Philippines Photos

This is the beach behind where we stayed in Moalboal, Cebu. You can make out the next island, Negros, in the background. Most people travel to this city for scuba diving, but as I don’t practice that sport, I spent most of the time dazing away at beaches like this.

Here’s a lake up a volcano in Negros, the next island. It’s a refreshing break to go up in elevation and escape the intense heat and humidity.

The jungle road on the way back down to town. Half of it is paved, half is not, so it can be quite bumpy, then smooth, then bumpy, but full of tropical plants the whole ride!

These lazy bum cats lived on our porch in Boracay. They would meow on and off all day to be fed, and whenever we’d go outside or open the door, they’d run into our place like they owned it. If we ever went outside with food, they’d start jumping up and try to bite it out of our hands, before we’d brush them off. They were friendly company, nonetheless.

As the Philippines is a country of thousands of islands, a popular mode of transport is by ferry. Bridges are not very common, so travelers will usually end up on a boat at some point or another. Some are big, some are small, some are sweaty, some are air-conditioned. Some are built up well, but others make it so you get splashed with ample seawater during your ride.

Vigan sausages are not vegan. They are made of pork, like most of the food in this country.

The vans are known as Jeepneys. They are a common way to get around in a city. They are kind of like a collective open-air van taxi, bigger than a car, smaller than a bus. Many of the drivers paint their Jeepneys in their own fashion. Some are very colorful, and many have Christian sayings like “God-powered” or “Jesus is lord”.

Another popular mode of transport is the tricycle. It is a motorcycle attached to a cart that has a wheel underneath. These are cheap to ride, but you’ll usually have to talk down the initial price offer with the driver if you’re not a local.

This bell tower offered a delightful view of a cemetery and mountains off to the east. This window was about one story high, so it was fortunate to have such a window not be screened or barred off from the outside. One must be careful to sit there and not fall, naturally.

An old mansion with antique furniture, also the site of some Tom Cruise movie.

Back to Coney

I somehow found myself back in Coney Island and Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, the second time in the 5 days I’ve been back.

Except yesterday it was different. It was about 95 degrees, and full of people. I was unable to step on the sand because I cut my foot pretty bad the day before, so I stayed on the boardwalk to examine the people of all sorts: young, old, families, couples, clothed, in swim trunks, in bikini tops, fair skinned, light skinned, too skinny or too fat, showing too much skin or looking too hot with all their clothing on. With such an interesting diversity I kept wondering what exclusive beaches must look like. I think this place is the only beach in the world where you can have such a blend of contrasting demographics.

Last time I had biked, but this time I was in a car, and finding a parking space was quite an adventure. There are the tiniest little driveways along the jam-packed streets and small urban houses behind their steel fences, with lots of the curbs painted yellow or with no parking signs, all somehow crammed within an area infested with Odessa’s former population and Russian-inspired developments. My boyfriend had made the observation last time that it was the only beach he knew of where one can purchase a fur coat in the summer.

I had the pleasure of eating at a Russian restaurant that was misted from the awning and tucked away in the shade, but had to experience others eating certain foods that smelled vile and looked very scary.

We then walked down the boardwalk from Brighton Beach to Coney Island, to the red steeple and past the Cyclone and famous Ferris wheel, with humans everywhere eating mangoes with hot sauce or Nathan’s hot dogs or  fried shrimps, passing NYPD men in uniform goofing around by their scooters looking chubby as ever. The restrooms were full of families crammed together in front of the far and few between running water outlets, washing the sand of their ankles and feet, while the sandy water dripped out to the long line of women waiting for the indoor facilities.

Stopped off in a bar to cool off the madness from the heat and the crowds and relax by the bikers rocking their black leather. I could once again hide in the shade under an umbrella with my sunglasses.

Always an interesting time!