I saw Astrid swat a fly dead then fail to find it after sweeping it away, continually looking, confused at the disappearance. Her sureness of having killed it faded as a new fly appeared. From my vantage point, I knew it was merely a new fly, flies being a plentiful pest. She regarded it as a failure and didn’t even bother trying to swat this new one.
I look away to see a man walking forward confidently, stick in hand, only to stumble as the dog he is leading turns abruptly to a patch of grass. The look on his face is like that of a schoolboy after having leaned too far back in their chair. Surprise is ageless
The van is a smarter move than a bus. Its drawback, especially for me and my weak system, is the lack of a bathroom. This is made up in speed and a modicum of comfort. Feet inching in all directions yet hesitating to invade the space of strangers. All couples and locals, Astrid and I the oddballs-certainly not a couple and even further from local, with our height and pale skin.
I must note: an iPod is a funny writing medium. In times like now-bags hardly accessible, the ride too shaky to write legibly with pen-it’s really the only option. How else to get out these spur of the moment thoughts?
These partially developed winding mountainous roads all seem the same to me. The only difference with the Philippines is the occasional cross shouting its devotion from a hillside. An ever-present catholic fervor from hillsides to windshields. “God bless our journey.” I surely have no objection to that prayer.
The Philippines are really a funny place. With culture and language heavily influenced to the roots by the Spanish who colonized for nearly 400 years, and later by the Americans who took over at the turn of the 20th century, installing our own language-still present-in the schools leaving a huge mark in only 40 years. Nearly every Pilipino is bilingual.
The very spirit of the Pilipino is admirable. From the defeat of Magellan to their independence and recovery after WWII. Possibly most impressive (in as few words as possible) was the peaceful upheaval of Ferdinand Marcos by the widow of Ninoy Aquino (who was assassinated after his exile in the US), Cory Aquino.
A brief of my brief history lesson from Manila. I previously passed a wild week in Boracay and now am on a cramped bus (aforementioned) on my way to El Nido. We’ll see whatever this next leg of my journey has in store.
Much love from my iPod.