lifestyle

Philippine Travel Through The Eye Of A White Guy!

Posted on September 12, 2010. Filed under: lifestyle | Tags: , , , |

Travel TO the Philippines is Boring…

Travel IN the Philippines can be an Adventure!

Five Exiting Ways To Travel!

  • Airplane

  • Bus

  • Jeepney

  • Tricycle

  • Sikad

Travel by Airplane:RP-C3244 A320-214 "Cebu Pacific"

Traveling by airplane in the Philippines is a very pleasant experience. Cebu Pacific is my choice for traveling in the country. You can hop on a plane and travel to almost any major city and be there in an hour or so. Cebu Pacific has beautiful aircraft and the staff are beautiful, helpful and friendly. The only thing you have to accept is the fact that they probably will not be on time. Remember you are in the Philippines and not America. Things run on Filipino Time! I have always said that if your aircraft is 30 minutes late, you are exactly on time! Talk about cheap, they are very inexpensive. Flights from Manila to Iloilo (where we travel to regularly) is about 70-90 dollars per person. You travel from the newly remodeled Manila airport to the beautiful, state of the art Iloilo International Airport. Overall, traveling by plane is a very pleasant experience.

Travel by Bus:CIMG4291

There are many reliable bus lines that can help you negotiate your travel plans on the ground there. I have found that it is better to ask the locals about the locations and the best options when it comes to bus travel. They all travel that way and know the ropes! Isn’t it curious that the locals always know best? I Have not traveled extensively by bus but the times I have it was a pleasurable experience. Filipinos are very friendly and courteous and they have a television in most of them. They are usually playing some obnoxious game show like WowWowWee or something! Sorry Filipinos! Not my favorite! I just try to enjoy it in keeping with the entire experience of being in their culture. BTW, I just found out that the show has been cancelled as of the end of July.

Most of the lines are air conditioned (aircon) in Filipino. Many Filipinos prefer the ones without aircon.

Jeepney:

Aaahhhh…. the Philippines Flagship! The Magic Bushref=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeepney”>”The Jeepney”. Where do I start? They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Their design is only limited by the owner’s imagination.

They are colorful, beautiful, noisy, and fun! For Americans they will seem small. I stand 5′ 10″ and and it is somewhat a challenge to get in, walk back and find your seat. Jeepnees are a little like a school bus on the inside except for the fact that you enter through the back and the seating is just a small padded bench that runs the length of the vehicle. Everything is about the community in the Philippines and the Jeepney is no exception. When you enter, everyone seated defers to you and moves their feet so you can walk the narrow pathway bending in a crouched position the whole time. There is a rail mounted to the top that you can grab hold so you won’t fall onto seated passengers! Once seated you are crammed together with fellow travelers to your destination.

As an American or any Westerner, you will receive curious smiles and be treated well. Conversation is easy albeit a little bit broken sometimes. It is always interesting to see the way money is exchanged to the driver. If a passenger gets on the back, his money is passed by the other riders through the vehicle from hand to hand all the way to the front (the change back as well). You will see young and old, poor and educated. Yes, maybe even a chicken sometimes on your Jeepney ride! Enjoy!

The Tricycle:daily overload..

The tricycle is a very popular mode of travel while on the ground in the PH. It is for a quick, exciting, cheap ride for short distances. You will be amazed at how inexpensive it is for one ride. 10-15 peso (maybe 20 cents) is a good rule of thumb. A tricycle is simply a motorcycle with a covered side car. Two to three people can ride for almost nothing. They are available everywhere you go and are very convenient.

I remember one time in Antipolo (outside Manila) I needed to go to a friend’s house a few miles away when we (three of us) decided to take a tricylce. My wife and her friend went in the side car and I was elected to ride behind the driver. What an experience! I had to ride sort if side saddle because of the side car and my body had to stay in a constant “C shape” due to the fact that I was too tall. As I travelled, hanging on for dear life we would encounter bumps in the road that would cause my head to bounce sharply against the top of the vehicle! With much focus I quickly learned to avoid looking around too much and to keep my head down!

There is nothing like the experience. It is true “Street Level Living in the Philippines”

The Sikad!

