|Manila bay sunset.|
Well after many delays my return to the Philippines is finally coming. It has been nearly 7.5 years. I will make my planning and logistics trip in February with plenty of time for exploration and visiting friends. After that, if all goes well I'll make my final retirement move by summer.
I've been to the Philippines twice before, the second time I worked there for a year. It is an incredible country with wonderful people. An archipelago of 7,107 islands of which approximately 2000 are inhabited. Yes, you may read some bad things about the country from some people, but the fact is that it is no worse then any other country. Their challenges are simply different. But the beauty of the island is as great as any you can find anywhere. The treasure of the country is their many beautiful places (outside of Manila National Capital Region) and the wonderful hospitable nature of the people almost everywhere. Yes even Manila and the NCR has many interesting and great places to visit. Lots of culture both local and international.
The country has a rich and ancient history. 8 primary languages and 120+ dialects. The main languages spoken all over are Filipino (a composite of the 8 primary based mostly on Tagalog) and English. You will find some Spanish words or derivations thereof also due the 333 years of Spanish rule. You will find people everywhere who speak some English though they may be shy about trying if they haven't had a lot of practice. You will find many other languages spoken to varying degrees as well.
|The culturally iconic Jeepney|
The iconic Jeepney is a primary means of public transportation and comes in many shapes and forms. It was created after World War II when the US military left behind thousands of Willy Jeeps and military trucks. The every creative Filipinos took them and turned them into all types of transportation and shipping vehicles by expanding their wheelbases and adding on large passenger or cargo sections. Over time owners began decorating them with whatever materials they could find to make each one unique. The modern Jeepney is larger and built to modern standards. You will even find a few air conditioned jeepneys, but most are open air vehicles with plasic flaps they lower down when it rains.
Other means of public transportation include taxis and modern Air conditioned buses for longer range travel. There are also substantial systems of ferries and airports to get around among the islands.
|The former Island Fortress of Corregidor is now|
a World War II monument that must be seen.
The image to the left is a WWII defense gun located on the Fortress island of Corregidor which guarded the entrance to Manila Bay. It was the last stand of Filipino and American forces against the Japanese in WWII. Between Bataan and Corregidor the Japanese used so many resources to capture those areas that they were not immediately able to continue their conquest of the South Pacific. They wanted Manila bay to use a launching point on their way to Australia. Until they took Corregidor they could not gain access to Manila bay. The Philippines was invaded by Japan, just 10 hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Greatly outgunned and outmanned Filipino and American combined forces held off the Japanese complete control of the islands until May 5, 1942. Their sacrifice allowed allied forces to regroup and begin to launch counterattacks against Japanese forces throughout the Pacific.
There are hundreds of thousands more interesting places that can be seen and visited. Eco-tourism is also an up and coming venue for those interested in nature and the wild.
I'll have a lot more to share in the years to come. A lifetime is not long enough to see all that the Philippines has to offer. For all its challenges it is still a land of enchantment and wonder Soon to be my final home.