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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I love the smell of Pollution in the morning!

Posted on December 5, 2009. Filed under: Stories from the Philippines! | Tags: , , , , , |

I cannot explain the way you feel when you get off of an airplane after you have travelled for 30 hours. I do know how I felt the last time I visited the Philippines. Standing in line at 4 different international airports, being hassled from the time you arrive at your first to when you get to your destination! Then you realize, “Hey I paid good money for this!”

This was my second trip. When you are beyond tired sometimes I believe you find yourself in a different state of consciousness. The feeling I had after I knew all the security checks were over, baggage collected and customs had cleared us was one of relief and expectation! We were to meet a friend of ours, a first time face to face with a woman we had met online (another story for another day!) Ninoy Aquino, the Philippines largest airport. We were about to make our exit.
We made our toward the doors leading out with luggage in tow. Leaving the comfort of the airport we felt the first blast of our new uniquely Filipino environment!
The smell of the city hit us like an unfortunate fall, the kind that happens so fast by the time that you are on the ground you have to ask yourself “What just happened?”. The realization quickened our minds and senses to the reality that we were finally back in the Philippines! We labored down the ramp through the hoping to see the woman that was to meet us. This time when I breathed my first of the Philippine air I knew I was once again home in a strange country that I have learned to love! We gazed for a few moments across the road where all the people gathered to welcome visitors and family members. We searched for the new friend we were about to meet, at once she appeared from the crowd in typical filipina fashion, with a big smile and a welcoming wave! This was the beginning of my second adventure to this strange but fascinating homeland of my wife.
Why did I post this? I’m not even quite sure at the moment. The title suggests a silly premise. The point is not the smell of an emerging nation but memory that it invoked. I guess what I am trying to convey is that all that is known, learned, and experienced by a person is not the sum total of reality. Whoever you are, wherever you are, however your grew up shaped the person you became. Your environment, your parents, your peers, shaped how you view the world and what you consider to be the truth about the world you live in.
My greatest desire is to help people. Truth is one of life’s greatest gifts. Look around at your very familiar surroundings. I want to enable folks just like you to uncover the fact that your personal reality, your personal flavor of the truth is not the final authority. There is a vast sea of humanity located in different countries, cities and neighborhoods. They wake up everyday just like you and have hope for a better existence just like you. Beautiful cultures with different points of view and experiences that have the right to not only exist but to thrive just as we do!
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