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The Philippines
Michael & Dulce's trip: May 22-June 5, 2004

Click the map on the left to see where I visited.



On the road to Bicol

Our first destination was the Bicol region, where Dulce's mom is from. We took a 7-hour van ride from Manila. The beautiful scenery along the way disproved a lot of notions I had about this country.

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Sari-Sari Stores

We passed lots of small towns with sari-sari stores. These variety stores seemed to be everywhere! Whenever we bought a soda (like Royal Tru-Orange), they'd pour the drink in plastic baggies so they could keep the bottles for the deposit.


Mama and Papa's house in Bicol

Their house is near the town of Daet, one of the principal towns in Bicol. The house had all the modern conveniences: electricity, cable TV, full kitchen, running water. They just had it built a few years ago.


Mama's relatives

A group picture with Dulce's relatives. Everyone welcomed us into the house and they had a great time showing us around... even a haole like me.

The happy news is Mark (bottom) went to Virginia and got his nose cured!


Central Daet

Here is downtown Daet, a town of about 80,000. Daet is the capital of Camarines Norte.

To clarify, Bicol is the rehiyon (region), Camarines Norte is a lalawigan (province) of Bicol. The house is in the Camambugan barangay (neighborhood) of Daet.



The principal means of getting around are the tricycles: motorcycles with sidecars. It costs 5 pesos a ride (10 cents) and we've seen some where they crowd 5 people into them (some people ride on the roof).


Daet's public market

Daet had a public market, where they sold fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood. You better know how to bargain, which meant hiding me, the "rich" American whenever it was time to buy something.


Central Plaza Mall

Right next to the public market is a relatively new indoor shopping mall. Ah, air conditioning! One of the highlights was a Godzilla ride, which I almost broke trying to ride it.

(No, I didn't really ride it, but I did nearly break it trying to get the monsters to face me).



These garishly-decorated jeeps were all over the place and serve as taxis. They ply the streets and you hop in for about 5 pesos a kilometer and bang on the roof when you want to get off. The streets in Manila were especially full of these.



Here is proof I ate this Filipino delicacy. A hard-boiled egg with a slight twist: the chick is boiled inside!

I needed both of those beers after that.



We went to visit the fishing village of Mercedes, just outside of Daet. Tons of fresh fish and seafood. Mama negotiated a boat, or bangka, ride for us around the harbor.

For some reason, I was quite easy to notice out here. They all called out to me "Hey, Joe!", because they remember American soldiers (GI Joe).

On to Baguio

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