Tag Archives: Philippines

The Goddess in The Philippines

goddess
Pic: Rod Fleming

The Goddess is a big deal in the Philippines and goddesses are out in strength there this week. The occasion is the closing rounds of the Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball tournament, held at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. Teams with names like De La Salle Lady Spikers and Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagles, the Tigresses, the Lady Warriors and the Lady Bulldogs battle it out in front of huge, enthusiastic and thoroughly partisan crowds. And these girls aren’t kidding; this is serious stuff.

 The audience is mainly young – but everywhere in the Phils is mainly young. That’s only to be expected in a country where the population has increased by a factor of ten in fifty years. And there are as many men here as women. Filipinos are as passionate about volleyball as Scots are about football.

 This is hard sport, and women are seen as true warriors. Continue reading The Goddess in The Philippines

Palawan, Philippines, 2012

Crissy at Palawan, Philippines 2012
Crissy at Palawan, Philippines 2012

Palawan is an island in the west of the Mimaropa Admistrative region of the Philippines. The Phils is divided colloquially into three regions, Luzon in the north, Visayas in the centre and Mindanao in the south. Palawan is on the far west of Visayas.

philippines-map
The Philippines. Palawan is coloured brown on the west.

It forms the northern boundary of the Sulu Sea and is only some 70 kilometres from Malaysia at its southern extremity. It is served by two airports, the larger being at Puerto Princesa, the main town on the island.

I had come to the Philippines because I had met, on-line, a transpinay called Crissy José and I wanted to meet her in real. At the time I was still recovering from the end of my marriage and a brief and failed affair with a women close to my age. (Which was an unmitigated disaster.) I’d been chatting to a couple of women but here was a click with Crissy that I didn’t get with the others. So I booked my ticket.

Spring and summer of 2012 I had passed sailing my yacht Misty around the coast of Scotland. She was sold in September and I wanted something I hadn’t had in a long time — a good chillout holiday and plenty of sex. Well, the Philippines trip got me one of those.

That first visit to the Phils was only three weeks — back then you only got 21 days on the automatic tourist visa. I had made my base at the Oasis Paco Park hotel in Ermita, Manila, and Palawan was the second exploration trip. The first was to Boracay, which I write about here.

(As an aside, I again highly recommend the Oasis Paco Park. It’s reasonably priced, clean and the staff are super-friendly. It also has a really good, if a tad pricey, Italian restaurant.)

We had booked our tickets for the Palawan tour through TravelTeam, and found ourselves on a Zest Airlines flight out of NAIA at 0700.

Palawan Gallery

Philippines and Thailand March 2013

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Crissy in Bangkok–so cute it hurts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I visited the Philippines to see my then girlfriend Crissy José in March 2013, and we went to Thailand for my birthday. This is a small selection of pictures from the trip. Most of the pictures were taken either with a Nikon D90 or a Canon Powershot G12.

We met at the airport, as before, but this time it was close to midnight. At least that meant it was cool. In late February the Phils has not really warmed up, though their idea of ‘winter’ is ‘tops off and down the beach’ for a Scot like me.

I had booked a few nights at the Oasis Paco Park Hotel, which I can highly recommend. It is reasonably priced, very clean, nice staff and very central. It’s under ten minutes’ tricycle ride to Luneta (Rizal) Park, for example, Manila bay is about 15 minutes in a taxi and Mall of Asia only a little further. Although Malate has lost the colourful gay night-life that gained it a reputation, it is still lively and nearby.

Gallery Philippines and Thailand 2013

 

 

Travels With A Ladyboy 2: Culture Shock

Paco Park Manila
Paco Park, Ermita, Manila

My plan had originally been to make my trip to Asia after Christmas, but Carla had told me that she was unlikely to be available then. I was in contact with a number of girls, but only she had that spark, and I knew I wanted to meet her. She was lively and enthusiastic, but had an edge about her and a depth too, that I liked. She had a way of just knowing what I was thinking, even before I said it, that always bodes well for a new relationship.

 So I rearranged my schedule. In fact, November is the best time to go to Southeast Asia in any case. The typhoon season should have come to an end, and the temperatures are relatively low, with lots of sunshine. In addition, flight prices are twenty per cent or so cheaper then, than in March or April. I readily persuaded myself that making the trip sooner was justified on a whole raft of counts; other, of course, than my interest in getting to know Carla a whole lot better… Continue reading Travels With A Ladyboy 2: Culture Shock

Travels With a Ladyboy: 1. NAIA

Jeepney‘It’s as if a couple of jumbo-jets of Western culture crashed into a containership of Asia and the wreckage is still settling.’ These words jump out at me as I read over my notes. And it’s true; the Philippines is a cultural conundrum, a Rubik’s Cube of interlaced and interlocked themes, memes, images and sensations.

It’s not like India, where the veneer of Westernism added by a couple of hundred years of British domination is so thin it seems as flimsy as a bride’s veil, yet definitely attached, as if the bride herself is shy about lifting it, nor Thailand, where Western cultural influences seem grafted on, bizarrely co-exiting with something older and fundamentally opposed. Instead, the Philippines is a genuine melting-pot, a sculptor’s crucible where metallic elements are alloyed to make something completely new. The roots of European culture here go deep, deep into the fertile soil of Asia, and the resulting foliage is strange, at once familiar yet surprising. Continue reading Travels With a Ladyboy: 1. NAIA