Philippines TripDecember 1999 to January 2000
I had a great time in the Philippines. I went with my brother and his Philippino girlfriend from mid-December to the first week of January, 2000. We stayed with her family there during the Christmas season.
We went to the cockfights one night. We sat on the first row and watched the blood and chicken guts fly. This experience would not be for everyone. A 2" blade was strapped to one of the feet of each rooster and the owners aggravated it to make it more aggressive. Once all of the betting was done, they were released. The fights were usually over in less than one minute. The owner of the winning rooster received the deceased one for the barbecue. We actually won 300pesos!!!
It was interesting to actually experience the culture from that perspective. You don't see that staying in a hotel. The people there are very happy and were friendly towards us.
As caucasians, we were considered exotic there and were stared at a lot. Philippinos have the impression that all westerners are wealthy. Actually, we are, when you take the exchange rate into consideration. The rate was 40 pesos for each US dollar. Beer=20p, hotel rooms and resorts=400p to 800p, 3 hour high-speed boat ride=300p, good meal=50p you get the idea. It's very cheap to stay there, but the plane fare is expensive.
New Years eve was very loud. We were in Dumaguete City on Negros Island and bought many fireworks. There were so many for sale on the streets, you would not believe it. Fireworks are not made very well there. We saw many young people with bandages on their hands and rockets flying into crowds.
One was Apo Island, a small island of only 1000 people. There is no power there except for a generator that runs from 6pm to 11pm every day. The marine sanctuary there had amazing snorkeling.
Another Island that we went to was Siquihor. A 1 hour ride on a high speed ferry from Dumaguete.
On Siquihor, we met 3 other tourists from Germany who wanted to go see a voodoo guy that was mentioned in our travel book. Sharing a ride in the back of a truck, we went to the mountain where he lived. A young boy we met along the road new of him and lead us there. Once there we watched him try to heal one of the girls that we were with. He said that she had voodoo done to her by someone else which made her have the constant headaches she was complaining about. We watched him perform a ritual on her with smoke and oils made of snakes and frogs. It was very interesting but I'm not sure if her headaches were cured.
Don't expect luxury on these remote Islands it's a pretty rough place. Most people's homes don't have running water and most hotels and resorts that we stayed at did not even have hot water.
This is just a brief overview of some of my trip. I was there for 3 weeks in total and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for an eye opening experience.