Saturday, August 31, 2013

Shrine Challenge!

We created, unwittingly, one of those situations in life when a simple plan takes on rather challenging dimensions. I simply wanted to go for a walk with the girls outside the hotel complex to a memorial/shrine that we had passed in the taxi on the way to the hotel. The girls were not too keen on the idea as it was cutting into their swim time but they are troopers and dutifully went along with there dad. Like in many parts of the world, their are no sidewalks along many of the roads in Mactan and much of daily life takes place along the edge of the road and the roads are very well traveled by cars and jeepneys and trucks and bikes and scooters and buses and goats and kids and endless amounts of dogs and two little girls in their pink swim coverups. It is the rainy season so the dirt along the edge of the road was mud and spotted with many puddles. So I had to keep the girls in line, literally, along the narrow edge of the road as we jalan, jalaned. They were strikingly pink as many people were keen to point out with their sunkist faces and coverups - which Emmerson explained later was not appropriate attire for a walk to the shrine.

At the shrine complex. There is a mangrove forest in the background.

Emmerson displaying her "not too sure about this" body language.

The shrine hero.

Ada with a rooster that she took a particular interest in.

Emmerson explained later why she was a bit apprehensive about this venture - swim attire was not appropriate!

Girls first jeepney ride.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Jalan, Jalan in Mactan

The Indo phrase "jalan, jalan" kept coming to mind as a took a stroll down the Mactan street outside the hotel complex. Lots of people out and about and many inquired as to what I wanted and often suggested all sorts of things that I might be interested in - from shells to the rather disturbing. In Indo when confronted with such a situation all you would have to say is "jalan, jalan" which means "no, thank you, I am simply out for a stroll". Unfortunately I have no knowledge whatsoever of Tagalog and thus did not have a "jalan, jalan" comparative so I just started saying "no, jalan, jalan". The following are some pics I took while on my stroll.

I actually found my first post but already created the below so ....

Insert choice swear words here ...... my lack of knowledge with tech stuff in general just resulted in me erasing this post. So here we go again. I went out for a stroll beyond the compound of the hotel and was engaged by lots of friendly greetings, inquiries and offerings from shells to the rather disturbing ... Those peddling the disturbing were quite persistent and it took a bit of effort to disengage. In Indo the magic bullet was simply to say "jalan, jalan" which basically meant "no thank you I am out for a pleasant stroll and at this time not interested in any other activity". My knowledge of Tagalog is nil so   - after a bit I just went with "no, jalan, jalan" and the universal hand wave to disengage from the more disturbing. The following are from my walkabout.

I think goats are a quality domesticated animal to have in your collection. They are quite hearty, eat lots of things and are quite pleasant to interact with - and are cute according to the girls.

Not sure if you can see this - but Mactan is a "Coke" town. Coke and Pepsi have "claimed" various parts of the world via marketing and contracts - some entire countries are "Coke" or "Pepsi".

Jeepneys are presently my nemesis. I have to deal with their domination of the roads and aggressive style on a daily basis. I do understand their role in Philippine society but still - they frustrate. It is funny that most of them have stenciled in on their bumpers - "how is my driving" - perhaps an inside Philippino Jeepney guy joke.

Roosters are pervasive - evident all over the Philippines. They are coddled and cared for - and fight. More on this later when I have a better understanding of this aspect of the rooster culture.

Apparently, Mactan is a source of shells for export. Lots of establishments were evident catering towards this industry. Many shops were connected to large residential establishments, evidence that there is certainly money to be made in the shell exporting business.

Hanging out in front of one of the shell exporting businesses.

Shells packaged for export.

Philippino calf. Not sure yet about the cow culture here in the Philippines.

One of the more interesting cultural elements that I have come across here. While most of the developing world is soccer oriented - not so the Philippines. Instead of kids involved in make-shift soccer games - its all about basketball here in the Philippines. US influence - perhaps, but I believe there is more to it than this seemingly obvious explanation. Will investigate and report.


Raw shells outside a "factory" ready for processing and eventually export.

Roosting rooster.
Ashley and Kate making waves here in the Philippines.

Nice to know that the driver of this commercial vehicle feels this way about herbs. 

