the philippines, a contrast of beauty and madness.

Philippines Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
the philippines: sagada, manila, iloilo, anawangin and camara island. music by era: prayers
here is the summary and my favorite pictures from my trip to the philippines this year.

being away from home for such a long time developed a sense of nationalism in me. it made me proud of my country eventhough europeans barely knew about the philippines, a country which is detached from the rest of asia.

it took me so many years to visit the philippines again. i never had forgotten it, the language, the jokes, the cuisine, the good vibes or basically anything that is filipino.

i visited the philippines together with my bestest - i dont know how to say it, he's not my friend, but my travel soulmate. for three weeks from april-may 2009.
we havent travelled the philippines extensively, but we experienced more than weve expected.

we planned to camp and backpack the philippines, using my house in manila as our base, an adventure for sure and it did not dissapoint us. we havent gone to any major touristic spot in the philippines. as our philosophy, we would not travel thousands of kilometers away from home, to sit and bum on a holiday. we moved alot, from the northern part, high into the mountains, to the deep blue sea on the south.

the philippines advertise its major touristic places, like such and such. but for me, it wouldnt differ to any touristic areas in europe. although it is still cheap, we would not get our money's worth for having the time of our lives.

the philippines as most of us know, is composed of more than 7100 islands, which is the 2nd largest archipelago after indonesia.
ben and me had only been to 5 islands in the duration of our trip! which were the main island luzon, panay, camara and her little sister and agho islands! which wasnt even a percent of the whole country!

as ben and me backpacked the mountains, we experienced something that is not comparable to the capital, manila. the people are honest, down to earth and proud of their heritage and culture. plus the magnificent views of the cordillera mountains in every twist and turn never fails to amaze us, i had been to the alps, but for me the cordillera is more beautiful. camping in the mountains, in twilight and dawn made us witnessed a phenomena on earth which only a handful of countries experience, the cloud forest - were clouds formed in between gaps and mountain valleys and stay so low for a long time that provides a unique flora and fauna to a tropical country like the philippines.
drawn by its scent.
not only that, we also gone caving, was the first time for ben, and he was amazed by underground rivers and lagoons in his young life. in the mountains was a unique experience for us, although i had been there lots of times when i was still in the philippines, the green, the wisp of pine trees, the smell of pinewoods, the rice terraces, the great mountain range and uniqueness of the landscape me proud of my country. but, there was more greater than that, although the nature really blew us away, a small family made our trip to the mountains unforgetable, their generous hospitality to us, offering their house, their homemade pies, rice wine and tea to us and embraced us like their kin made the trip to the mountains our penultimate journey.


manila on the other hand, is a mad city.
a balance in green.
we almost never took our eyes and our senses for our belongings. its a city of deceit, of lies, pretentions and dishonesty. manila remained manila as i left it or as i lived it a quarter of my life. it didnt changed, modern structures may have been built but its only a facade to what manila really is. for manila is a hope for people form the provinces, as they flock to manila to at least be able to taste the manna from heaven, instead, it is just a trap to lure them into the pits of poverty. but manila still retained its old charm, although there are no more traces of pre colonial civilization in the city except for the museums, a small part of the spanish heritage still exist in the old capital and oldest chinatown in the world, established in the 17th century. sadly, this is what i hate about the philipines, it doenst make an effort to preserve its heritage, they destory or neglect to replace it with new ones, they build and build and build until some are abandoned.
a fire in hue.


manila is a great challenge for thrill seekers around the world, from riding the public transportations - the famous jeepneys, the sky train, buses, tricycles and horse drawn carriages or kalesas in old manila. complete with beggars and sir taxi sir that would never stop persisting everytime you move.

as people around us persisted that we go to the most touristic island in the philippines, we vehemently said no, we landed in a small town in one of the bigger island in the south. to a small but private island, where a family generously offered to show their hometown to us and let us swim in the beach of their private island, but not only that they took the liberty of providing us with a private boat, porters and endless seafood and tropical fruits to enjoy our stay.
the great cordilleras.
it is a hospitality of a different kind, because it is inevitable that you have to pay in return, but in our case, everything was given for free. we would never forget how a humble family served us, their hospitality and generosity will be forever etched in our hearts.


