The flight to the Philippines was uneventful. Long, but good. We had miles, so we upgraded to business class on Korean Air, which is the best decision we could have made. It made traveling for 20 hours much easier.
When we landed in Manila, customs was a breeze, but outside of the airport it was complete chaos. We were meeting J’s cousins and we had to search through hundreds of people waiting for family members. Luckily, the cousins were where they said they would be. We met the driver and he drove us to the house where we were staying for the night. Enter adventure #1…
On our way to the house, the police pulled the driver over because they were not wearing seat belts in the front seat (apparently seat belts aren’t common use here). The driver successfully bribed the police to let him go without a ticket. Meanwhile, jitneys and cars were going down the street in the wrong direction. My first thought was that I’m glad I’m not driving!
After a short night in Manila, we headed to Iloilo to see J’s family. We took Phillipine Airlines and our tickets said that we were to sit in row 28. When we boarded the plane, there was no row 28, so the flight attendants just sat us together in another row. I get the feeling that the general attitude here is “no problem”.
Iloilo is interesting. There is a ton of traffic and it’s a very poor part of the country – large mansions are surrounded by squatters, goats, chickens, etc. This is where J’s parents grew up, so they’ve done a good job of showing us what’s what.
Yesterday, we toured the rice mill that J’s family owns. I had no idea how rice was produced, so I was pretty excited by the whole thing. The workers gave me several empty rice bags to bring home as a souvenior. J’s cousins also owns a recycle center, so we saw plastic and cans go through that process. They only crush the plastic – once crushed, it goes to Manila to be pelletized. I have a lot of pictures of trash 🙂
Today we went to the market in the center of Iloilo. They sell everything imaginable – fish, rice, eggs, clothing, etc. J’s aunt bought fruit and rice cakes. I mainly took picutres. It was awesome.
Tomorrow we’re off to Bohol (via plane and then boat) to see the chocolate hills.
So far, everything is great — Filipinos are extremely hospitable. I’ll try to figure out a way to load some pictures soon so that I can share those to make my posts more interesting.