Jeepneys, red-hot-chili ice cream, and Philippine roadside scenes.

In the last few posts we’ve seen plenty of Philippine natural beauty. Now we turn our attention to the anthropology of the country: time to walk take a ride around the streets of the small city of Legazpi, which sits at the foot of Mayon volcano…

The first thing that really grabs the attention is the jeepney – the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines and the calling card for Philippine culture and art (they’re often gaudily painted/decorated) ->

Jeepneys have traditionally been constructed out of old vehicle parts and assorted other items like sheet metal ->

They’ve neither windows nor doors, with folks getting on/off through an opening at the back ->

Uniquely Philippine public transportation! ->

Also in practically everywhere on the roads – the inevitable mopeds and tuk-tuks ->

…Albeit seemingly different modifications than, say, those you see on the roads of India or Thailand ->

Jaywalking here is the rule, but the jaywalkers have to be vigilant: cars don’t slow down for, or give way to anyone!

The backdrop to all this hustle and bustle is the calm yet dominating Mayon volcano – puffing away as ever ->

As per what is already a tradition, a few smartphone pics of NK’s ->

“New Arrival” or “Super Sale” – I’m torn between the two ) ->

More tuk-tuks ->

Buildings come in all different shapes, sizes and wallet-fatness ->

Check out the contrasts:

It sure was hot on this day, so ice cream was sought – and found; only – it was chili-pepper flavored (“sili ice cream” [sic])! That sure was a first ->

Apparently there’s a whole range of chili-pepper-flavored ice cream – with differing degrees of spiciness. We were bought the mildest, but I wouldn’t have minded trying stronger variants…

Not long after our ice creams it was time to be heading back to our hotel, which was a good 40km away…

The further we drove from the city, the poorer the standard of living became – as indicated by the ramshackly homes with their front doors opening right onto the road. The jaywalking was just as ubiquitous as in the inner-city, and a common sight was folks sipping away on some kinda drink or eating ice cream while watching the traffic go by – like the girl in the next pic in the black top (who, incidentally, gave me a beaming smile when she saw I was taking photos from the front passenger seat :) ->

Kids play by the roadside ->

The road leaves the villages and starts winding through jungle ->

Curiously this here “10T” sign was the first I’d seen all day! Indeed, signs – as rare as hen’s teeth…

We arrive at our hotel:

So no bathing in the sea, then? :( ->

A very nice hotel it was too (and posh: it even had its own heli-pad).

And that was that – Mayon and environs: done. Next up – back to Manila for a few very intense business days…

The rest of the photos from the Philippines are here.

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