Philippines, The Land of Mangoes

I arrived in Manila on Thursday morning and was immediately stifled by the overwhelming heat and humidity.  Staying dry is nearly impossible.  It’s so hot that it sometimes feels like your breath is taken away once you step outside. I’ve given up on trying to stay clean and I’ve just accepted the fact that I have sweat dripping down my body 24/7.

I liken Manila to Bangkok.  It is crowded, hot, and there’s not a lot to do here.  Luckily, we are leaving for an island called Coron tonight at midnight.  We are taking an overnight ferry there and it is supposed to be absolutely beautiful.  I plan on doing lots of water sports and relaxing on the beach with a nice book.

We went to a Lonely Planet recommended area for dinner last night.  It’s a restaurant owned by some celebrity where you pick out the seafood fresh from a market next door, tell the restaurant how you want it cooked, and they prepare it fresh for you.  We ate salmon prepared two different ways.  One with chili sauce and the other with garlic.  We got calamari, oysters, shrimp, and fresh vegetables.  All this seafood only cost us each about $20.  Amazing.

The waitress at the restaurant was a beautiful woman.  “Her” name was Ashley and she was a real doll.  She asked me how old I was, and when I told her to guess, she guessed that I was only 17!  I was shocked and when I asked her why, she said that I look very “fresh”.

Jeff, Ashley, a worker, and I picking out our seafood

In the Philippines, many people ride around in what are called “jeepneys”.  They are like buses where people ride in the back and they take them to various destinations.  They are super cheap to take (anywhere from $0.20-$0.50) and they are all custom decorated.  The driver reaches his hand back when you get on, you pay him, and he makes change, all while driving the jeepney.  He also doesn’t wear a seatbelt. The seatbelt that should be harnessed to the bucket is simply draped across the opening where the door is.  I suppose it keeps the driver from falling out.  Here’s some pictures of some jeepneys we saw.


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