On my last afternoon in the Philippines, my attention was caught by some jeepnieyses off the side of the road (as I wrote about in my last post). As I stopped to take pictures, kids came out of no where, surrounding me and, with no discernible English, wanted me to take their pictures. One thing about the Philippines: if you have a camera, children (and groups of working men) love to have their pictures taken. Another note about the Philippines that I rarely experience in my travels, Filipinos always return a sincere smile when you smile at them—anywhere in the islands (rather than a suspicious sneer that you will get elsewhere in the world).
As I left the little kids, none of whom spoke more than a word of English I heard one of the smaller one say “Facebook?” I confirmed what he said and wrote my Facebook ID on his arm. He hasn’t friended me yet.
The little kids induced me off the main road, so I continued on. I happened upon a rec-area that included a basketball court; but what intrigued me, in an alcove under a trellis covering, was the poor-man’s billiards table: a hard, polished wood surface with 4-holes, in each corner. Instead of balls, the game used 12 flat 1″ plastic disks and a 3″ cue-disk. Here, the older kids hustled each other for games (actually they played for bragging rights more than money). Their champ beat me one-handed.
I continued deeper into what turned out to be, a living community. A paved narrow road separated a row of tiny (American livingroom-sized) ad hoc constructions from a (polluted) river. The road was barely wide enough to accommodate a vehicle—everyone has to move entirely off the pavement when one passed by. Many of the houses had their “dirty-kitchen” on the riverbank, opposite their house. I couldn’t tell whether this was because there was not enough room in the house, to keep the heat out, or just to keep the fire from burning down their little dwelling. I’m sure no tourists have ever wandered down this path.
I happened upon a group of fraternity kids (“kids”?) drinking for one of their birthdays. They weren’t too old to relish having their pictures taken. At their age they were very curious about relating to foreigners. We shared our knowledge of celebs and politicos, theirs being, of course, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (boxing world champ turned politician and world’s 2nd highest earning athlete, 2012). I am a little out of it when it comes to pop-celebs these days, but fortunately I was up on Psy’s “Gangnam Style”; they went crazy with excitement when I mentioned that.
These diversions during travels are what make travel interesting. For better or (not in my experience) worse, I rarely feel fear during my meanderings. When I came across the partiers, they were wondering how I got there and were concerned about my safely. “Don’t go down any further,” they warned me. Ironically, that is when I felt suspicious… even of them—every bad slasher/travel movie came to mind. I’m kind of curious what was further down the road since I would have continued down the road had it not been for their warning. It was getting dark and I had to go back to the hotel and meet my friends, so that is a question that was left unanswered.
Reload the page to see a different layout of the following gallery of my day’s trek. Click images to see them larger.