A Filipino Farewell

So that’s it. Home tomorrow via a few days in Hong Kong. Sadly, two and a bit weeks in The Philippines has come to an end. Am sitting in the shade with mango juice in hand, looking out over an ivory beach with turquoise blue sea and white surf hissing up the the sands, reflecting on the trip. I have really enjoyed these wonderful islands and these lovely people.

20160208030902_IMG_3525 20160210025854_IMG_3995 20160210031907_IMG_4011_1

My lasting memories will be the smiles on open.friendly faces, the welcome at every stop, their politeness and respect. I have been addressed as ‘sir’ on every occasion, in every situation, on the street or in restaurants and hotels where you’d expect it maybe, by a cheerful, seemingly happy Filipino. Yet most of these guys earn a pittance, 30% of the population is below the poverty line, with an average income of 2 dollars a day. If they can keep a smile of their faces all the time why can’t we?

20160207234515_IMG_3362 20160209052219_IMG_3793 20160207102310_IMG_3290
The scenery, upland to lowland, is also rather special. Sunshine, ivory sanded beaches, green jungle foliage, pine stretching ridges, river carved ravines and gorges, patterns of emerald rice terraces contribute to a rich textured tapestry outside the brieze blocked, cemented, corrugated ironed towns and villages.

20160210083328_IMG_4040 20160211074847_IMG_4185_1 20160214070544_IMG_4773
The signature image is that of rice terrace. Rice production is evident through out the countryside – terraces, paddy fields, irrigation, planting, harvesting, threshing, drying, bagging. In the highlands they manage one harvest a year, in lowlands up to three harvests.

20160212040401_IMG_4317_1
Towns are a dumbledore of dwellings, shops, tangles of electricity cables, lines of uniformed school kids, exhausting jeepnies, motorbikes, zooped up motor trikes. The most impressive buildings in every town and village is always the large Catholic churches. That’s not to say that Ameicanisarion has not hit this place hard. In every town at least one McDonald’s, Jollibee (the Philippines’ KFC whose speciality is the Yum Burger), 7 Eleven, Starbucks, Maxs-The House That Fried Chicken Built, Subway stand bright and shiny in amongst the local businesses and stores.

20160208035709_IMG_3624 20160210074242_IMG_4037_1 20160210073340_IMG_4035
Food, hmmmm. Lots of rice and more rice, with chicken or pork. It can be quite tasty. I spotted chicken and sweet potato chips on the menu. The chicken was lovely and crispy. Potato chips arrived with a sachet of sugar – literally, sweet potato chips!

20160211054833_IMG_4163
The whole country is so youthful and full of laughter and smiles. The place has a gentle, friendly buzz with youngsters giggling their way to school or hanging out together, families sitting around or choring together, men rocking in the shade and chewing the cud, shopkeepers quietly anticipating customers under dusty, shaded awnings, convoys of bike trikes with teeth gleaming riders and oustretched hands of greeting. I loved the whole experience. Try and get here if you can.

20160213233737_IMG_4732 20160210074844_IMG_4038_1

20160219234834_IMG_5578

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s