I was flying from Cebu to Manila, when the captain got on the horn and told us to look out the windows on the left side of the plane to see the puffing Mayon Volcano. Unfortunately, I was four seats away from being able to see the volcano, but I was able to snap this shot.
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Every January in Cebu, Philippines tens of thousands of people come to celebrate the Santo Nino or Black baby Jesus. Magellan brought this idol to Cebu during him famous voyage, and then Lapu Lapu killed him. I proposed stealing this idol and selling it on the black market, but my friend warned me that I would never make it out of the Philippines alive since he is the patron saint of the thieves in Cebu.
As well as having vibrant and wonderful people the Philippines also has amazing food. As we stopped by “The power plant” an upscale mall in Manila we had a quick Filipino lunch. The top picture is escargot and the bottom is the Philippines specific cuisine kare-kare. I was told by my friend Louie that it probably was first created in an attempt to copy the Curry of the Indian Sepoys using local Filipino ingredients. No one knows exactly where kare-kare came from but no matter what it is delicious!
As these boys came up to our taxi to beg for a few pesos they were making funny faces at their friend looking through the opposite window on the other side of the car. They tapped the window, asked for pesos, and went on their way playing on the side of the road. Seeing their joy makes me wonder if these poor children are happier than the average American kid whose “supposed happiness” depends on what they have.
Along the coasts of the some odd 7,000 islands that make up the nation of the Philippines, fisherman can be found in small boats like this. Small scale “commercial” fishing has been going on for thousands of years. Sadly, in our modern age of technology it has become harder and harder for simple fisherman to survive the competition brought by modernization.
Filipinos are a people of the sea. From times long ago the people of the Philippines learned how to survive with the ocean and use it to their benefit. Boats and local fishermen just like these two are scattered all about the island nation. On many peers you can find old men casting their lines into the sea in the hope of catching a fresh dinner.
Two of my Filipino friends, Leo and Louis, brought me down to the Jose Rizal museum at Fort Santiago in Manila. We walked around the fort when I noticed one of the carriage drivers asleep in his buggy. Apparently from road construction in Denver to driving a carriage in Fort Santiago, working for the state is a good deal. This visit to the Jose Rizal museum inspired me to read Nole mi tangere.
All I truly know of this little boys story is that on the balmy day in Cebu when I saw him he asked me for a few pesos, and as I walked into McDonalds he sat outside and stared at me. He must not have been any older than six years old, but one of my Filipino friends told me that most likely he was the son of a drug addict who kept him on the streets to make money to perpetuate the addiction. This is not indicative of the Philippines because it happens all around the world.
Jeepneys are strewn across the streets of every metropolitan city in the Philippines. They zip back and forth around the city as they provide reasonably priced transportation for the people. No two jeepneys look alike, their owners decorate every square inch with themes ranging from Che Guevara to the Santo Nino.