Philippines April 2008


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April in the Philippines is hot and dry, the peak of the "amihan", the northeast monsoon season.
It’s a time when schools are out the summer, and farmers are harvesting their rice crops.



Whilst up at home base in Balibago, Pampanga I rented a Nice Bike
and roamed around the tentacle-like foot hills of Mount Pinatubo formed by pyroclastic flows,
keen to see rural life and circumstance. Hot road surfaces are a popular way of drying rice crops.



I passed through Capas and visited the Capas National Shrine
the horrors of war: the Bataan Death March and the internment Camps O'Donnell
cruelty and death of American and Filipino POW’s under the Japanese occupation
hectic I tell ya!

Bataan Box Car
POW’s were transported the last stretch of the death march in these box cars
where they literally cooked alive in the April heat.

Bataan Box Car story


mama koh

We headed down to Puerto Galeria in the province of Mindoro
where the clear water was enjoyed by all
I enjoyed some fantastic scuba diving there
w0w does it get any better than this? !

the gyrlz




Malapascua - Beach

It was down to Malapascua Island in the Visayas for more diving
where I joined many who had traveled from far to see the main attraction: thresher sharks.
Although it was a beautiful setting, the aquatic life was few and far between, and my luck was down
although a day trip to the more remote and pristine Gato Island was great.

Gato Island





Malapascua Village life





Times gone bye

Just about every town in the Philippines features a Spanish-style church,
which are a way of life of the 95% of the population which are Catholics.
However the collective memory of the Spanish era is one of amnesia.
This building in Manila reminded me of the sprawl of Barcelona,
which is almost completely composed of the above style buildings
built in the late 19th Century.

But here occosional antiques like these that survived the war
are making way for high rise condos and office blocks.












Pics © Bruce Gillespie 2008