02 June 2010

A Trip in Three Phases

It's been about two weeks since I started this trip back to the homeland. And now, I still have about 20 days left.

I realized that this trip consists of three phases, and in some way or another, I have been referring to these components every now and then for the past few posts here.

The first phase was the legal aspect of things. I needed to renew my visa, and so during the first week, that was the thing that pre-occupied my schedule. I did finish that, and I got my passport back with a new sticker on it.

The second phase was self-improvement. I needed to do some shopping, in order to refurbish my wardrobe, as the last time I have done this was 3 years ago, when I went back here in 2007. Yes, I still buy my clothes here, as I find it cheap, and the quality is stellar. I just bring enough patience for the whole ordeal of shopping, and the customer service that comes with it. One example was when I had to exchange a couple of shirts I bought for a different size, and the procedure had to involve several people, taking so much time, it is so ludicrous.

The third phase is frolicking, and it officially started the other day. I went to old town Manila in Intramuros, and took pictures of structures that were here back in the days of the Spaniard conquest. It was fun, and I am glad that I finally was able to visit it (yeah, I have spent a total of 14 years here in the Philippines and yet I haven't frolicked at all). It reminds me of the tourist infrastructure that is in place in Ecuador and Peru: good enough for a developing country, yet still lagging ages behind those in Europe and the North America.

And tomorrow, the third phase will be in full swing: I will head up north and visit several mountain towns to gaze and gawk at one of out UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Oops, no. The Banaue Rice Terraces. Yeah, I think that's the one. I'll be trekking along the mountains of northern Luzon while admiring the works of the indigenous peoples. That means I will be out of the modern world (and with that, Internet) for about a week. Let's see how long I can last without itching to find an Internet cafe.

So yeah, my mountain adventure starts tomorrow. Let's just hope that the monsoon rains aren't too strong.

(The House at the corner of Calle de San Felipe, from my Bogotá, Colombia Series)


  1. Post some pictures when you will have a chance!

    My home trip used to look like that too. They usually had a purpose (visa application, university paperwork etc.). Once that was completed, I moved on to relaxing, seeing friends and have a look at the country I left almost ten years ago. I don't shop much in France though - so expensive!

  2. Zhu,

    I definitely will once I get the chance! If not the whole album, at least some highlights are in store.