08 January 2010


happy new years everyone! it's been a long 18 days in the Philippines, but i am finally home! and i must say i am incredibly relieved to be back. that vacation was not only fun and a great experience, but also exhausting and long. it's so nice to get some alone time again! i was going crazy being crowded by people every single day. the only time i got to relax by myself was in the spa at my hotel in manila.

anyway, here are some photos from my adventure! i am actually half filipino, so it was a great experience again to take in my culture, and a nice visit back home for my mom and her relatives. i tried some local food i never had before and learned to speak some of the language. hope you guys enjoy the photos, i warn you though, there's a lot!

the last time i visited the Philippines was in 2005. back then, i got to hang out with my good friend Anton who lives in the Philippines, but he now lives in Singapore, so it was too bad i did not get to see a familiar face in this foreign land. none the less, i had a great time!

the good: cheap food and shopping. there's this store there called Bench which i absolutely fell in love with! a bit obsessed, if i may say so. i literally bought enough to change my entire underwear wardrobe. Bench/body has THE best underwear ever, hahaha!

the bad: pollution and cleanliness is a problem there. i had a hard time breathing in the Philippines, so it only promotes one of my new years resolutions to quit smoking. there was rivers filled with trash as if it was a waste dump, and some of the living conditions nearly broke my heart. i felt helpless in this place where the problems are so much bigger than you are. i tried to give out my money to the homeless and children as much as i could, i felt that's the least i could do :-/

the interesting: their obsession to have white skin. everywhere you went and looked, there were countless products and advertisements to whiten your skin! all the famous people: tv personalities, singers, models, etc. had very fair skin. i believe they equate light skin with wealth, beauty and a higher economic status. i'm not saying it's a bad thing because i understand their standards are different, but it's such a strong contrast with the people here in Hawaii because everyone likes to be tan as it gives us a 'healthier glow'. haha

i also found there are so much better looking Filipinos IN the Philippines than here in Hawaii! because of the immigration and plantation days, there is a very diverse population of Asians here in Hawaii. and Filipinos is a good percent of that. but the Filipinos here look sooo different than the ones in the Philippines. i guess that whitening cream really does make a difference!

the long 9-10 hour plane ride to and from the Philippines was unbearable. we stayed in Manila a couple days, then took a charter bus to the province (which was another 8 hours), and stayed in my moms family house in a town called Cabaroan in the historic city of Vigan, Iloco Sur. after spending a good time there, we went back to Manila (another 9 hour bus ride) and stayed in Global City where my parents previously purchased a mini condo in one of the high rise towers that will be finished hopefully later this year.

after an eventful 18 days in the Philippines, i take home great memories and valuable relationships i've made with distant relatives and new faces i've become friends with. not to mention great shopping i did when i was there :-)

anyway, it's nice to be home. i've missed you all
(ps. hope you enjoy the new song too, by Haruka Nakamura - "Arne")


Sun said...

glad to have you back! The photos are nice, even the public toilet :) what camera did you use? The place is kinda similar with here, haha, and about the pollution and cleanliness too :p

Rina said...

okaeri nasai! those are great pictures, I feel so warm looking at them. This makes me want to visit my distant relatives in South America. :)

marie said...

nice song and great photos!
I always miss being alone when there's people around constantly. but then it's fun to have people with you when you're traveling.
it's nice to connect with our heritage, opens up a new dimension in us, you can discover a lot about yourself.

ifzan ibrahim said...

oh wow awesome photos!
that kitten is so cute.

the_frockette said...

Your photos are beautiful. I'm half filipino, too. Born in Manila but left soon after. I haven't been back in SO long. So it's nice to see a bit of it through your pictures.

love "Arne" as well. What a great song...

the_frockette said...
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the_frockette said...
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\@-@/ said...

wow, this was nice. filipino families are the warmest to the point of suffocating! haha... they will make you do crazy things, like ride a buffalo, or catch a flying chicken.


Hila said...

Those are wonderful photos! Welcome back :)
I have to say though, this fascination with white skin is a bit disturbing.

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hiki said...

it looks like such a fun holiday! it's wonderful to see the images of philipines i don't think i've seen it so much. the food looks devine!

letopho said...

love this!

Make it Easy said...

thank you all so much! im glad you liked the photos! its good to be home :-)

very nice point. you really do get to discover a lot about yourself when you immerse yourself in your native culture. its a beautiful experience!

haha so true. my mom literally forces people to eat sometimes when they come over to my house!

laura tj said...

glad to see you back, i miss your posts!! this post puts a smile on my face, philippines sounds so much alike to my home country indonesia, the fact about pollution, the heat, everything is so cheap and how ppl are obsessed with getting their skin whitened lol! i like the new song too, cheers to 2010 :)

ii-ne-kore said...

how wonderful to see your photos of the philliipnes - thanks so much for sharing them and your reflections on going back - it is really interesting!


love the photos you took in Ilocos. great to hear you had a blast .

Malin said...

Wonderful photos and I'm glad you're back!

PJ said...

great pictures! looks like you had a great time in the Philippines. good to know that you still keep in touch with that part of yourself.


Ashima said...

Thanks for sharing about the Philippines. Your take on the country is right on and fair. I'm from there but like many millions of people now live elsewhere and it's hard to describe sometimes the beauty and squalor of a place so important to me. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

adorable kitten (: I don't see why there is a obsession with fair skin. Tanned skin is really nice ^^. Lovely pictures.

world of sekimachihato said...

hi make it easy-san! ww
i've jumped to your blog from hiki's page.
love your shots of the philippines!
there are some cheap(ish) flights from hong kong (where i am) so i should really get down there one of these days.

Luuworld said...

nice pics! thanks for sharing. looks like you had a wonderful trip :-D

danica said...

sounds like an amazing trip! you have given a really great insight into the philippines. i went to cebu when i was about 12 for a few days and was saddened by the poverty as well.

love the new song too!

simone on the internet said...

Really nice photos!
And such an interesting post! In Denmark most people want a tan as well (although it's really difficult getting one here), so i hadn't really thought about the fact that white skin is so highly regarded in some other countries. Interesting!

Your post really makes me want to travel!

bon said...

i enjoy reading your blog. cheers! i'm a filipino as well and i thank you for introducing haruka nakamura and the tokyo connection to me. keep it up!

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