With a few weeks before I have to teach my Winter Camp for my middle school students. My buddy Cameron and I headed out to the Philippines for some much needed sun and relaxation.
Having never been to the Philippines before, I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew it would be hot and that there would be some really good looking women there. Beyond that I was just excited to get another stamp on the passport and see some historical locations and monuments.
The first day of the trip was a bit of a disappointment as our flight on Cebu Pacific Airlines was longer than expected. Cameron and I thought that it was a short flight but it ended up being closer to 4 hours. To top it off the seats were not built for anyone over 5’10” tall. Since Cam and I are both big guys we had sore knees and stiff backs when we were finally allowed to get out of our seats and move around the concourse.
Immigration was a joke and as we walked around the airport in search of a currency converter we noticed that airport security appeared very lax, which surprised me since the southern portion of the country is engaged in some strife. Nevertheless, we got out of the airport found a taxi, had some McDonald’s and headed for our pension.
Day 2 was a bit more relaxing. We changed some money over and then headed to Intramuros. Intramuros was a fascinating place. The original site of the capital of Manila. A fully enclosed city of historical significance. We took a guided tour around the area and witnessed some very old buildings and structures while learning about the first Filipino hero Rizal. His story is quite amazing and if you visit the area I can’t urge you enough to learn about him and what he sacrificed in order to teach the Filipino people of the atrocities that the Spanish subjected the people to.
After the tour we grabbed some chicken at an amazing chicken place called Max’s. A restaurant that dates back to 1945 after World War II. It is hard to get tasty chicken in Korea so we were very thankful to have such a fine meal. It was very cheap as well which just added to the appeal.
Day 3 we did some sight-seeing. One of the hardest things for me to deal with while in the Philippines was all the poverty. It was difficult to walk around and not want to hand out coins to the children that were homeless and on the street begging for food, money, or anything else that they would consider valuable.
To see an entire family living on cardboard outside of a 5-star hotel broke my heart and it was everywhere. You didn’t have to go or look far in order to see an individual or family living on the street asleep on nothing more than a dirty cardboard box or a few ragged blankets.
It really makes you think about what you have and what you are thankful for. While Cam and I had the opportunity to meet and talk to a few Filipinos we learned that many have a monthly take home pay that rivals our daily paycheck. How anyone could survive on what they take home and prosper is beyond me.
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting a few beautiful women while I was there and went to the bars with them. The Filipino people are a very diverse and fun-loving. Even though they don’t have much they have warm hearts and love to help out anyone. You can’t say that the Filipinos are not kind and caring as they went out of their way to show me and my friend a great time in an amazing city. I have a few new friends that I plan on keeping in contact with and perhaps visiting them again in the near future.
While the overall poverty of the country was appalling, I found the Philippines to be a truly amazing travel destination full of great food, people, and things to do. Truly a great place to visit.