Phinally – the Philippines!

I’d long dreamed of one day finally getting myself to the Philippines, and just the other week it finally came to pass…

I’ve been to other countries in the region plenty of times – with probably three dozen visits to both China and Japan, more than a dozen to Singapore, and more than once to South Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia. But for reasons beyond both my knowledge and control I’d never made it to the Philippines. I’d even planned visits to the country (many times) but each trip was eventually either postponed or cancelled – and not only due to the covid travel restrictions in 2020–2021. I’d wanted to get there to be able to check out the regional realities for myself and to get personally acquainted with our key business partners, etc.; after all, prospects in the country were (and still are) favorable: with a population of 120 million, the country is 30th in the list of economies of the world. There was also the magical natural beauty of the Philippine countryside I needed to check out, which I’d been told so often about by folks who’d already been. And now I’ve been, I can say for sure that my great expectations were not only met but exceeded! Here’s some photographic evidence:

The islands are most photogenic too:

The beaches are mostly of the coral type, so there’s not much bathing to be done at low tide; there are however plenty of sandy spots:

And assorted other natural beauty too:

The capital, Manila (the most densely populated city in the world) is a patchwork quilt of a city: disparate shapes, colors and character in general – and fairly unique as a result ->

There’s poverty:

And there are also swish modern business districts which give places like Singapore a run for their money:

But mostly… ->

Also noted was Spanish colonial heritage – practically everywhere. Curiously, we were told how the main language on some of the northern islands of the country is Spanish – not Filipino; still – English is the other official language (and there are 19 recognized regional languages!).

The Mount Mayon volcano is a beaut with its perfectly shaped cone, which reminded me of both  Mount Fuji and Kamchatka’s Kronotsky ->

It rises up and dominates the surrounding landscapes and populated areas:

The volcano regularly erupts; the last time was just last year…

Curious tourists go by quad bikes around the volcano. We did at one point consider getting up to the top of the volcano, but when we got near the cone we decided against the idea. Too darn risky. But a spot of quad biking was just the ticket! ->

The islands are simply amazing:

…As are the sunsets and dawns ->

I guess all this is to be expected from tropical coral-volcanic islands…

Caves here also cool. Unexpectedly very cool:

A few assorted pics in closing – but still just for the warm-up (yes, there’ll be more later:)…

To be continued!…

All the photos from the Philippines are here

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