Photos by MJ Klein
Recently, I was in the Philippines on business. I spent a few days in Manila and then I went up north to the Cagayan Valley. First I’ll show you what it was like in Manila.
Greg (on the left) was our driver, and Sonny was my guide in the Philippines. Greg is a former Manila taxi driver and he knows the city like his own backyard.
Everyone I met in the Philippines was exceedingly polite. In general, the people that I came into contact with were perhaps the nicest people I’ve encountered in all my travels. This photo is one example of a “Jeepney” vehicle, the main form of public transportation in the Philippines.
We went out to eat and pulled into this area, known for seafood. Notice the touts running around trying to get our attention.
Very persistent, the touts compete directly against each other for customers. They are paid by the various places, and I assume it’s on a commission basis but I’m not really sure. I just know that they are rather annoying when you’re trying to negotiate the street without hitting them.
Like many countries around the world, the Philippines has it’s share of political turmoil. As a result, there are armed security guards in most places. Even though at first it seems strange in the presence of people carrying guns (and sometimes automatic weapons) I felt entirely safe while I was visiting.
Everywhere I went, the security personnel were very professional, polite and approachable, unlike security forces I’ve seen in other countries. The guards held doors open for me on many occasions and always had a nice warm greeting for me, never failing to call me “sir.” That’s a tactical shotgun this guard is sporting.
As we neared our destination, we saw touts along the way, beckoning us into their establishments. It wasn’t unlike visiting a fish market in Taiwan, for example.
I’ll be showing you some choice examples of the food I enjoyed in the Philippines in separate articles at the end of this series.
One tout makes a final desperate attempt to get our attention!
We had to visit several companies in the metro Manila area. So we bought a large map of the area and laid it out on the restaurant table and located the places we wanted to visit so we could set up a logical route. The greater urban area of Manila is the 5th largest in the world with an estimated population of 20.6 million people! It was a good thing we had Greg driving as I would never have been able to manage getting around so efficiently without him.
Here we see Sonny, Greg and one of the girls from the restaurant trying to locate a place on the map.
Driving around, we saw lots of Jeepneys.
Just like Thailand, there are lots of street vendors who walk in between the lanes of cars stopped at traffic lights.
At night time, Manila has some great places to eat and hang out.
This is another very common form of local transportation in the Philippines – called the tricycle. It’s a motorcycle sidecar. Yes I did ride in one, and no, I did not fit. I couldn’t raise my head enough to look out the window!
In some places the number of tricycles is considerable. We’ll see more of them in the next installment.
Some tricycle owners have a sense of humor.
This is our hotel, the Aloha.
Since firearm carry is legal in the Philippines, many places aks you to check your firearms with security upon entering. Our hotel was no exception.
This is the vehicle we used. It was very comfortable inside, with sliding doors on both sides.
Our driver, Greg, poses for a shot.
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