Back from the Philippines

After a longish absence from this space, I’m going to resume posting. Although I returned from Manila to Taipei last Thursday at around 5pm, I’ve put off writing anything here for a few extra days to collect my thoughts a bit, and more importantly to do the things I actually had to do here. And there’s another reason. On the evening of my third or fourth day in The Philippines I went to an internet cafe and wrote a fairly long blog post on my initial impressions, which vanished into the ether as the computer crashed at the exact instant I pressed the send button. This occurrence generated a fair amount of both resentment and apprehension, which collectively prevented me from even attempting to post again until I was safely back at my own, stable computer.

First, a brief itinerary.

November 25: 9.30AM flight from Taipei’s Chiang Kai Shek airport to Manila’s international airport. Upon landing I find a payphone to call my friends, quickly tire of the exorbinant rates, and instead buy a SIM card from a nearby vending machine and pop it into my Taiwanese cell phone, giving me a real phone number for my two week stay. This makes my life several times easier. I meet my friends Beth, and later Arlo as well, we have dinner and Beth takes me to an apartelle near both of their homes (University of the Philippines “Teacher’s Village” region, Quezon City, Metro Manila.) The room is scummy but cheap, and the area is fairly nice, as well as quiet and safe.

Following this I spend a few days in Manila (often technically Quezon City, which is part of Metro Manila), sometimes with my friends and sometimes wandering around alone.

December 1: Fly from Manila’s domestic airport (next to the international one) to Iloilo City, where I meet two other friends. Stay the night in a ‘pension house,’ a strangely British sounding term I’ve never encountered before which seems to mean motel.

December 2: With my friend, take a bus from the south to the north end of the island (five hours), and then a ferry from the port to Boracay.

December 4: The reverse of the above trip.

December 5: Afternoon flight back to Manila, meet my two Iloilo friends for lunch first. Instead of returning to the previous Quezon city acommodations, I find the International Youth Hostel listed in Lonely Planet, which is only a few minutes from the airport. This will make my morning trip to the airport the day after next several times simpler.

December 7: Fly back to Taipei.

I know this isn’t the most enthralling travel log, but I have several posts on the Philippines coming up over the next couple of weeks. A few of the topics I plan to post on (some writing, some photos) are:

Magellan’s ignominous end in the Philippines

Filipino Overseas Workers

Japan in the Philippines

Language in the Philippines

The Chinese Cemetary in Manila