Welcome to da Phillipines....up north..

Trip Start Jan 07, 2008
Trip End Jul 22, 2008

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Where I stayed
Corfu Villa

Flag of Philippines  , Luzon,
Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'm not quite sure what to make of the Phillipines...granted i have only been here for 2 full days and only in the one town of Baguio, up north, up 1200m once again. Not many travelers come here as it is outta the way sort of speak, having to take a 3hr flight but of course i was intrigued by this fact and wanted to check it out, i am in the area afterall.

I feel a sort of uneasiness but not sure why...there seems to be a big clash between the rich and poor, i mean in the way it looks and feels. My first experience was a very clean, new, fancy airconditioned coach from the airport and good roads. I arrived here in this town after 5 hrs to see a huge supermall right away, lots of new expensive cars...so i was thinking how Americanized it is here, couldnt' believe it really. Yesterday i went for a walk in the park and around and then got some stuff in this supermall...there is security everywhere!!! They check your bags, frisk you...i thought we were anal in the so-called western world. But then today i ventured a bit farther into town trying to sort out my bus for tomorrow...to find a more typical Asian town..old, dirty, busy, beggers, hawkers, a big outdoor market selling anything and everything from meat to veg to clothes to stationary to flowers, etc. So im not sure what to think...it's seems like a bit contradiction to me and a big divide between the classes. And i'm not sure if i should trust peeps...

English is widely spoken here again so that's lovely. Some people are friendly and willing to help as i struggle to find this mysterious bus station (of course a different bus stn from the one i arrived in, that would be too easy)..but then some others just say i don't understand, even tho i know they do. There's like a mysteriousness...i have heard that if a man engages in even a small conversation with a woman that is flirting so maybe when im asking men for directions, they think i'm flirting..haha, i don't know. And i have never been called 'Mam' so many times in my life...you can tell they are conditioned to address everyone in that way which is fine but makes me feel old.

Im have not done much here...just wandered, played with my camera, drank some cheap beer (San Miguel everywhere)...and to be honest fell into the trap of all the gagdets and fanciness of the supermall - shopping, internet, video games..but i resisted the temptation of bingo...haha.

When i arrived here after my very longgg day of traveling from KL, i was feeling very tired and feeling myself getting agitated or upset easily as i had waited for a taxi forever and wasn't feeling the vibe of the town...but it just took a tiny sentiment and a little kindness on someone else's part to make me feel the potential of this place (which i must remember). I found this hotel and bargained with the night porter for the room from 650 pesos to 550 (aboot $10) which is quite expensive for asia standards (but it's not i know), went upstairs to register and the lovely lady owner said she's giving me a different room for only 500 and the room is nicer with a tv - i had barely said hello to this lady and she was sooo kind and lovely!! Just what i needed... maybe she saw it on my face. And simply from that kind gesture, my fragile state and spirit was lifted..and to appreicate where i am - the Phillipines!! May not seem like much but i am soooo up and down liek a yo-yo at times that is truly the little things that matter...

So i may feel some uncertainty in this mysterious place but i'm hoping i will be able to achieve some comfort and calmness as i venture onward and upward...and see it for what it is!
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