Schlagwort-Archiv: philippines

Fireflies Like Stars

After climbing Mount Mayon I decided to head for some river where you can see millions of fireflies at night. Ido and Noa, the Israelis who were climbing Mt Mayon with me, joined for the trip.To get to the fireflies you just have to ask around the tricycle drivers to take you to that fireflies river near Donsol (I guess its name was Ogod). They will give you a ride.

In Ogod we were getting on a boat and we sailed along the river as the sun was setting. From afar one could see a huge glooming spot, like someone was pointing with a torch on a tree. The closer we got the more one could the the bright and tiny fireflies, that make so much light. There were millions over millions in the mangroves. I have rarely seen something beautiful like this. When you looked up to the stars you were not sure where the fireflies ended and where the stars stated. It’s a pity you cannot catch these beautiful moments in pictures: it was too shaky on the boat to take pictures with slow shutter speed. But I will keep this beautiful experience in my mind.

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Swimming With Whale Sharks

It is as easy like that: take a bus from Legazpi to Donsol, go on a boat. Get some snorkelling gear and dive into the water.


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Around Mount Mayon

After a few days in Manila visiting the good old places I used to hang around and seeing some friends, I took the plane to southern Luzon, Legazpi. I wanted to climb Mount Mayon, which actually is a volcano. But before starting the hiking trip I strolled around Mt Mayon with a Filipino I got to know in the streets. On his motorbike he took me to me to the best lookouts and to the town of Cagsawa which is buried under lava. Only the steeple lets one have a guess that there must have been a village.


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Easter Crucifixion

There is one thing I missed tha last time when I was in the Phillies: I wanted to see the Easter crucifixions. It’s a strange thing, seeing catholics get nailed to the cross, fainting, surrounded by a carnival atmosphere. Before those people get nailed the strive through the city of San Fernando (Pampanga) and slash themselves until they have bloody backs. When you walk by you need to be careful to not get some blood drips on you. Nevertheless it’s something which is explained more appropriate in pictures.

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Back to the home of heart

It’s been almost two years since I left the Philippines and since I left I knew I would come back to this lovely place. When the plane landed in Manila I felt so amazingly happy. I took my luggage and went outside in the hot air of Metro Manila to wave a cab. Instantly when we departed from the airport area I started to cry. Everything felt so close and like I haven’t been away for day. I could have given the taxi driver all the directions to Katipunan Ave in Quezon City, where I used to live and where I will stay for the first few days this time as well. It’s good to be back in the home of heart.


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Hiking in Sagada and Banaue

I spent some great days with my friends from Berlin. First of all when they arrived in Manila I was showing them round in the City of Manila and they did some one day trips round Manila.

After that we decided to visit Sagada and Banaue, where one can see the 2000 year old rice terraces -actually a world wonder! [googlemaps,+Cordillera+Administrative+Region,+Philippinen&aq=0&oq=sagada&sll=22.395793,114.109497&sspn=2.000977,4.22699&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Sagada,+Mountain+Province,+Cordillera+Administrative+Region,+Philippinen&t=m&ll=17.083369,120.900078&spn=0.098452,0.102997&z=12&iwloc=A&output=embed&w=300&h=300]

We took a bus from Manila to go to Banaue and then changed there into a van to Bontoc. From there we made our way by jeepney to our first stop: Sagada. In fact already the journey to Sagada was exciting. Basti and me were riding on top of the jeepney and enjoyed the beautiful view over the rice terraces and the beautiful nature in the Cordilleras of Luzon.

In Sagada we first made a trip to some caves. It was very adventurous, we had to climb through the smallest wholes and up the rocks inside the cave to make our way. In the second cave there were a lot of stalagmites and stalagtites. This cave was actually called the pron cave and the guide was telling us stories about this cave and why it has this name. After 3h of caving we took a cold cold bath in a natural pool inside the cave.

The next day we were so lucky to see the Town Fiesta. The parade of the Fiesta actually started right infront of our hostel. There we got to see a lot of people in the traditional costumes and they were dancing there native dances.

We also enjoyed a special coffee in Sagada. This kind of coffee is eaten by wild cats and they shit out the beans and those beans are then roasted for the coffee. Sounds disgusting, but it is actually tasty. But since this coffee is a delicacy it is highly expensive!

After that we went on a guided tour to the Hanging Coffins, the Echo Valley, the Underground River and some small Waterfalls.

The Hanging Coffins are the main attraction in Sagada, because it is a special way of burying the dead, which one can only find in Sagada. The coffins are hanging high on the rocks you can find around Sagada. People believe, if they are buried that way, they are closer to God.

