Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Kamagong Journals Part Eighteen: Wrapping It All Up

This post contains the last of the pictures from my trip to the Philippines in which they tell a story that I thought about or found interesting. After today, it is back to pulling out posts and ideas from the world around me.

Filipinos are big on signs but also a poster child for why much of the U.S. has rules on what type of signs and where you can post them. In the Philippines there appears to be no such rules or at least none that are enforced. As a result there are signs everywhere, including this misspelled sign. There were also people smoking all around with no apparent consequences to their actions.

In past trips to the Philippines I had surmised that there were little in the way of road signs but on this trip I found out that I was wrong. They were there but mostly hidden from view. I saw many directional signs forming the side of some shack built near an intersection and using the sign as a wall of their building. Other times the signs were used as drying racks for crops or clothes. Still other times they were just behind planted vegetation. It makes getting around difficult if you aren't local. However if you need to stop and ask directions, people are more than glad to help you out.

At a road side pull off, I took this picture of a traditional nipa hut that had been put here as an attraction. Most of the time they are found in the rice paddies and were where families tending the fields traditionally lived. It kept them off the ground and dry and probably helped to catch a nice evening breeze to cool off.

While on our way back from the our northern beach vacation, we stopped in Batac City for some lunch and to visit the museum and mausoleum of Ferdinand Marcos, former president of the Philippines. The museum was very tabloidish in nature. Almost a fourth of the museum was dedicated to his eleven day romance of his future wife Imelda Marcos. The rest were obviously displays put up by his family meant to create a hero out of him. There was not a single display about the end of his presidency and being chased out of the country by his own people. 

Included in his tour was seeing his body preserved in an air-conditioned mausoleum next door. No pictures were allowed but if you do a google search, many can be found online. Nothing was presented or said about why he is being preserved for display but after I got back, a quick search showed that his body is actually in limbo. His wife Imelda (of the thousands of shoes fame) wants him buried in a cemetery reserved for country heroes in Manila and thus far the country has denied her.

This is a picture of a colorful Jeepney that pulled up to the curb. The Jeepney is the main form of transportation in the mountain city of Baguio but this one was a private one that could be rented out. I'm guessing the people renting it were at the nearby pony and horse ride attraction which my kids were partaking of while I was out by the road looking for pictures to take.

If there were a national sport in the Philippines and I'm guessing there isn't due to the country being too poor to spend money playing a sport, it would be basketball. I saw many homemade basketball setups like the one above throughout my journey. In the slums of Manila, I saw many impromptu courts set up for the kids to play with to pass the time away in the middle of roads. If a vehicle came, the kids shuffled off the court and the drivers drove around the hoops and then it was game on again.

I hope everyone enjoyed this series of posts on my trip to the Philippines. It is a country that fascinates me and which I hope to keep on visiting again as long as I'm able. It has many faults, just like my own country, and it has many beautiful things, just like my own country. For the first time, this trip felt like returning home for me. Before I have always felt like I was visiting but this time I felt like I was returning to a childhood home that I lived in for many years. It was a good feeling.


warren said...

I went to the World's Fair in 1982 and so much of it was a blur as I was young. Still, the one thing I remember vividly is the pavilion for the Philippines. They had several jeepneys decorated amazingly there. I can't imagine seeing them i action in real life...they were just so beautiful to me!

Ed said...

Warren - They are beautiful. I have spent many a minute thinking what if the cabs of say New York City did the same?

Anonymous said...

I knew quite a few people in London who thought Marcos was quite a hero. They felt he was their man and while they couldn't see any particular good he did them. They certainly felt it when Aquino took over.

Ed said...

Vince - My in-law family didn't seem to worked up one way or another about Marcos. A lot of them weren't even old enough to remember much. The rest are pretty Americanized with their travels and are more free thinkers. I really haven't asked too many people who haven't done a lot of traveling what their thoughts on Marcos are. Perhaps my next trip.

ErinFromIowa said...

I enjoyed reading this posting series. I learned quite a bit!

Anonymous said...

Ahh they wouldn't, not 30 years out. And really you'd need to be family to ignore the graft he preserved in the workings of the State.
On just the little bit of reading I've been doing to keep up with you on this series. It would seem the US took over the levers abandoned by Spain. Both which fostered a clientelism which allowed them a degree of control far far Faaar in excess to the numbers of boots on the ground. But which also allowed them to switch between factions at will. Marcos, simply worked within that system. His problem was not seeing the writing on the wall with Cuba. But for Cuba of course it's very unlikely he or Panama system could've survived beyond the 60s. They would simply have had to adjust to new realities.