The Philippines

After feeling so emotionally exhausted traveling through Vietnam over the course of five weeks, as true escapists, we had become infatuated with the idea of the Philippines before we even got there. With endless beaches, jungles, corals, volcanoes and rice terraces all strewn across an island archipelago, the Philippines offered an alluring selection of all the natural beauty we had earmarked to see throughout Southeast Asia.

One of the many waterfalls we came across.
One of the many waterfalls we came across.

Beyond the natural wonders, though, for us, it was the mindset that this destination brought with it. We could be more impulsive. We could feel alive and most importantly we could discard the limitations that we had started to associate with travel. So, after a few discussions with AirAsia, our tickets were rerouted to Manila and we were off!

Yeah, it's been a while since we've sketched things - no judging! BTW, hello South China Sea?
Yeah, it’s been a while since we’ve sketched things – So, no judging! BTW, hello South China Sea?

Compared to the mainland countries of Southeast Asia, it was hard to see how the Philippines was considered part of the region at all. Geographically speaking, fair enough. But culturally speaking, it couldn’t be further away. The coconut curries and fresh greens were discarded for meats and potatoes lathered in oil. The rows of three wheeled pushbikes and customized neon lights of tuk tuks were replaced by mismatched metal side cars on motorbikes and ‘pimped out’ jeepneys displaying anything from family logos, crosses to quirky depictions of East Asian cartoon characters. Even the familiar saffron robes and shaved heads of monks that we had become so accustomed to over the last few months were replaced by nuns clad in charcoal habits grasping their rosemary beads. But what surprised us most, was the playful Latin flare in the air. From the Spanglish we spoke, to the adobo we ate, it was as if Southeast Asia collided with South America and their bright eyed offspring was there to greet us with open arms.

Iceman - one of many side cars
Iceman – one of many side cars
One of the aging mountain jeepneys
One of the aging mountain jeepneys

Compared to Vietnam, there was such a warmth that permeated from the people we met and, in all honesty, it was  a breath of fresh air. None of it felt like the Southeast Asia we were familiar with and out of all the countries we visited so far, it is the only destination that is bookmarked for our return…

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2 Comments

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  1. It sounds like you’ve regained your “joy” and lust for continuing your journey! How long will you be in the Philippines and then what’s next? When do you return to India? Re your last comment, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who will be remembered for many things in his career (both good and bad), famously said: “I shall return” when the Japanese forced his retreat in 1942 from Corregidor. And he did.

    • Hey Peter, sorry for the delayed reply on here. Philippines was just a few weeks, but India is in our cards for a few months. We’ll get the blog all caught up over the next few weeks. Hope wedding planning is going well! Sending our best from the road.

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