06 January 2007

Manila City and Taal Volcano Photos

I know that these photos have taken ages to be posted but they are here finally. Enjoy!

Manila City Tour

The American War Memorial - the only land other than the embassy that belongs to the US in the Philippines and the only other place you will find an American flag.

A sea of white crosses and the occasional star (near the tree).

Walls of the memorial are filled with names of the missing but not forgotten - out of all these, only 145 are found.

A monument to the national hero guarded by 2 soldiers and fenced off to the public.

The Intramuros' Fort Santiago with a grisly history. 1) The main gate and icon. 2) Looking back at that gate after passing through. 3) Looking forward from the gate, you can also see my patient tour guide waiting. 4) Looking across the water from above the dungeons. There were little kids floating on large pieces of wood or tiny canoes begging from the tourists they could see.

5) The bottom half of a prison used to kill inmates by drowning when the tide came in. Last time it was used 600 Filipinos died. 6) A statue of the national hero who was executed here and whose death began a revolution. This is where the Palace chapel used to be. Apparently he was married to his German wife moments before his execution and then left the chapel to walk his last walk to the face the firing squad. 7) Following the last walk of the national hero. The path he took is now marked with golden footsteps and its hard to imagine while you walk in them what that man could have been thinking or feeling.

The Intramuros still. 1) San Agustin Church, one of the only 2 remaining Spanish Churches - the other tower is missing from when the walled city was attacked in an 8-day siege 2) Inside one of the San Agustin. Only the rich get married here and on weekends there is a constant procession of weddings. 3) A view from the outside of Manila Cathedral.

A blurred photo of the Bay Walk. A waterfront strip that is very popular with couples and comes alive at night with restaurants and live music.

Jeepneys!!! Only in the Philippines!

Taal Volcano Photos

What an amazing trip! I loved every minute including getting soaked on the boat ride back! The scenery was breathtaking and even on the drive there was so much to see - loads of roadside shops selling fruit (mainly Pineapple and tiny bananas called Lady's Fingers), hand crafted wooden furniture from tables to swings and almost anything you can think of!

Driving through the "Fruitbowl" of the Philippines. Ever wondered how Pineapples grow?

Our first look at Taal Volcano.

The boat ride over to Taal and horseback up to the edge of the volcano. At the top there were little 'huts' set up for refreshments. The people who live and work here are very poor and will try to sell anything and if you don't want it, what about your guide?? Our guide - in the brown t-shirt - was 16yrs old. Those that wanted to sell something or begged for money were just children.

View from the top...or the edge of the volcano's crater, and in case your wondering, yes it is an active volcano. The red earth is hot and steam kept rising from it but nothing you could be burned with.

Georgiana (sweet Romanian girl on my crew)

Ahhh, lunchtime, grilled local fish, stir fried veggies, rice and a typical Filipino chicken dish i keep forgetting the name of. Hot food after being soaked to the skin from the boat ride back is perfection...the view ain't too bad either.



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