Joe Philippines: Geography Lesson
I thought I would give you a sense of Baguio City and it's location in this world. Above is my mother-in-law's house in the Philippines. Mostly my brother-in-law and his family live there though my mother-in-law has her own room still for when she visits and my wife and I still have a room when we visit though I'm sure one of my wife's nieces or nephew occupy it when we aren't there.
It is situated on an extremely steep mountain side though you can't tell that from satellite imagery. The road out front is actually level with what I would call as the fourth floor of the structure which contains a living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom and MIL's bedroom. Above is the attic floor or 5th floor of the house and is where our bedroom is located along with several other bedrooms and a bathroom. On the 3rd floor which is below the grade of the road, is another level that occupies the same square footage as the two floors above. It is essentially a complete house in and of itself with a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and large open area. It is sometimes used but mostly it is used as a storage area or second kitchen. On the 2nd floor, the mountain dominates now and so only the rear half of the square footage, towards the right in the photo above, is enclosed space and has always been a rental unit. To get there from street level, one must walk down a very steep and narrow set of concrete stairs in the empty lot beside the house. Below that on the 1rst floor, is an even narrower enclosed room that occupies less than a quarter of the square footage of the top floors. During my first visit there as a fiancé, I occupied this space which was a narrow unfinished concrete room/hall with a bathroom on one end. In later years, it was fixed up and rented out as well. Below that is the foundation made of old rubber tires and concrete poured to make a pad for the 5 stories above to be built on and anchor it to the mountainside. If one walks down there, you are very near the bottom of the gully and if you look straight up, you can see the balcony on the main floor some 40 feet in the air and our bedroom window 50 feet in the air. It is quite overwhelming and something hard to see in a satellite image.
In the photo above, you can still make out the house in roughly the center of the image. To the upper left, is going up the mountain. To the immediate right is the bottom of the valley to the side of which the house is attached. The group of buildings near the house with the red roof are likewise attached to the face of the opposite side of the valley and the very ridge. The roads leading to the right are actually going down the other side of the ridge. Remember, no straight or level roads in Baguio City.