we camped again for the second time, across the mountains but directly on the beach, in the vicinity of the world's most dangerous volcano. the place is so beautiful! although the beach was not a secret anymore, it is still pristine and raw, as there are no modern equipments or much less electricity, it is back to the basics of beng a hunter and a gatherer (haha i had to laugh). the beach was nicknamed "mystical beach" because instead of finding the usual palm and coconut trees that would line the shore, pine trees are everywhere which is again uncommon for a tropical country like the philippines.
bouncing on the clouds.
it is also said that the sands of the beach came from the ashes of the volcano eruption 10 years ago. it is very beautiful, a unique place in the philippines.


and of course we will not forget the people and friends weve met along the way. the philippines is small compared to the giant countries in this world, but small it is not, as it has many interesting, unusual and unique landscapes that couldnt be found anywhere else on earth. plus the amazing and legendary hospitality of the people, the chaotic city scape of the mega capital adds to the beautiful and maddening experience that we had.

the philippines, a contrast of beauty and madness, my home and i am proud of it.

krissellegumaru says:
Loooove your blog! Makes me proud to be a Filipina! (: Thanks for sharing! (:
Posted on: Aug 27, 2012
holdmyhandsforever says:
Wow. Nice blog! Well done Lauro! :)
Posted on: Mar 28, 2011
lauro says:
thank you :P
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
the philippines: sagada, manila, …
drawn by its scent.
drawn by its scent.
a balance in green.
a balance in green.
a fire in hue.
a fire in hue.
the great cordilleras.
the great cordilleras.
bouncing on the clouds.
bouncing on the clouds.
a sea of  mountains.
a sea of mountains.
a unique landscape.
a unique landscape.
mountain villages and rice terrace…
mountain villages and rice terrac…
a cloud forest.
a cloud forest.
rain clouds
rain clouds
sunrise at 1900 meters.
sunrise at 1900 meters.
on top of the clouds.
on top of the clouds.
of natures colors and beauty.
of nature's colors and beauty.
simplicity and calmness.
simplicity and calmness.
a light in the darkness.
a light in the darkness.
a river below the ground.
a river below the ground.
life in the darkness.
life in the darkness.
a cycle of life.
a cycle of life.
the earth that feeds.
the earth that feeds.
lines of blue.
lines of blue.
of green and stormy sky.
of green and stormy sky.
ingenuity that stood the test of t…
ingenuity that stood the test of …
islands within reach.
islands within reach.
the simplicity of life.
the simplicity of life.
natures debris.
nature's debris.
faces of contentment.
faces of contentment.
a storm is brewing.
a storm is brewing.
is it dead?
is it dead?
a child of the island.
a child of the island.
self defense.
self defense.
in nomine patris et filii et spiri…
in nomine patris et filii et spir…
back in the days of imperialism.
back in the days of imperialism.
a trace of colonialism.
a trace of colonialism.
mirrored angle.
mirrored angle.
what was remained still remained.
what was remained still remained.
chinese or japanese?
chinese or japanese?
unguarded moment.
unguarded moment.
a dry river bed.
a dry river bed.
arid but alive.
arid but alive.
life flowing.
life flowing.
transparencies of life.
transparencies of life.
a trace in the river.
a trace in the river.
a mystic place.
a mystic place.
a shot in the horizon.
a shot in the horizon.
of natures hands.
of nature's hands.
four elements.
four elements.
a dying specie.
a dying specie.
a connection.
a connection.
tear of happines.
tear of happines.
of singing winds.
of singing winds.
high and mighty.
high and mighty.
the little sister.
the little sister.
a neverending horizon.
a neverending horizon.
calm and serene.
calm and serene.
far and away.
far and away.
stand on a single print of time.
stand on a single print of time.
alone above the sea.
alone above the sea.
a hidden paradise.
a hidden paradise.
of emotions.
of emotions.
pink is the color of the day.
pink is the color of the day.
stranded.
stranded.
Sponsored Links