Thursday, July 29, 2010

Another family picture taken with a view of Taal volcano.

This was taken at the Palace in the Sky, a vacation home for the Marcoses that never got finished because he was overthrown. It's not familiar to me since we had already left the Philippines when it was being built. I wish I had taken a picture of this structure. It would have been magnificent had it been finished. There were no walls, just a veranda running around a center support. The metal railings are rusted and falling apart but the location was perfectly situated on top of the mountain.


Or should I say lizards. They're all over the Philippines, inside and out of homes, trees,just everywhere. Americans call them geckos but to us Filipinos, they're just plain lizards. I remember when I was growing up there, how they would just drop from the ceiling onto my neck and me running around like a chicken trying to get them off. They feel cold to the touch. My kids were fascinated but didn't dare to get any closer either.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Little red house
One of the fascinating things we saw in Manila was this red house (smack dab on the center of this photo). This was in one of the poorest areas along the Coastal highway. That is a 4-story house, only a few feet wide. I swear, if you stretch out your arms, you can touch both walls. It's in what we call the "squatters' area". Lacking land, they have to build up.

The yellow jeep is one of the famous passenger jeepneys, which seats 12-15 people, and can take you anywhere in Manila and the provinces.

Taal Volcano
One of the places I wanted to visit on this trip is the famous Taal Volcano which can be seen in Tagaytay. It's an active volcano in the middle of a lake. Last time it erupted was in the 70s but with the more frequent tremors happening recently, it's due for another eruption. Tagaytay has become ritzy and popular to retirees looking for affordable places to live in the Philippines. Tagaytay's climate is perfect .

This was what greeted us as while flew in to Manila. Massive thunderclouds, dark rain clouds and lightning. They shut down Manila Int'l Airport because of it. We later found out that heavy rains like this can shut down their radar/GPS thingies. No planes can land until the rain stops. The funny thing is, the 15 days we were there, it rained for 14 days, only in the afternoon, lasting for 15-30 minutes, and always in the afternoon. Guess what? A majority of incoming Int'l flights arrive in the afternoon and evening--lol!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

We're home!! Actually, we've been home since Saturday.

I have a lot to say about Hawaiian Airlines. It's very convenient to fly Hawaiian since it's the only airlines, that we know of, flying from Sacramento to the Phils. But it's plagued with delays. Going to the US and coming back is a never-ending list of delays. We almost missed the connecting flight from Hawaii to Sac because of delays.

Some are unavoidable, I know, but what are the odds?

I miss my hometown but not the humidity and heat. I miss my cousins and aunts and uncles. I even miss the continuous noise of the the jeeps and tricycles even through the night and early hours. I don't miss the mosquito bites. I have 26 bites on my legs and arm. They're almost gone now except for the faint brown marks.

It was sad saying goodbye to my relatives specially my cousin Aris, who has Downs Syndrome. He is one of the sweetest people I know. He was crying when we left which made it even harder for me.

I will make an effort to visit more often and not wait another 17 years. My kids will want to come too since they told me they had fun too while we were there. I think it's the lizards.