On my recent trip to the Philippines, I made sure to stay in touch with the social world in effective, yet simple ways. Even though I brought with me my trusted Fujifilm X100s digital camera (which is my trusted travel camera), my Apple iPhone 6 came out of my pocket every now and then to snap a photo here and there. These are the photos that I was happy enough with to post to Instagram for all to see. I have also included the caption that I added to the photos when they were originally posted.
It’s like Pacific Mall, but crazier
A Philippine street scene at night
Sit back, and let the waves guide you… Made a trip to the active Taal volcano today. It’s also home to the world’s largest island in a volcanic crater. In short, Vulcan Point sits inside Yellow Lake, which is a crater inside the island of Luzon, in Taal Lake, which resides in the province of Batangas, Philippines.
Traffic in Manila is terrible at all times of the day. There appears to be no rhyme or reason to when or why the traffic gets bad. It just does. To make matters worse, cars blasting their aircon tend to overheat in 35°C weather, further adding to the chaos. Even a brief reprieve from the sun in the shadows of the overhead skyways only temporarily delay the inevitable.
Many people mistakenly assume (as I did) that the large mountain in the distance is Taal Volcano. In fact, Taal (home to the world’s largest crater lake – Google it for a bird’s eye view) is the smaller mountainous point to the the left. That larger mountain is Binintiang Malaki. Regardless, it’s a spectacular view and requires a 20 minute boat ride to get an up-close look.
We were told that the only way to get up the side of the mountain is on horseback. Meanwhile, our guides walked alongside the horses wearing only tsinelas… Clearly a way to get tourists to pay 500PHP to see the volcano crater lake. I would have loved to have hiked it, but oh well.
At least my legs got a workout from pushing hard against the stirrups to lift my ass off the harness and protect my goods.
Aside from the general chaos of Philippine traffic, the actual modes of mass transportation are spectacular. With a population of just over 100 million people, you have to get creative when it comes to moving them around. Two of the most popular are the Tricycle and the Jeepney. The former here is just like hiring a taxi, while the latter is more like a carpool mixed with a bus service.
One of the coolest things is that no two of either of these transport vehicles look the same. Just as tuners in North America modify their car to reflect their personalities, each driver here customizes their vehicle with adornments such as kickass paint jobs or flashing multicoloured lights.
Driving through one of Subic Bay’s forest roads today, we can across the most incredible sight – a colony of bats out just before sunset, getting an early start on their evening activities.
I’m not entirely sure if these are Philippine Giant Fruit Bats or Golden Crowned Flying Foxes (both species native to the area), but for the moment, let’s just say that it does not matter. Just another one of the spectacular sights the Philippines has graced me with.
Subic Bay has a history of naval use going back to 1542 when the Spanish first visited it. It wasn’t until the British captured their main port of Manila Bay in 1762 that the Spanish developed Subic into a naval base. In 1899, the Americans then took control of the base – control which they held until 1991, when Mount Pinatubo erupted and the base was officially closed for American use.
Now, the Subic Bay Freeport Zone has been transformed into an industrial and commercial hotspot in the Philippines. It brings economic prosperity to the region through tourism, shipbuilding, and other commercial ventures.
Through all this, Subic Bay is still a beautiful place to visit, especially as the sun drops lower and lower toward the mountains.
The town of El Nido sits in Bacuit Bay, and in addition to the main beach near the northern tip of Palawan, it also comprises the 45 surrounding islands and inlets.
This is the view of Cadlao Island from my resort this past week. While many of El Nido’s islands have very impressive peaks that contribute to the view of the bay, Cadlao’s is by far the largest – 2,100 feet above sea level.
Over the week, we had fun finding recognizable shapes and patterns in the silhouette of the island. What shapes do you see?
Nothing informational about this post. No words of inspiration. Just a gorgeous photo of the sunset that I snapped while enjoying beers with my girlfriend on the beach.
After all of the beautiful sunsets we had the chance to see while on the island of Palawan, it was nice to witness one more as our plane taxied to its final departure position on the runway.
Though the sun set on the opposite side of the plane once we were airborne, the light it threw onto the horizon in my view was nonetheless spectacular.