The Appearance & Disappearance of Lourdes Amarille Estrada
Salt Lake City, UT
Sunstone Education Foundation
Over a dozen years ago, when I was a new editor for the Liahona, the international magazine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I was sent to the Philippines for two weeks to interview Church members there and write an article about them. The Church’s Philippines area office staff arranged my itinerary. They selected three rather diverse cities and had the local leaders select a few of their more notable members for me to interview. They were obviously trying to put the Church’s best foot forward. In Manila, I interviewed such luminaries as a luscious movie star; a physician who composed music, to the tune of about three hundred movie scores (at the time of our interview); and a freelance producer of television commercials. In another city, I interviewed the wealthy owner of a silver shop and one of the Church’s area authority seventies (as they were called then).
It was in the third city, however, that I met my most memorable Filipino. He lived in Tacloban, which was decimated by Typhoon Haiyan fourteen years after my visit. In 1999, Tacloban was a bustling, somewhat backward city on the east coast of the remote island of Leyte, where McArthur had made his famous return to the Philippines And it was indeed remote, an oppressively hot and humid corner of paradise. I stayed in the fanciest hotel in town, in a cinderblock room with an industrial-tile floor, no air conditioning, and no hot running water. Geckos scampered about on the wall outside my room. I was informed that the previous week the locals had caught a forty-foot anaconda in the middle of town. Enchanting. [from the article]