Sikad

The Sikad is nothing more than a bicycle with a side car. You would really be amazed at how many Filipino men help support their family by taking people here and there in their Sikad. It is actually a little more relaxing to ride in one than to ride on the Tricycle. It is also very cheap and can be used instead of walking during rainy or extremely sunny hot days. Don’t forget you are supporting the local economy! I have tried to drive on with a few kids and found out it takes a special talent.

I have had interesting experiences on all of these methods of travel. Bundled all in one Travel in the Philippines is an exciting adventure!

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Living in Poverty! Yeah!

Posted on February 28, 2010. Filed under: lifestyle, Philosophy | Tags: |

  • The Kitchen

    POVERTY.  Just the word brings up certain emotions.  Is it fear?  Do you always have the urge to look away?  I’m not talking about here in the U.S.  I’m talking about real poverty.   The kind where there is no hope of making any money and no food for the day!

This post is not about living in poverty but CLOSE!  This is about interacting with people half a world away who live like most of the folk in the world.  I was walking with one of my daughters one day back in the summer.  It was morning, steamy Missouri conditions as we walked.  She said “Dad, it’s really hot this morning”.  I agreed with her, it was uncomfortable.   I replied to her by saying “You know, it is hot, but do you realize that most people in the world live out in it everyday?”

It was April 25, 2009 when I finally got home to the Philippines for the second time.  I call it home because I love being there.  After all, home is where you love to be.  We arrived in a taxi 20 minutes from the airport to the place we were to stay for the next 3 weeks.  We frantically searched for the right roads that would take us to the place where we would meet my wife’s family at their house in Pavia.  The language barrier was a bit of a problem and just remembering the right house was a bit of a problem as well. 

We arrived and exited the taxi to an environment that would make most people cringe!  The heat was a little oppressive, the humidity was uncomfortable but the image of my little niece coming from the door of the house was a welcome and long overdue sight!  She reached us before her grandmother (my wife’s Mom) .  Her long silky black hair was shining in the sun and her little forehead showed the effect of the climate  with little sweat beads on her tan little Filipino face!  Her beauty is apparent and her welcoming smile was all the relief I needed from the heat!  I grabbed her with a one arm embrace, the suitcase being in the other.  She was a little tentative with me because it had been two and a half years since we had met for the first time in 2007.  Mae Mae, (her name) was glad to see her Tito and Tita after a long absence! 

We were going to be here for a while.   Pavia is a tiny village settled outside of the larger town of Iloilo,  a much larger and more modern town in the central part of the Philippines.  It is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else.  Everyone knows your business and helps you take care of it too!  There is a security knowing that my wife is related to almost everyone in this little subdivision.  My wife’s grandmother is considered a local “Faith Healer”, not the kind you see on American t.v. but a sought after talent in those parts just the same.  I believe my wife probably has thirty cousins, all with families of their own in this little town.  

Our accommodations were quite simple by western standards.  As we entered the home it is secured by only a wooden gate that locks with a padlock.  The floors are rough concrete, the walls and ceilings as well.  I invited my mother in law to give me a tour of our new digs.  There is no formal kitchen, but a kerosene one burner stove set on concrete blocks and a hand pump well served the family’s needs.  They also had something I had never seen before.  A charcoal burning stove complimented the other cooking tools.  I am always amazed how resourceful these people are.  We spend big bucks to grill out and they enjoy it anytime they want for a fraction of the cost!  I was pleased when Nanay (Filipino word for Mother)  showed me the bathroom.  It was this little concrete room in the back of the house.  It actually had a flushable toilet!  You don’t know what a luxury it is among the poor to have this!  There was a pipe coming out of the wall with a shower head on it as well.  Sorry, no hot water!   So here it was, a small concrete room with nothing but a toilet and a shower head probably in a 6’x6′ space.  She led me to the place where we were to sleep, it was a 12×12 bedroom with two windows, you know the kind, they look like venetian blinds only made out of glass with a small crank to open up the small horizontal glass panes.  In the middle was a Papog.  A Papog is a handmade bed frame, fashioned entirely of bamboo.  Four big supports on the corners and the bed surface was made out of split slats of bamboo are used as a sleeping surface.  This creation was actually quite comfortable due to the fact that air is able to move freely through the sleeping surface and keep you somewhat cooler on those steamy tropical nights. 

