The following is a Guest Post from none other than my dad. This is part 1 of 4. Enter Randy:
Jesse, on my right, lives in Carmencita, a barangay of Floridablanca in Pampanga province in Luzon with his wife and two children. Jimmy, his brother, lives about an hour away in Batiawan, a small barangay in the Zambales Mountains with his wife and son. His two daughters attend school on the sea coast about a 5 hour drive away. Their sister Cristy and her young boy live in Masbate… together with my wife Maria and our son Allen we went on a Philippine adventure.
Stepping outside the Manila International Airport Terminal in early July of 2010 at about 5 AM in the morning, I knew immediately that this was to be the start of an experience that would live up to all my expectations. Actually, the adventure was to surpass anything I’d anticipated.
I remember how, in my youth, I was fascinated with National Geographic magazines. People and cultures seemed out of touch with the reality of my own northern Canada existence. Having spent most of the last ten years in Vancouver BC Canada, I’ve been introduced to many immigrants from around the globe who have integrated some aspects of their culture into ours. But, as I’ve since learned, unless you spend time eating, working and playing with the common folk of a distant land, in their own backyard as it were, your perception of them is as two dimensional as the monitor on this computer.
Thank you for letting me share a little of this experience with you. I will endeavor to use as few words as possible to explain what I hope the pictures I’ve selected will say.
Part 1 – Manila/Angeles City
Viewing Philippine Culture from the Middle of the Road
– Jeepney, Trike, Inter-Provincial Bus: Where Roosters and Squid Ride Free
Philippine Airlines: Nanoy Aquino International Airport. After a sixteen hour direct flight from Vancouver Canada to Manila, we arrived.
Video: Driving the Manila EDSA Highway
Inter-Provincial Bus Transit… carry-on baggage includes domestic fowl. Cock fighting, frowned upon but still an active ‘sport’ prompts locals to carry their prize fighter under arm from venue to venue. In this case the bird was behind me therefore heard but not seen until they disembarked. The TV channel was in Tagalog, the common dialect. That was ok, the window offered a much more interesting reality show.
Jeepney – As the main mode of transportation throughout the country, jeepneys are used for both local and long-distance travel. During rush hour or in the aftermath of a sudden downpour be prepared to be packed in like sardines with some clinging to the roof of the vehicle to avoid having to walk the temporarily flooded streets.
Video: A Barangay of Angeles City.
Caution to pedestrians: vehicles get the right of way.
Wikipedia defines a barangay (ba-rung-guy) as the smallest unit of government in Philippine politics and is the native Filipino word for village, district or ward. As of June 2011 there were a total of 42,026 barangays throughout the Philippines.
Jeepney from within. On one trip through town, a local jumped on board carrying a bucket that smelled fishy. It wasn’t until squid ink started leaking out the bucket and running toward our feet that we realized what he was transporting.
Tricycle – Described as the Philippine Rickshaw, this noisy two-stroke engine motorbike with a little, roofed sidecar bolted to it is essential for trips around the towns and cities throughout the Islands. Flat-rate rides can be taken to pre-determined destinations. If you are a visitor to the country, be prepared to pay a lot more than the locals… and in true Filipino style, feel free to haggle with the driver. Many families own one or two for getting around town.
Please be advised that for those squeamish about ‘roughing it’ with jeepney or trike, you can rent a car with personal driver from most motels around the cities at quite reasonable prices.