Trip Start Aug 23, 2009
Trip End May 23, 2010

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Flag of Philippines  , Visayas,
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Once again I was sad to leave a place I enjoyed so much but knew I had to move on.  I read about a festival going on in the city of Iloilo called Dingyang which is very similar to Mardi Gras.  When I arrived to the city after a 7 hour bus ride I had no clue where I was going to stay or how I was going to get there so I hitched a ride with a German guy and his Filipino family.  I was told by the bus driver to take a cab but since the German guys family was Filipino I thought I was in good hands.  After having a few words with them we hopped in a tricycle which is a 3 wheeled motorcycle that has a side cart and can hold a total of 4 passengers comfortably.  We had 7 passengers along with all of our luggage.  There were 4 passengers in the side car and the driver, the German, and me were sitting on the motorcycle.  Of course I had the worse seat which was the metal cargo part on the back of the motorcycle.  What sucked about it the most is that since the festival was going on, every hotel was totally booked.  We had to go outside the city and it took us a hour to find a place.  Once we arrived my legs were numb, I learned that the hotel was 4 times my budget, and the tricycle driver was trying to charge us 6 times as much as usual because the dumb ass Filipino family didn’t negotiate a price before we left which is rule #1 with transportation.  What a great start after leaving what I thought could have been heaven.  The German guy and his family decided to stay at the hotel and we end up having the owner of the hotel help us negotiate down to half the asking price but I still wanted to go somewhere else to spend the night.  After expressing my concerns to the hotel owner my whole perception of the Philippines turned around.  Glenda the owner aka “the nicest lady in the whole world” made my trip to Iloilo fantastic.  She decided to give me a great deal the first night at the hotel and pay for my dinner at a near by restaurant that she owned. Not only that, she invited me to stay at her house for the next few days.  It almost sounds to good to be true but that’s not all she did for me.  She introduced me to some of her friends named Ricky and Cute.  These guys hospitality was great.  Cute end up giving me a back stage pass to the festival due to his father and brother being leaders of their local tribe.  I say tribe because the festival consist of 16 tribes pretending to be “Anti’s” which are the local poor people who originated there along time ago, and on this day, years ago, they celebrated a unity amongst their people.  The 16 tribes dance for hours up and down the streets in costumes very similar to Mardi Gras.  After observing the local dance I went back to Glenda’s house for the first time and was surprised to see that she had three beautiful girls all in college living with her.  Her two daughters Sheila and Grace, and her niece Ann.  I couldn’t believe how lucky I was.  We all end up going out that night to celebrate the festival and I didn’t have to pay for anything.  I tried to help pay but Glenda insisted I didn’t.  Like I said she is the nicest person in the world.  Its weird how things look like they can be going so bad but end up turning out so well.  It is definitely a lesson in life I will not ever forget.  I stayed at Glenda’s for 3 nights and had a great time.  They feed me for free and cooked a cleaned my clothes and made me feel like I was at home.   Glenda has a beautiful house with a maid that would cook or clean whatever at any simple request. 

Tonight I went and visited Glenda’s mother.  The master mind behind the success of her family.  She spoke great English and after talking to her about her family I could understand why Glenda along with her other 9 siblings were all successful people.  I met Glenda’s mother a few times before today and had multiple conversations with her not only at lunch and dinner but just sitting around their hotel and chit chatting.  When talking to her I knew she was a successful women but had no clue at how successful she was until arriving at her house. 

Sweet Jesus what a beautiful house she has.  From the street all you can notice is solid aluminum fence on the outside of her entrance that honestly looks like a shack.  Once Glenda honked her horn I noticed an armed guard open up the front door and we proceeded in.  As we enter she also has a professional watch dog staring at me barking his ass off wanting to bite the shit out of me.  As I slowly passed by the dog I notice 4 vehicles parked in the garage.  The one closest to the house is covered and she asked me if I want to see it.  As she pulls the cover off I see a beautiful black convertible car that I don’t realize the brand but has the letters “RM” stamped on it.  She tells me it’s a very very rare car and the whole thing is an original.  It looked like an old school cobra with a European flair.  Once we got inside I was “Wowed” by the beauty of her mother’s house.  From original works of art to the fine detail that laced her ceiling.  We took a walk outside and it even added more value to what was already a fantastic house.   They had a huge yard with a pool and in the back ground I notice this dome like structure that looked like it was sitting in a middle of a field.  As I got closer I notice it’s a huge veranda sitting out in the middle of their huge private lake.  As I talk to Glenda’s mother she tells me this isn’t even their big house.  They have another in the family that her sister lives in that is even more spectacular.  Its even written in guide books as the house made of stone.  I didn’t ask but based on my assumption she was from a very very wealthy family.  She mentioned that the other house it worth tons more and has even more beautiful artwork.  The greatest part of seeing their wealth was that they were the nicest non-snobbiest people you could ever meet.  I am very privileged to been able to have met their family and will never forget their hospitality and underlying values they have taught me.  THANK YOU SO MUCH GLENDA for you hospitality and kindness.  I will never forget the trip to the small town of Iloilo, Philippines.  Now I fly to a small island of the coast of Cebu, Philippines for $20 to hopefully go scuba diving with Manta Rays and Thatcher Sharks.

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