This was interesting. Out on my walk I came across this crowd of yellow shirted folk. At first I thought it was perhaps a school trip of some sort but upon closer investigation noticed that their shirts all had "Interior Innovations" stenciled on their shirts. They are all workers from a factory most likely producing Pier One type of constructs on their lunch break.

"Mactan Newtown", a more developed part of the island, basically consisted of this complex - McD's, a 7-11, and a bank. you can learn a lot about culture/economy/globalization/development/stuff via McD's and where they pop up in our world.

With Ronald.

Ronald welcoming the world to "Mactan Newtown"!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Venturing Out: Mactan Island, Cebu

We celebrated "National Hero Day" by venturing off to Mactan Island for the three day weekend. I am finding it difficult to explain where things are here in the Philippines because the islands are arranged in a group rather than a chain. In Indo you could explain where it is according to it's east west proximity in the archipelago - not so with the Philippines. Cebu is south of Manila and kind of in the center of the island mass that is the Philippines.

We stayed at the Movitech, Movinpech, Mopenvich ... something like one of these. I guess it used to be the Hilton, but due to Paris Hiltons involvement in the company, they have had to sell off certain hotels. Enter in the Swiss Movenpech??? They bought the hotel and that is where we stayed. Here are some pics from the hotel.

Apparently, the pics I took of the hotel were not from my phone, which is where I am getting these images ... but here are the girls at our first dinner upon arriving - lots of lights and house music and really interesting bathrooms and what you would expect from the Swiss for an adult oriented outdoor food, spa, dance, music, part of a hotel. Ada rocking the scene - Emmerson a bit more hesitant about the scene ...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Flood Day

We had a "flood day" today - just like a snow day in the States but a flood day. It is the full on rainy season here and a tropical depression threatening to turn into a typhoon has been hovering over this part of the world for a few days. We have had about three days of nonstop rain and the city is full-up. Certain areas are of course more effected than others. My area and the area where the school is are fine but many parts of the city are under water so some faculty and students could not make it to school safely. So we got the call at 5:30 this a.m. which was actually somewhat of a welcome relief as sleeping last night was a bit of a challenge. The thunder was the most powerful I have ever experienced, structure shaping booms, and soon we had two little girls latched on to us in our bed.

This is an unrelated video - but we have been kind of stuck inside so decided to take some footage. I was going to go for a run and explore a bit but the rain just began in earnest again. This is the girls in their room.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Out and about Town

 Passing one of the many forms of "public" transport.
Took one wrong turn the other day while driving and ended up on a road I simply could not get off. We stayed on it during rush hour traffic for about an hour until we finally found a way to exit and make our way back to our part of town.
 Another random LDC statue depicting "the struggle".
 Classic Jeepney - legacy of US military - vehicles left behind when the US evacuated.
Ada always ready to flash a smile!

US WWII Memorial

The Filipins was one of the few US colonies, and thus had a large presence of US military during WWII due to its proximity to Japan. This is a memorial to those soldiers lost in the defense of the Filipins.

 Listing of US soldiers lost.
 Memorials to those lost

Many Jewish stars in and amongst the crosses.

Our Apartment in One Rockwell East Tower - 33 Floor

Southeastish view
 Southish view
 Southwestish view
Down view - pool to the right and part of parking and shopping complex below, including a Starbucks, a few other cafes and restaurants and a Mac store.

Day Trip: Orphanage, Antonio's Fancy Dining and Volcano

During the intro orientation week, we ventured off to an orphanage that partners with the school followed by a wonderful meal at a beautiful restaurant nestled in the jungle clad hills outside of the city. After the meal we stopped by a volcanic complex on the way home.

 At the orphanage. They take on abandoned and handicapped kids. Those who are known to be handicapped can not be put up for adoption and will remain at the home where they will take up work responsibilities as able.
 They put on a performance for us which was really cute. The little ones doing their thing.
 Teen boys did a really nice duet.
 The older kids choreographed a dance routine.
 And then off to a 5 star dining experience - the juxtaposition was not lost but understandable as all were in the same vicinity and quite a ways out of the city.

 Soup course
 Palette cleanser before the main course - tart lemon sorbet with cracked pepper

Emmerson not quite sure about this palette cleanser stuff.

 The grounds of Antonios

 At the volcanic complex - volcano within a lake within a volcano - and all very much alive and populated.