The Underground River was also very interesting, but unfortunately we could not go the whole way along the river, because we had no flashlights.

After the this hike in the sun, the bath in the waterfalls was very refreshing. In the evenig we went to a restaurant called Log Cabin. And I can tell the food was soooo great. Maybe the best food I got so far in the Philippines. It is not typical Filipino food, but sometimes it is okay to have a break from Filipino food. There we also sat together with some very nice Swiss people, who were taking a break from work to travel around the world.

The next day we got up very early to go to Banaue. Again we were sitting on top of the jeepney to enjoy the beautiful view. And then our two days hike through the rice terraces started.

Fro me this trip was one of the best I made in the Phillies so far. We had a guide for two days.

First of all we went by jeep over a very rocky road in the hills and hiked then down into a small village called Batad.

Batad is located in the middle of a valley full of rice terraces and from our pension we could overlook the whole valley! From there we went on hiking through the terraces and through this nice village to u huge waterfall of more than 40 meters height in another valley. The hiking there is tough because the mountains are high and steep.

We spent the night in Batad and continued our trip the next day to a village called Banga’an. It was a four hours hike, again through the mountains and the rice terraces. The view you have there is so amazing. And every effort you have to take, like hiking in the midday sun, is it worth.

 After we arrived in Banga’an a tricycle took us back to Banaue. This was very adventurous again, cos the roads are very rocks. Sometimes it is even ridiculous to calls those paths roads. It’s really back to nature, but it also feels like complete freedom.

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You spend Christmas in the cold? I did not.

Just one day after I came back from Taipei my sister arrived in Manila. We did some sightseeing/ culture shocking in the city and voila – Christmas was already there.

I spend Christmas Eve together with my flatmates Nina and Judith, our Austrian friend Kati and my sister. Later on in the evening the lonely French Milou was joining us as well.

I cooked the main course of the dinner after a traditional receiot of my mum and I made Bratäpfel for desert. Luckily my mum had sent me some Christmas sweets from Germany and my sister brought some Christmas sweets from home as well.
Late in the evening we went to the Church on campus and I attended my first catholic Christmas mass.

On the second day of Christmas my sister Elli and me left to Caramoan Islands. It was a looong trip by bus, then again by van and at last a boat ride. After 12h of travelling we reached the Caramoan Islands, took a tricycle to Centro Caramoan and looked for accommodation in the small town.
Because we were travelling half a day it was already the next morning and so we started our sightseeing tour right away.
A trike took us to beautiful Paniman beach which is far away from tourism. We only met fishermen and their kids there. The fishermen were pulling huge fishing nets out of the water and on the beach the fish was drying.

Not even the landscape there was nice, even on our way there we went through a beautiful rich landscape. It felt like they had everything there: palms, jungle, mangroves, rivers, the sea, beaches in white and brown, mountains and valleys and rice fields and lots of animals.

We spent the whole day on the beach and walking through the beautiful valley behind Paniman beach. Some kids were joining us while we were sitting at the shore.
The next day we rented a boat and went to the small Islands of Caramoan. There one can find one island after the other and every island is a paradise for itself. The island hopping ws really relaxing – boat ride, beach, sun, boat ride, beach sun etc. After that we went to Gota beach and went hiking though the area and the valley there as well.
And finally Christmas was over and Elli and me were on our way back to Manila.


But the journey did not come to an end. Next destination: Vietnam.

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From Cebu City to Moalboal

After a great start in Cebu City we got uo early the next day and went to Carbon Market. This market is settled downtown in the poor areas of Cebu City and is a typical filipino market. So far this was one of the most interesting thnigs to see.
Surprisingly we were no surrounded by vendors trying to sell their stuff, although we were obvious the only white and ‘rich’ people there. It was really pleasent just to wander around the market. There was everything to find – food, fresh fruit, clothes, flowers, even auto parts. It was really dirty there and especially at those places where they were selling meat I was not able to breath, cos I was afraid I might vomit.
But still besides all those dirt everything is so colourful, like everywhere in the Philippines. And the people are friendly. We had a nice conversation with some women selling coconuts.

Having made our way though huge Carbon Market our trip went on to Moalboal. We went there by bus and I can tell it’s an experience. The roads are bumpy and the drivers don’t care about about speedlimits. It is more like rollercoaster ride and it’s fun. Before the driver hits a turn he just honks. On the bus you won’t find only people, often there are also chicken and there are coming vendors into the bus selling weird filipino food.
But travelling by bus is cheap and you got to see a lot on your ride.

