Final Entry

Trip Start Oct 24, 2005
Trip End Nov 07, 2005

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Flag of Philippines  ,
Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Hello and welcome to my penultimate entry, well i've been in Manila most of the time since my last post, the people i'm staying with (The Cheatles) are volunteer teachers in a missionary kids school (Faith Acadamy) went there and saw mini America. I lived in the suburbs of Metro manila in the hills really, where Faith is, and so I didnt really go anywhere on my own, as a car is needed.

But as soon as you decend out of the hills you come across real Manila, there are many, many shanty towns some hanging precariously over rivers most with tvs and satellites showing them glimpses of how the other side of the world live and more importantly how to get to live that life by buying "Flash" a new washing up liquid which is blue and smells of glaciers in the Alps (glaciers smell of bubblegum).

Another thing that really stikes you in the Philippines is the incredible amount of Chiristian "advertising" and churches. "Choose God not Drugs" and "Jesus is your friend" or any number of bible verses are commonplace sprawled against walls. Ive never been anywhere like it. It's certainly different from Malaysia where, well for example the Prime ministers wife died so our church put a condolence in the newspaper with a bible verse, but if the reference was on it it wouldnt be allowed, neither if Jesus was mentioned, or a symbol of the cross.

Manila is severely overcrowded.

Anyway, at the weekend I got a paid trip to the beach, Puerto Gallaras on Mindoro Island my job was to help the Cheatles keep the kids entertained whilst the Nazarene bigwigs held their meetings. The beach was very nice, jungle runnning right up to the beach in some areas and still alot of local inhabitance and villages.

Me and Simon took the kids up to a waterfall through one of the villages very similar to villages ive been to in Thailand, Malaysia and Laos although much closer to extreme affluence. Infact it lies just at the back of a holiday resort. The Philippines have the widest desparity between rich and poor than ive seen anywhere on my travels, or maybe its that they live so close to each other.

mmm, so I got back to Manila and did a talk at the schools chapel service for 15 mins for the 200 kids there which went well.

On saturday me The Cheatles and some friends went to see Taal, a live volcano which was great cos ive never seen nor been to a volcano before. This particular volcano is famous because first you come up the ridge (caudera) of it, and you see just how absolutly gigantic the hole on the inside is, theres a huge lake and within the lake are secondary volcanos creating islands themselves pretty big, and within the volcano on the island is another lake (much smaller) and in this lake there is another very small island. Basicly its an excelent example of a geographical Russian doll. An island in a lake, in a volcano, in a lake, in a volcano on an Island in the Ocean.

The power that must've been released to create this geographical monstrousity is awesome, close to unbelivable.

Anyway so we all got on a little boat that looked like it was made of papermashy (I have no idea how to spell that) and sailed over to the island in the first volcano. Upon arrival we had to pay to get off the boat (we'd already paid for the trip) and joked that we'd have to pay to get back on...which we did. The island has lots of locals lounging about and trying to sell us floppy pink hats and dust masks I really wanted a floppy pink hat but resited the urge. We had a guide called Michael athough (as usual) the path was blatenty obvious. When they say "ohhh you'll need a guide for that hike" I get excited and think wow we'll be hiking though rough jungle terrain where noone's been practically exploring the unknown with our handy knowledgesome guide. Instead we were greeted with floppy hats and a definite "Whay! this is a tourist trap!" atmosphere. The guide answered "100ft" to anything we asked him, no really he did, how high is this ridge? "100ft" How deep is the lake? "100ft" how high is that other ridge "100ft" How old are you? "100ft" What is your name? "100f....oh you got me!" And we all rolled about laughing. We didnt really.

There was about 60 horses waiting to take us up the labourous 30minuite walk. We were wondering who would bother doing such a thing? Upon reaching the top we had been seruptiously joined by a group of Philipino nuns. How odd.
The top is cool because you can see the inside of a real active volcano (although small) and see the whisps of steam rising in numerous areas around the inside.

WE drank pepsi and talked to the nuns. On the way back we worked out why there were so many horses and dust masks....Koreans. They walked past us on their hourses looking down and laughing "you walk?!?!?!" yes we walk we have legs. The usual clothing of the Koreans are top of the range fashion wear, dust mask, wielding visor and gloves (the last 2 to keep the sun off incase of catching the dreaded "tan").

Personally I think its because Korea has modernised so fast in the past 50 years from the poorest to the richest that they want to show off at any available moment to the fact they are westernised and rich, and probably wonder why we were walking because we were western aswell and westerners dont walk when they can ride.....personally speaking.

Simon asked a fellow walking past if he was English "NO" he said and carried on walking, Simon later said under his breath "obviously German".

Other than that I didnt do anything else in the Philippines except play Settlers of Catan in Starbucks and football on a pitch.

Oh I managed to get diorreah i'm not sure what from this time, although I have a sneeky suspicion my now Asian stomach is finding it hard to work out the food i've been given whilst in the Philippines, exotic food such as "Sheperds pie" and "Apple crumble" and something I was given in a small plastic village we visited "Big-Mac-with-fries" althuogh i still cant decipher what that one means nor what food was contained within it. I hope my stomach works English food back into things I can eat otherwise i'm going to have a bad time.

On the way back to KL from the airport on the packed airport bus I thought i'd do something silly, so I stood up and shouted "ver ist de Fluganhaven" (where is the airport in my German) I didn't really do this but I thought it would be funny if i would've and laughed the rest of the way home just thinking about it. I often think about things like that....

And now i'm back in Kl.
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