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My First Experience Of The Philippines.

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Classic Dry

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What do you think ? Great title eh. Yep, it's a crowd puller all right.

Ok, well you have to remember that I only spent two weeks in the Philippines and a couple of days it rained, so I can't tell you much about the place per se.

So what you're getting is a teeny weeny glimpse through my eyes.

I didn't know much about the Phils but I did want to go and have a look. I thought it might be nice to keep a base here in Australia when I retire, but spend lots of time somewhere in South East Asia where the living is, well I don't know .............different.

I bought a bag I could roller or backpack and loaded it with about 12 kilos of gear, mostly shorts and short sleeved shirts. (remember that, I'm coming back to it later) I took a small backpack to carry on, with hardly anything in it. I have a light pair of zip-off cargo pants, which I think are great for travelling.

Ok, the Philippines (finally)

Leaving the airport building in Cebu was like walking into an oven. Very hot and very humid.

There was a friendly guy there all ready to usher me into a waiting taxi. I guess he was there in case I couldn't signal the driver myself or lift my 12 kilo bag into the boot ....mmm.......thoughtful.

Shortly (I mean very shortly) before I left for my 2 weeks in the Phils, I discovered I had an aquaintance from 25 years before who was living there already.

I contacted him and he said he would meet me at a hotel he recommended in Cebu.

That night he took me out to a few (what he called) girlie bars ......mmm......interesting. Those girls aren't shy. We returned to the hotel a little the worse for wear.... but alone.

We left for his place the following day. This was a surprise because I thought he would be on his way,

leaving me to scout the place myself.

He has a large 2 storey house on a very large block in a rural area. There were enough people around, including his wife of 20 years, to populate a small hamlet.

My aquaintance was now a friend, and a more laid-back, generous, easy going guy you could never wish to meet.

Now I have to come clean here and tell you that I had been talking to a lady I met on an internet dating site.

She was over 35yrs, had lived for a while in Europe and seemed very sensible.

She was as wary of encouraging me, as I was of her, which I took to be a good sign.

I left my new friends place to meet her in the town/city where she lived, and booked in to a hotel she recommended.

This was a posh place which was charging me 2500p a night and seemed to have more liveried flunkeys than guests. Very nice but not really my thang.

(I guess I'm not a caviar and canapes type. More a meat pie and chips kind of bloke.)

We met and she showed me some of the sights over the next couple of days.

She rented a car and driver a couple of times to take us to some popular sightseeing places. It was comfortable and relaxing and cost about 3000p for about

4 hours. (I lost track of time)

I learned (but not soon enough) that, while I am wary because I am careful, she is wary because she is paranoid, and I have to consider everything I say to her

in case there's something she could interpret as insulting, offensive or that might indicate that I would take advantage of her in some dastardly way given half the chance.

She spends a few hours a day with me, arriving about 1pm and leaving about 7pm. A couple of days she cancells due to bad weather or headache.

I move out of the posh place and find another 5 minutes walk away lacking the formality but being very, very friendly and having every thing I need for 1000p

a night.

My lady friend is not happy because I didn't go with her recommendation and she thinks I moved because I couldn't afford the posh place, not that she said as much, but by now I feel I'm getting to know how she thinks. (later she confirmed that she thought I was watching my budget)

Funny really because I took heaps of cash (way too much) and would have been happy to spend it all on enjoying ourselves. In truth there wasn't much to spend it on. A few meals in nice places, taxis, cinema, massage and manicure.

She did help me check out a couple of places, the like of which I might be expected to live sometime in the future.

One was an apartment (I would call it a townhouse) It was at the end of a terrace of 4. Brand new, 2 storey, 2 bathroom, secure car parking but no yard to speak of. 10000p per month with 1 yrs lease. I could live there.

Next was a three bedroom house, single storey, 2 bathrooms, small yard, about 15 yrs old. 12000p per month no lease required. I could live there too.

I've lived alone in Australia for a good few years now and this place is not without risks. There are reports of home invasions frequently. Wherever I lived I would have to make as secure as possible but gated communities just don't appeal to me.

Next day my female friend phoned me to say she had a headache and couldn't come.

That's it !!!! I checked out and returned to Fred's place. ( you remember my new friend Fred?)

I left from the bus station in an 8 seater bus. The 12 of us weren't too uncomfortable. He told me which village to get off and said I should ask the motorbike taxis

on the street corner to bring me. " One of them will know where I live" Sure one did.

I converted my roller bag to a backpack and we set off. Really I should have lowered the straps on the backpack so that it rested on whatever was behind me.

As it was, its weight nearly pulled me off the bike a couple of times as we swerved to miss pot holes on the rutted road, but I managed to stay on and we were soon within the welcome sight of Fred's gate.

To be continued......

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