May 22-23 Mon/Tues

Trip Start May 11, 2006
1
7
14
Trip End Jun 05, 2006


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Flag of Philippines  ,
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Monday morning we woke up bright and early to check out of the Makate Palace. We all piled into a fance aircondiditoned jeepney and began a day full of touring greater Manila. We began by picking up this guy Sonny, who works with a university in Manila and is a graduate student/ assistant professor. We found that Manila has a ridiculous amount of traffic, way worse than anything I've experienced, this is probably because no one follows traffic laws of any sort, for example I've been in 3 different cabs that have realized they were going the wrong way and taken left hand turns from the right hand lane on a busy city road, which involved crossing 3 lanes of traffic. When we finally got Sonny and continued on our way, our first stop was the US Embassy, which is probably the nicest building to be found on manila bay. It was built in the 70's and I would say the grounds is probably more impressive than the building which is big, but kind of old. We took a tour which was interesting as we learned the history of US involvement with the Philippines, and then we were brought into a room for some kind of question and answer period with some guy who wasn't very important at all and had very little to share with us, so that turned out to be a bit of a waste of time. We got back outside to Sonny who couldn't get in because he forgot his ID and was now getting all antsy because he apparently had some intense itinerary for us. At this point our jeepney was double parked and after a little bit more delay we all piled back in and were off. After some more traveling through the awful Manila traffic, Eileen and jill got really sick and we had to turn back to get them to the hotel we were checking into for tonight, the Malate Pensionne (from the first night). This reulted in something like 2 or more hours of fighting through traffic to drop them off and get back on track. We finally got where we were going -- the Quizon city dump site. It was a massive trash dump, that smelled no different than you would imagine, that was surrounded my squatter settlements. Although the lesson didn't go perfectly do to timing and the fact that we were kept very seperate from the people living in the settlements, it was still really interesting to see how amazing thier system is with recycling and conservation. The people living around the dump site work as trash sorters, taking out anything reusable from the incoming trash and selling it to factories, many Chinese. The system they have is very sad becasue of all of the poor people who are forced into this occupation out of desperation, but it makes for a society that is not even close to as wasteful as ours.

We left the dump site and headed back to the Malate Pensionne, with a stop at Makate to pick up our luggage. It turned into a long day of driving through horrendous traffic for only an hour or so of time at the dump (which is all you would really want unless you could do something more interesting like talk to the people). Sonny thought we were a little crazy but we had plans with him starting at 6am the next day so we all pretended to still be friends.

Tuesday- 23rd

Bright and early we headed out to meet Sonny and head to a nearby university to veiw their museum on the Pampanga people. We headed to Bacalor, where we saw the effects of a nearby volcanic eruption. It was less dramatic than I was anticipating because the town has had some time to reconstruct and excavate some of the churc peices. There were some houses still buried up to the roof, and the guides we met with were really interesting and added a lot to the understanding of the trip, with out them and Hermon (a local and friend of Johnathan's who we met back at the beginning) the day would have really been pointless.

After Bacalor we traveled to Subic Bay which seemed really interesting, more time there to explore would have been fun, but we were only there for the lesser part of an afternoon since we rented this van to bring us back to Manila. We went to the tourism board first I think and were shown this big presentation. based on the presentation I think they seemed to think we came all the way to the philippines just to study their plans with Subic Bay. Subic Bay was really interesting because it is the former US Naval base and was largely protected from deforestation and other development. One of the guides told me that the US military kept the area very forested becasue they used it for training for Veitnam. We toured the area which was really nice, it was the most prestine Tropical Rainforest that i may ever see. We even saw a monkey just sitting on the side of the road. We stopped at one point for Yellow Cab pizza, and we noticed that one of our pizzas cost more than a ful days wages for someone working in the Subic Bay area, based on thier minimum wage standards. I felt bad for Sonny at this point becasue we all were sitting around eating pizza, and I think he had bigger plans for how far the day would take us. We probably could have eaten in the van. At one point Jill asked Sonny about why there was never any toilet paper in the bathrooms and how annoying it was that you couldn't put toilet paper in any of the toilets. Sonny was kind of confused by the question and said that it was because Filipino's didn't use TP, they just used their hands. that was SOnny's fatal mistake. The rest of the day was based around Filipino's using their hands instead of toilet paper. We continued to ask everyone what their preference was and found that it wasn't all Filipino's, but certaintly a majority. When we finally dropped Sonny off he ran away faster than anyone I've ever seen.
That night we went out for more kareoke, luckily it was more than 3 of us this time.
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Comments

mike on

sounds like a bunch of pizza eating chumps to me did you offer sonny pizza??

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