Saturday, March 17, 2012



     You could say that Jose Rizal was the George Washington-Thomas Payne of the Philippines.  I've seen many monuments honoring him all over the Philippines.


We didn't do the row boat thing.

Santa Cruz

     I remember only a few things about this town.  First, we were making this trip up "as we go," and we found lodging by getting off of a jeepney and walking until we found one.  Because it was off-season, we got a good rate, the place was deserted and, so, we had the pools all to ourselves.  Second, after settling in our room a few hours, we decided to catch a jeepney and head into town to grab a beer and some sisig and to just see what's up.  We found a small eatery that had what we wanted, but the town was like a ghost town... where everything dies after the sun goes down.  While there, we felt entertained while the (as he seemed to us) the very loud (Hey Everyone, I'm here!) town girly boy was there.  Actually, he was kinda cute, even if he was LOUD.

Villa Escudero

Villa Escudero is a huge coconut plantation.
     That's right!  The buffet table, the dinining tables and benches are all planted in the river.  The food was delicious!

It was during "off season," so the whole place was almost deserted.  Excellent!

     Have you ever taken a nap naked while lying in a hammock in an open air apartment sitting over a river?  I have!


Cubao and Quezon City

     After my first trip to the Philippines, I was determined that I would return and stay longer, as long as I could during my summer vacation.  I was a teacher in the USA at the time and had about ten weeks of each summer to spend.

     Within days after academic year 2005's closing, I was on a plane bound for Manila where I was to meet my boyfriend with whom I would stay for about ten weeks.  Prior to my going there, he and I worked together to acquire and furnish a small apartment where he would live year round and where I would stay while there.

     Sadly enough, after about three years, we decided (jointly) that we should separate and move on.  Still, I have fond memories of those days.  

     Pizza Huts there were like gormet food restaurants and, by American standards, were WAY to over staffed.  But that's why the restaurants were clean and the service was prompt.  Unfortunately, it testified of how economic conditions required labor to be cheap if employment for so many was to be had at all.

     That castle housed a small school where one could learn how to work with chocolate.  Also inside was a shop where one could buy baking supplies and another shop where one could buy chocolate goodies.

     Several malls were (and still are) across the street from each other.  Some are connected by walkways that cross over streets.  I spent a lot of time at Gateway going to movies and enjoying coffee out on the patio.

     Our apartment was probably 18 square meters, not unusual at all for many filipinos living in big cities.  Anti-bacterial soaps were (and still are) very harsh to my hands, so....  We didn't have air conditioning, and men walking around home in their boxers was (and still is not) uncommon at all.

     I had never seen a Spam restaurant before.  Spam is very popular in Asia.

Would you like fries with that?

     At this occasion, the chicken was delicious, but on the next time I went to this restaurant, the chicken tasted like it had been recooked in the deep fat fryer.  Not a good thing!

I returned for my Christmas week of vacation.