vignettes of manila, philippines.

Monday 13 February 2012

I'm back from two weeks of travelling (and eating my way) through the Philippines! For those who are wondering, yes, my vegetarianism went on a two week break too.

Originally born in Manila, (I moved to Australia at 4 years old) I've been hankering to go back and explore the country as an adult and venture beyond Manila. It seems my gut knows a thing or two because the Philippines revealed some of the most spectacular sights I've ever seen.

These are some vignettes of our time in Manila. Most of the photos are taken within the old walled city of Intramuros, the place which hosted tragedy after tragedy.

Over the next week, I'll share a little more of my experience travelling to the active volcano of Lake Taal, trekking through the rice terraces of North Luzon and then the beaches of Palawan. Mind blowing, these places were. Absolutely mind blowing. Stay tuned.

Fort Santiago, Intramuros.
The National Hero's business card.

Being in the Philippines was a two faced experience for me. On the one hand, so much felt familiar. The homely sound of the language, the meals as if they'd emerged from my mum's kitchen, the smell of cooked rice mixed with soapy laundry upon entering a home. I felt like everyone I encountered was my uncle, aunt or cousin. As if it was my childhood family home at a larger scale.

However, these familiarities were entwined with a world so vastly different from my everyday life here in Australia. The hordes of unaccompanied children littering the streets, the wayward driving and seemingly impenetrable traffic, taxi drivers working 24hours straight to make ends meet, the young ladies in mini skirts being collected one by one from street corners, the persistent sting of pollution on the nose and seeing the furrowed brows of a family living on a tray trailer.

Yes, we saw amazing things, but we definitely witnessed plenty of hardship too. It's an odd feeling, knowing that this was almost my world. It makes me feel absolutely grateful for all that I have. Incredibly grateful. 


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