I visited… the Philippines! Yes, the third world country we’ve all heard about. I went with my parents, and I loved it. I’ll admit it was different, sometimes awkward, challenging and at first sorta scary. But I gained an insight, also experiences, which I wouldn’t have otherwise.
We flew in on the 12th of March. Manila was busy, crowded and as we arrived late in the evening, sorta creepy. Especially at the hotel we went to! First appearances weren’t most favorable. I was thankful we were there only a night, as the next day we flew to another island – Cebu.
In Cebu we hired a pre-arranged honest, friendly, kind taxi driver who helped us around all day. I started feeling more comfortable there – the Philippines weren’t so bad after all, I decided. That being said, my nose protested at the revolting smell that came from the markets where all the dried fish was sold – that, I decided, I did not like.
The mall we went to felt very Western. I even felt a bit at home! Though the peso system threw me a bit. Forking out hundreds of pesos at a time really knocked my frugal nature. Even though consciously I knew that it wasn’t much – 40 pesos to $1; subconsciously I cringed.
|The front of their SM Mall. It was fancy - as they pretty much all are, inside.|
On our second day in Cebu we got tickets on a boat and headed to another island – Bohol. The ride was two hours, and when we arrived we started experiencing real life – a ride in a tricycle was first. We were going to have to ride on a bus, but when we saw how full they loaded them we opted out and took a taxi. Sadly, you have to really watch most Filippino taxis. They’ll rip a foreigner off, first chance. Being newly landed, having only dealt so far with honest drivers, we were easy game – at least that time. That we did not like.
Staying with our friend in a native house, I found that, hard beds aside, I didn’t mind the lifestyle. Much simpler – I like simple. J We had to cook on an open fire, shower with a dipper and wash up in a tub – though he did have a sink, just no running water. Sorta novel, if you ask me. He did have electricity, we found. That was a blessing – especially when the menfolk weren’t home once and we had trouble starting the fire, as he – our friend – had an electric frying pan.
I did have a problem washing my hair. You see, my habit is to wash it in the evening – no problem when you have a hot shower and no need to be outside…. So I did it in the evening – with cold water, and in my swimmers – so I could just dry off outside. Not the best idea, considering the cold breeze that suddenly started blowing. :/ By the next day, I had a sore throat that developed into a real head cold that then spread to my new friend Myn, and Mum and Dad. Not cool! Oh well, I decided, next time I’d just do in the morning. J
So, to break it down…..
- Smiling people.
- Getting a honest, friendly taxi guy in Cebu.
- Their malls.
- The simplicity of their homes and lives.
- Their cool-as jeepneys.
Jeepneys ahoy! You can ride in any fashion you wish. XD
- ·How crowded it was – I like a bit of privacy and space: walking down the road and getting stared at isn’t comforting. Lol
- The smell of fish – dried or not.
- Exploiting taxis.
- No showers. I managed, and sorta enjoyed it, but I can’t imagine living without a shower.
- People living on land in country areas there, are better off in some/a lot of ways than we are.
- It’s better to not wash your hair in the evening – at least over there!
- You can’t trust everyone. Well, I sorta already knew it… but yeah – it’s well grounded now!
- Pesos flow out of your hands fast and easy. :/
And that is all for now! Stay tuned for part two – our week in Bohol! Whenever that happens…. :P
P.S. A sad fact is that I had flat batteries and didn't really start taking photos till I was in Bohol. Till next time!