When I first accepted my invitation to join the Peace Corps program in the Philippines, one of the concerns in the back of my mind was how I would be able to keep playing music while I was away from the States. Ever since I started playing guitar when I was 17, I usually play at least once a day so two years with no music sounded pretty rough. Not wanting to waste the precious baggage allowance on a guitar and case, I did a little research on Philippine guitar makers. The more I read about the culture of guitar makers in the country, the more I realized I should just wait until I arrived and then find a local guitar maker to build me an instrument to play while I was in the Peace Corps. This didn't take very long--in fact less than a week after our plane touched down in Manila, John Borja (one of the Peace Corps staff in Manila) introduced me to his great friend from high school, Jun Reputana. Jun lives just a short distance from where our primary Peace Corps training was held in Tagbilaran and has been making guitars out of local jackfruit wood for many years. At this point, Jun has built several guitars for me--including an awesome replica of the Taylor W65 12-string that Dave Matthews plays on some of their songs. I wrote an article about it for Acoustic Guitar magazine in the April 2005 issue.