Monday, January 14, 2013


It occurs to me that I never talked about my trip to the Philippines. I think because it was the fall of 2010, and I didn't get around to sorting the pictures right away, then the holidays, then the earthquake, and then we were all pretty busy for awhile.
The Philippines in kind of in our neighborhood out here. It's another archipelago in this neck of the ocean generally, and you could just about island hop down there from here. In fact, the very bottom of Japan is only a couple hundred miles from the very top of the Philippines. If you could drive across the ocean, you could do it in less than a day. If you count all the tiny islands (and whether you do depends on who you talk to), it's about 240 miles between the two countries. That's less than from the top to the bottom of Oregon.
Here in Japan, we get a lot of our tropical fruit from the Philippines. Some stuff is grown down in Okinawa, but it's really common to see stuff like bananas and pineapples and mango with PI labels. Stuff that in the States comes from Mexico, in Japan comes from PI.
It turns out that because it's so close, air tickets there are relatively inexpensive. I regularly see deals going for around ¥30,000 ($300). It also means that the cost in miles is pretty cheap. A intra-Asia ticket costs the same as a domestic US ticket at about 20,000 miles.
For the first hotel night too, I was able to book a place using some miles rattling around in a different account for an airline I never use. Not enough for an air ticket and about to expire.
The hotel was fine. I almost never stay in big chain hotels like that unless someone else is footing the bill. I'd rather spend my money elsewhere but also I don't have enough money to give it to places like that. 
The next night, we moved to a pension in Malate. The building was beautiful, old dark wood, with friendly staff and in a pretty, if gentrified, neighborhood. There are a lot of small businesses and lots of street life, night life. Big grand old churches.
Food is kind of hard for vegetarians in Manila I think. Seems like a very meat-centric cuisine, but Manila also has an international streak and I managed to find stuff to eat. Most of it was not very traditional. Something I did manage to get though were these cassava fries. Delicious.
Took a walk by the ocean.
Took in a free concert in the park. Pinoys love music, people are doing karaoke and jamming all over the place.
Love this sign.
Next stop: beach. This is a country made up of over 7,000 islands. We have to visit at least one of them.

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