Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Photo Nostalgia = Philippines, 2007

For Christmas of 2007, I surprised my best friends (who are Filipino-American) by flying to the Philippines, 12 hours before they got there. This surprise was orchestrated by my friends' dad, who would join us all later.
The airport in Manila, late evening

In my friends' uncle's house, after I surprised everyone. My friends' mom is celebrating our arrival by performing karaoke. I tried it for the first time, by singing Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog." It left much to be desired.

My friends' relatives found me to be a curious sight.

The "tricycle," a common mode of transportation.

The jeepney, perhaps the country's most famous form of transportation.

This trip marked the first time I had crossed the dateline, so I was pretty wiped out.

My friends' sister, Myla, and her uncle Sonny (who also helped with the surprise by telling everyone his long lost love child had arrived home; I then emerged to shocked reactions).

Street in Manila

I really like this photo; it was a happy accident.

Small jeepney

Poverty isn't the essence of the Philippines, but it's definitely there to witness.

Oink oink

From left = some ugly blogger, Edwin, and his brother (and my best friend) Adrian

Rice paddies are a common sight

I can't remember this volcano's name... but it's a freakin' volcano.

We arrive in Concepcion, a town in Tarlac Province, and are greeted by Adrian's relatives.

Myla and Adrian got quite the welcome.

I wasn't quite so popular ;-) But they fed me well!

Adrian's cousin Mark (aka "Bong") raises chickens for cockfighting. Hold the diatribe, please.

Another cousin holds up a different rooster

They're raised to be aggressive

Cock-a-doodle-doo

Pretty chill vacation so far

Great sunsets in the Philippines

We would play basketball next to the house... I'd usually lose ;-)

How 'bout them sunsets?

This is where we'd spend much of our time, playing card games (see below) and chess.

Diversion from the norm = a road trip to Baguio (BAHG - ee - o)

Don't worry, I was happy.

Northern Luzon is very lush

The famous Lion's Head on Kennon Road, leading to Baguio City.

At our accommodation, Adrian puts himself in a timeout.

Horseback riding on a trail in Baguio

Me, one of the cousins, Adrian, and Edwin

Adrian and I ham it up in Baguio

Great view over the area

Edwin pretends to rob a store while wearing a balaclava

Densely packed houses

Yours truly

We stopped by this field to get berries

No beating around the bush here, no sir.

Ooo, purdy.

We crossed into Pampanga Province to go watch cockfights (again - hold the diatribe).

Two roosters enter the arena, one rooster (or none) leaves.

I'll spare you the images of rooster death - it's all on video anyway.

Later on = time for waterboarding deuces. How does it work? So glad you asked.

Deuces is a card game, called Pusoy Dos in the Philippines, in which you try to get rid of your cards first. In our variation, the loser of each hand has to drink a glass of water. Adrian wasn't doing so hot at first, while I had yet to drink.

Edwin was thirsty anyways.

I started to get into a rut = this is my fourth glass of water. Yes, I was aware of the effects of too much water in too little time.

Ninth glass of water (note = each hand took at least five minutes, and you drink after the hand)

Eleven... it's starting to taste like poison

Fifteen... I'm really not that bad of a card player, but I was getting awful cards and having bad luck.

Eighteen

Twenty-two... Myla offers her hand for the count

Twenty-five, one for each year I was alive up to this point. Since my birthday was two weeks away, I got to 26 glasses...

...and then I had to go lie down. In the bathroom.

The next day = the kids horse around on the tricycle

We headed back to Manila to pick up Adrian's dad; here's Adrian with his uncle Sonny (charismatic as ever)

Adrian's dad, Don, made my trip possible. He got to the Philippines late due to a passport issue. Better late than never!

Don loves his San Miguel

Back in Tarlac Province = the sky is moody approaching 2008

Edwin and his other uncle Narding leave the cemetery where their relatives are buried. No better time than the birth of a new year to reflect upon one's mortality.