Why not celebrate Christmas in an airport with a bountiful holiday feast?
It was a long journey to reach the Philippines...too much transportation and waiting to describe...and a horrible Christmas evening spent in the tiny international terminal of Busan's airport...while I was coming down with the flu. Cebu could NOT come quick enough
Looks like a rock- it's not. A delicious rice cake with shredded coconut inside, grilled on the street. Like a beef patty...except not.
Two months later, still dreaming of the Philippines...
Beautiful scenery, beautiful people...a kilo of mangoes for under $2
Colors, colors, colors...in trees and flowers, jeepneys and market stalls
A haircut for $3, a sparkling sea, and roosters roaming the streets
Papayas and pineapple for breakfast...pork in its every form
Open-air schools with courtyards, Catholic churches and cathedrals
Smiling faces in overcrowded cars, truck beds packed and stacked with passengers,
No GPS inside to direct them...no children in the backseats with eyes and thumbs glued to their cell phones...
A constant babble of Tagalog's local tongue, ongoing dialogue of horns and brakes and motors
Blue skies, sandals, and bliss.
I was fortunate enough to see the Philippines through the locals...Maria's tito and tita (aunt and uncle) and some of their wonderful and incredibly generous family friends. These Cebuanos are some of the kindest people I've ever met...so willing to engage in conversation, to ensure the most genuine experience of the city and its people, to make us feel welcome and like family. We were shuttled around by Maria's tito in his old blue truck, sometimes sitting out in the truck bed as he drove, enjoying the commotion that our whiter skin causes on the crowded streets around us. Scooters and jeepneys and bicycles whizzing around us, shouting out hellos, so close we could have reached out to pluck a mango from the passing trucks. We spent New Years' Eve with a wonderful Cebuano family...invited and welcomed into one oftheir beautiful homes to share in a feast with all their family...and then later to their hilltop mansion overlooking all the city, taking in a spectacular show of fireworks across the distant skyline at midnight. Amazing people!
Only one of the 7,000 + islands...and just a small sampling of Philippine culture...and only a handful of beaches visited...but enough kindness and generosity to stay with me for a lifetime...