Here’s another post by a guest blogger. It is the personal account of Ron Scott, my brother-in-law, of his visit to the Philippines particularly in Ilocos. He was amazed by the culture of the Ilocanos especially when he came to know how the “rice” is produced from the time the grains are sowed until it’s milled. He did not look for a five-star comfort; he ate what was served on the table; and more than the place, he enjoyed the people.Read on…
“In November of 2004, I had the pleasure of visiting the Philippines for the first time. Coming from Canada to see such a beautiful country is an experience I will never forget.
Our drive from Manila to my wife’s family home in Ilocos Norte was a real eye opener to me. The countryside was amazing and the roadside shops are so magical the way they narrow the road!
(roadside shop for “rattan” products in La Union)
(roadside shop for wood carvings and furniture in La Union)
The shopkeeper are ever smiling and courteous and gives out the vibe of down home spirit. And oh well, where else in the world you see a lady washing her little pig on a leash by the roadside! Her prized pet—and eventually may end up on the table for Sunday dinner!
Or a farmer sitting on a handmade sled pulled by a cow. Priceless! Time isn’t so urgent to him it seemed.
The efficient “jeep” and tricycles that form part as a very necessary mode of transportation system adds a touch. I got in one of the tricycles-being a rather big white man, getting in is a struggle but getting out took time and dexterity! The specially decorated jeepneys were a treat to the eyes and the repetitive names are like music to the ears – like, Bong Bong; Jon Jon; Mac Mac; Bing Bing, etc. The names painted on the tricycles are very western and the countries is a whole array of nations. I later learned that the family who owns such has a family member in that country.
(the “jeep” or “oner” to Ilocanos)
The locals were very interesting–they amused me. Everybody called me “Joe”. A tricycle driver tried to sell me a shirt (just to find out later that he’s just practicing his English!). Teenagers said a lot of “Hey Joe, what’s up!” but some children ran away from me.
Most heartwarming was seeing the farmers in the rice paddies, up to their knee in mud, with cow pulling a single plow. Such hard, manual work. I so much appreciated how hard working they are. I was so proud to shake their hands, but felt so welcomed when I felt they received me warmly.
My wife and her family showed me old majestic churches which is far different from where I’ve been.
The amazingly vibrant business center in Makati amazed me–makes most of the cities in the world in which I have traveled runners up.
(Insular Life and Philamlife Bldgs.)
The wonderful history of old Manila which shows the pride of Philippine heritage and the valiant struggles that they have to endure to be free–how can you not love the Filipinos!
Two weeks was too short a time to truly see the scope of the Philippines and truly appreciate the resilience of its people. My world has widened yet even more when I experienced the Philippines.”
Postscript: I was told that Ron’s travel album to the Philippines/Ilocos is one of the best among his travels. The visit was short but the memories live on forever…