Tag Archives: Philippines

Baler: Pacific Paradise Escapade in Luzon

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The Pacific at Sabang Beach, Baler. Magical. Pic: Rod Fleming

I had no idea what I’d find in Baler. I just knew I wanted to see the sea. After months in Plaridel, which, while nice, is neither favoured with mountains nor sea. I needed it. People like me, who grew up by the sea, pine away if we are too far from it. I’ll do another post about it later in the week, but for now I just want to say it is an unspoiled paradise. Beautiful.

Baler is on the Pacific coast of Luzon. The Pacific is magical and I was awestruck by the fact that I was literally standing on the edge of the Earth — or at least, the edge of the Sunda plate, which is advancing inexorably towards the distant and unseen America, subducting (lovely word) the Philippines Sea plate as it goes.

Anyway, this a wee taster. We’ll be going back to Baler and I’ll write more about it. Meantime thanks to our new friends Rich and Fely Cleaver, who run the Saltwater Lodge on Sabang Beach. Economical, comfortable, clean and good company, just like staying at home!

Photos

Continue reading Baler: Pacific Paradise Escapade in Luzon

Pageants: the key to understanding ladyboys

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Contestants at the 2017 Mr Lady pageant in Malolos. Pic: Rod Fleming

On Sunday March 12th we went to watch the ‘Mr Lady’ beauty pageant at Robinson’s Place, Malalos, here in the Philippines. These pageants are a regular and important feature of life here.

During the event, an award was presented for Most Supportive Boyfriend. The winner took both his beloved and the crowd by surprise when he proposed to her on bended knee. The crowd went absolutely wild!

These events are very much family affairs and each of the contestants was supported by a strong turnout of highly partisan cousins, siblings and parents. It’s just good fun and everybody has a great time. Continue reading Pageants: the key to understanding ladyboys

Malolos: Street photography and ladyboys

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Sam doing her thing. Pic: Rod Fleming
Malolos: Street photography and ladyboys 20170225_malolos-nikon_0177-200x300
A few of the elusive ladyboys of Malolos. Pic: Rod Fleming

On the 25th of February, we went to Malolos, the capital of Bulacan, to see a ladyboy parade; but it never appeared. Ladyboy levels of disorganisation are, of course, legendary, in addition to which, they were probably working on Filipino time, which makes ‘manana’ sound urgent. Still, a couple of nice cold Red Horses and some good pictures. Continue reading Malolos: Street photography and ladyboys

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

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Wedding photography at Las Casaas de Acuzar. Pic: Rod Fleming

Last week I visited Bataan, here in the Philippines, for the first time. I was amazed by the scenery, which is remarkable; beautiful mountains, beaches and sea views, amongst everything else. What a richness this country has! Anyway, the highlight of the tour was when an old friend suggested going to Las Casas de Acuzar at Bagac.

Bagac is south of Olongapo on Subic Bay and is accessible by bus. Once again, the scenery en route is spectacular.

I was expecting a beach and maybe a nice old village — my friend and guide, Belgie, said ‘There are old houses’. I wasn’t even slightly prepared for what I saw. Continue reading Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

2016: a bad year? No, a new beginning.

2016: a bad year? No, a new beginning. Donald_Trump_6905693-300x193
The Donald’s election as President of the USA was the defining moment of 2016. The alternative would have doomed us.

2016 began, for me, in the Philippines, where I now am. It had a less than auspicious beginning: I remember my shock at hearing about the death of David Bowie. But, while the toll of celebrities continued, this was not the most surprising thing about the year by any means.

That something was afoot became clear early on, in May, when Rodrigo Duterte, a fast talking populist, was elected as president of the Philippines. Most people in the West hardly noticed this, but it was a straw in the wind. It is true that Duterte’s route to power was laid open by the Philippines electoral system, which is single-stage, and the fact that the centrist vote was split between two popular candidates, Mar Roxas and Grace Poe. Duterte exploited this division expertly and won, on around 38% of the vote. Continue reading 2016: a bad year? No, a new beginning.