We stayed three weeks with our family.  What I noticed most was there was a different kind of peacefulness there.  You really can’t put your finger on it but time seems to slow down, there is a politeness that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.  People always ask me “Aren’t you afraid to go to the Philippines?”.  I am always amazed at the way people are fearful of the unknown.  It seems we are spoon-fed stories about the world around us in order to make us fearful and distrustful of other countries and people.  There are troubles in the Philippines, mostly in the southern provinces of Mindanao.  There are Muslim anti government rebels that are wanting to self-rule.  I don’t go there any more than I would go and travel in South Central L.A.  or Washington D.C.  for that matter.   Did you know statistically speaking that you are more likely to be killed in D.C. than if you were to live in Israel?  If you follow all the news stories you would think that Israel is one of the most dangerous places in the world.

I absolutely love travelling and staying in the Philippines!  The people are warm, and friendly.  The local food is incredible, especially if you dare to be a little adventurous!  You will never be cold, and the living is very affordable!  Of all the nations of Asia, the Philippines is the most Western friendly nation.    It is the only Asian nation where Christianity is the majority religion.  If anyone ever wants to go, just get with me and we will plan a trip.  I am going in January of next year!  Can’t WAIT!

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Homesick

Posted on January 19, 2010. Filed under: lifestyle | Tags: |

This is a new post to my recent wordpress blog.  I haven’t posted since before Christmas.  I really don’t know what I am going to do with this WordPress Blog yet.  I love to travel to the Philippines and it seems like the thoughts of the time I have spent there in the past have consumed all my future thoughts and dreams.  If you never travelled there it is a land that is awake with reality!  What do I mean by that? 

Whenever I leave the U.S. and land in the Philippines I am swept away with a sense of being home again for the very first time.    The smell hits you along with the humidity when you prepare to get a taxi in Manila.  You know you are in a different world when you land there. 

You will get homesick if you ever visit there.  When you board the plane after being there for a while you will be glad your back in the air conditioning but soon your memories of what transpired over your trip will haunt your mind until you are beckoned back to the place of your new homeland.  Sorry if you felt at home in the Western World but your hopes and passion will experience a shift towards the east when you have truly experienced the land of 7000 islands.  It may not be the scenery, or the warm weather, but I believe it is the people of this country that keeps me coming back.  It is called the land of a thousand smiles!  People take time to live their lives at a slow pace.  This may be a struggle for the average westerner but once you fall in sinc with the rest of the land a strange peace comes over you and you will never be the same again!

More to come! 

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Live like the Third World and Earn in the First!

Posted on January 14, 2010. Filed under: lifestyle | Tags: |

What if we could live like the third world and earn money in the first? Do you realize that most of the worlds families are poor by our standards but in other ways they have some tremendous advantages!

  1. First they as a rule have almost no debt! Wrap your mind around that concept! If they have no money then they are “broke”. If they earn a little money then they actually have a net worth! Most Americans don’t have a positive net worth.
  2. Second they spend more time with their families! They are not always in a mad rush to go here and to get there! They may be poor but I know for a fact that they enjoy life more than the average westerner.
  3. They live in reality: When it is cold outside, they feel it. When it is hot they experience it. If it rains for three to five months they have to deal with it. My experience in the third world is mainly from visiting the Philippines. Every time I go I am always home sick to go back. Since the 60’s and 70’s we have “progressed” to the point that we no longer feel things like hunger, the elements.

If we could cut our lifestyle and expenses back so that we were not financing everything we have we would be much less stressed. If you have a house in the Philippines, you own it. People around the world believe we are rich because we live in large houses and drive nice cars. If they only knew the load of debt that the average American carries they would pass out!

I’m just saying that we could live a completely different life if we chose to! Can you imagine living without debt and your paycheck was your own? What a liberating feeling that would be! If you owned everything you possessed and had been collecting paychecks for even a short time and then suffered a job loss, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal!

I have been pondering this possibility for several months now and am coming up with a plan to implement it in my personal life. I will let you know of my progress.

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