loves His children. (Eric)
  • Wish I knew much more and more what does Bible content mean. Not only listen from others about it but learn more about it. (Carmela)
  • I wish I knew all the principles and doctrines of the church. (Ann)
  • 100% obedient. (Arlene)
  • I wish I would have not taken things so serious and been more kind and fun to my trainer. (Dan)
  • You can use everything you have learned to make you a better missionary. Sports, guitar, piano, singing, jokes, games, public speaking and cooking. Live the rules because you want to, not because you have to. Figure out how they will make you a better person/missionary. How to teach the basics i.e. Primary teaching, asking questions, more about the functions and organization of wards/branches. More exposure to poverty, accepting different cultures/ languages and practices. Being more independent. (Karson)
  • Tagalog and be fluent. (Jerry)

Any advice/testimony for pre-missionaries going to Olongapo?

  • Learn all you can from your trainer, but the best way to learn is to dive in and speak to people outside of the Bahay! (Ryan)
  • I wish I knew someone that was going to my mission so I can help them with my testimony but the thing is I have friends going to the Philippines. I share here my testimony even though it’s hard but if she will have the Spirit, everything will be all good and if she does her part, the Lord will do the rest for her. Keep mission rules, become a Preach My Gospel missionary. (Salome)
  • Remember that you agreed to follow the mission rules when you signed your mission papers and you are on the Lord’s errand. I know the work you are going to embark on is one that the Lord will appreciate BIG time. I know that you were called here because there is someone there waiting for you to preach the gospel to them. (Maveni)
  • Start your sleeping schedule off early so you are ready when in the MTC and get used to walking a ton and get in shape, but also train to have a great study habit. (Ryan)
  • My advice for pre-missionaries going into the mission is to remember what you are trying to accomplish. Too many times have I seen missionary work become a competition as to who is the best or accomplishing the most. This isn’t high school any more, personal feats mean nothing. You are not there for yourself, you are there to help others come unto Christ. The second your mindset shifts to how you can help other people- other members, and other missionaries- is the second that your mission will become the happiest time of your entire life. Be exactly obedient. There are many blessings for exact obedience, but none for almost exact obedience. Remember that miracles aren’t always large and elaborate. You will see miracles. Learn to look for and appreciate the small miracles rather than expect to see one large miracle during your mission. You will be happy and fulfilled if you do. Last but not least, remember that is a blessing to be able to serve a mission, not a privilege. Always strive to be the great missionary that your mom thinks you are. (Nick)
  • Just be yourself, be true, be honest. (Carmela)
  • Read the Book of Mormon. Pray and fast for it. Be emotional, physical and spiritually prepared. (Ann)
  • Exercise 100% Obedient because all things that you are doing inside the arena/ mission field will come back to you as you go home. When you are obedient, the Lord will bless you, otherwise when you disobey, consequences will follow right after you returned home. (Arlene)
  • If you are going to be there for two years or 18 months, just do your best to work hard and not think about things back home. You are there, so you might as well give it your all in every aspect. If you do this, you will have less regrets when you get home and you will enjoy your mission more. (Dan)
  • Always bear testimony about Jesus Christ! (Coco)
  • Start by sharing what you know and explaining how you live the gospel and why. Open up yourself to other people. Have these deep conversations with friends and family. Ask lots of questions. Don’t be afraid you don’t know everything but with the right attitude you will overcome the fear to try anything. (Karson)
  • Never waste your time. You will find missionaries who are not doing their very best in serving. Missionary Work- that’s what they are supposed to do in the field. (Jerry)

What was a funny language mistake?

  • Haha, okay, so to say good you say “mabuti” (Ma booty) and to say water you say tubig (too big) so we liked to say mabuti tubig a lot which is technically incorrect. (Ryan)
  • One of my companions accidentally used the word “undress” (maghubad) for the word “wash” (maghugas) and I had to explain why the lady walked off offended. (Maveni)
  • I had one companion who would always say he was sick instead of happy. (Ryan)
  • The language in the Philippines can be quite difficult to learn. One small mistake and you can accidentally say that you were eaten by fish instead of you ate a fish. When teaching the first lesson and the principle of Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, instead of saying that Christ was killed by the people I said that Christ killed the people. Luckily, my trainer was there to very quickly correct that mistake. (Nick)
  • Ilocano language “nabartik ” (Drunkard) I mistakenly translated it to kindness. (Ann)
  • Naimbag nga adlaw/ mailem…(Arlene)
  • Learn the proper use of respect words like “Po” and “sila” and “ho”. I didn’t use them as much in the beginning, until a father of a family got upset with me for not respecting him properly. (Dan)
  • Each language represents ideas. Most Americans want word for word direct translations. We would always mix meanings up like present, the gift, and trying to communicate present, meaning now. My trainee was struggling with the language and wasn’t getting this concept. At the end of the day, we would always get a snow cone-ish treat. After a particularly long day when we were ordering, he asked “what the word for “the usual” was”. Since we went there so often, he was hoping that the people would remember our order. “The usual” is an American idea, so it has no direct translation, but jokingly I gave him the word “kita”. When the guy asked what he wanted, he proudly said this new word. “Gusto kita” But what he was really saying “I want you”. The waiter was taken off guard by his serious reply. The waiter and I burst out laughing while the trainee was blushing wondering what was going on. We got our snow cones and my trainee learned something about thinking of ways to rephrase things in a new language to get across a similar meaning. (Karson)
  • Wrong usage. Example – “Kapag tayo ay pananampalataya”… in English, “If we are faith”… (Jerry)