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Arriving in Cebu City

With the island of Cebu I put through lots of positive memories.
We arrived in Mactan close to Cebu City. We took a cab to get to Verbena Pension in uptown Cebu City. The room and breakfast were quite cheap, but simple. We just spend there one night, so it was okay. Cebu City has a lot of green spots and has fresh air to offer compared to Manila, although it is a big City, too.
That day we went by taxi to Beverly Hills (yes, that really is the name of the rich Chinese quarter in Cebu!) to see the Chinese Taoist Temple there. It was quite impressive to see that huge temple, but still for me ot looked like toy. We wandered around in the Chinese garden. Afterwards we wanted to go to a vantage point calles Tops, but it turned out to be quite expensive by cab, so we sadly decided not to go.
We had sent the taxi driver away, this seemed to be a mistake cos at that time there was no taxi driver there at all and the way don the hills back to city centre was quite long.
But since we are three lucky girls a Pick-up came along and gave us a

hitch-hike. we sat on the loading platform and enjoyed our ride.
Our hitchhikers asked us to have a drink in a bar and so we found ourselves in a Corean restaurant in a small mall. The guy (Christoph) turned out to be from Austria, living in the Phillies for more than ten years and the girl (Ziva) with him was his Slowene couchsurfer. And there was this little filipino girl with them who was actually Christoph’s flatmates daughter. What a nice meeting!

But still this eventful day was not over yet. We went just right out the restaurant when we were asked by some motorbike driver if we’d like to go to Tops. And for sure we wanted! Finally we we went there for a really cheap price and it was so much fun to get up the hills to Tops with that guys.
Tops is amazing. I didn’t think it was that great, but one has a beautiful view over the whole city sparkling and glittering in the night.

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Boracay was the first island we visited on our first trip through the Philippines.
Early in the morning we headed to the airport of Manila, we did not have a ticket yet, because Cebu Pacific (the airline we wanted to take – cheap one) does only accept Asian credit cards. Well, there we are at the airport, with backpacks, but with no ticket. But luckily there were still some seats on a cheap flight to Kalibo on Panay Island available. We booked a second flight to the next destination Cebu, too. After spending some hours at the airport waiting for our flight, finally we departed into paradise.

We arrived in Kalibo, cos Boracay is such a small island that does not have an airport. The landing was quite rough, the pilot had to brake hard to get the aircraft to stop on the quite short runway. From there we went by bus to Caticlan, from where we took a boat to get to the island of Boracay. Actually we thought we were going on a ferry trip, but instead we found a small typical filipino boat. One puts its luggage on top of the boat and then you sit down on benches and the lifevests are hanging down from the ceiling right in your face.

After a short ride of about 15minutes we arrived on Boracay. It was already dark, cos usually it is always already dark about 6 o’clock. We took a quite expensive tricycle and went to our cottage at Melinda’s Garden.
Melinda’s Garden is a really nice place a little set ack from the beautiful White Beach. And the name is what you get. The beach seems to be endless, kilometres of white sand, crystal clear water and palms all over. Although Boracay is quite touristic the beach is almost empty – there only a few people hanging around – a dream.

But this wonderful island has somehow a bittersweet taste. When one’s walking across the seaside on the sandy boulevards there are a lot of street vendors, people offering massages, people from restaurants etc that are calling after you all the time, what is quite annoying. In the evenings a lot of colorful boats were sailing along the sea into the sunset, which was pretty to see.
It was so wonderful to spend some days there in the sun and at the beach after the busy time in Manila. One day we rent a boat and went to Crocodile Island close to Boracay. There we went snorkelling in some caves that opened to the sea.

Compared to the islands we now have been to, Boracay is relatively expensive, but still quite affordable for rich Europeans like us ;)

On Boracay I saw quite a lot of Ladyboys for the first time in my life. And I can tell, yes, they are really professional. One has to look twice to get the idea, that there might be something wrong. And still I am not sure if I identified all ladyboys. Another weird phenomenon was that there actually were a lot of elderly white men hanging around with really young and beautiful filipinas, one could see a lot of them there. Before I was not aware that this cliche was so true – it was really remarkable.

One day I was walking on my own on the beach to a little chapel on a rock in the sea on White Beach. I guess I walked like one and a half hour, but still the beach did not come to an end. In the distance I already saw the Maria on the rock and some people around to take pictures of the chapel. When they saw me, they actually started to take pictures of me! I was kind of surprised, because there are relatively lots of white people on Boracay. But I guess they never saw a redhead before. When I arrived at the chapel some Koreans asked if they could take some pictures with me. Sure I agreed – who knows where I am to see now on the Internet ^^

After those relaxing days on Boracay we continued our trip to the island of Cebu.

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