S: The Philippines 2008
BC: The End
FC: The Philippines February 2008 The Adventure of a Lifetime
2: Philippines The Adventure of a Lifetime I was helping a friend of mine build a hay barn, and in our conversations he told me about the travels around the world that he has been making, and the wonderful people that he has met. He had been seeing a woman in the Philippines for about six years, and was going to get married to her. He invited me to go with him to pick her up, and to meet some of the other friends in that area that he knew. I love to travel, and love to meet new people, so I told him that I would enjoy going with him! He introduced me to several of his friends through the Internet, and then also showed me a site where I could meet some people of my own choice. I spent months chatting with different people, and picked out several that I thought were pretty neat people, and planned to meet them when I went to the Philippines with Tom. Just before the trip, Tom found out that there were complications with his Fiancee Visa, and he decided to cancel the trip. I had already made all of my arrangements, and had promised these people that I was going to visit them, so I was not sure what to do! I finally decided that I would go on the trip alone. What an adventure that turned out to be!
3: Randy Montgomery | CHINA | China I flew to Los Angeles, and had to spend the night there. The next morning I flew to Hawaii, and then to Guangzhou China. From Guangzhou I was to fly to Xiamen China. No big deal! Right? As I got off of the plane in Guangzhou, I was pulled to a security area because I had no Visa to stay in China. I explained that I was not staying in China, and they told me that if I had no Visa I could not fly to two cities in China. They stood guard on me with guns for over two hours, and would not tell me what was going on! I told them that I needed to call Delta Airlines to get this mess fixed, but I was not allowed any calls or communications. Finally after several hours the guard took a credit card from my wallet, and told me that he would return. He came back later with a ticket to Hong Kong, and told me where to catch the plane. I asked about my luggage, so he arranged for that, and told me to take the luggage directly to the plane. When I got to the plane they told me to just get on, and that they would take care of my luggage. Yeah, right....
4: Hong Kong | Hong Kong Well, I do make it to Hong Kong, but of course my luggage does not. I spend quite a bit of time trying desperately to find my luggage, but finally decide that there is no hope, and that I must move on in life without it. I now have to figure out how to get to the Philippines! I stand in line at each airline counter for about an hour, only to find out that they have no flights going to Manila that day. After five or six times in line, I finally find an airline that has a flight going to Manila, and I get a ticket. | Randy Montgomery | Randy Montgomery
5: Manila Finally something good actually happens! I sit next to Anna on the flight from Hong Kong to Manila. She has a small business in which she travels to Hong Kong frequently, and she lives in Manila. She agrees to help me with my luggage issue in Manila, and I am so thankful! They would not even talk to me. She told the airline where I was staying, and we were also able to contact Cara, who I was meeting in Manila, so they said that they would call Cara if they were able to get any information about my luggage.
6: Cara was actually one of Tom's friends, and is a member of the Mormon Church. She met me at the airport, and we took a taxi to the Hotel that I would be staying in. She then took me to a shopping mall, and I bought a few clothes to get by on. The blue shirt above was one of my first purchases in the Philippines! I was expecting the Philippines to be a lot like Japan, but it is actually much more like going to Mexico. The people are pretty poor, and very few have a car. Very wonderful people though! The next day Cara took me to the Island of Corregidor. What a fascinating place! Oh! My luggage did show up three days later! What a miracle!
7: Corregidor Island
8: Corregidor Island is a lofty island located at the entrance of Manila Bay in southwestern part of Luzon Island in the Philippines. Due to this location, Corregidor was fortified with several coastal artillery and ammunition magazines to defend the entrance of Manila Bay and the City of Manila, from attacks by enemy warships in the event of war. Located 48 kilometres (30 mi) inland, Manila has been the largest city and the most important seaport in the Philippines for centuries—from the colonial rule of Spain, the United States, and Japan and after the establishment of the Republic of the Philippines in 1946. During World War II, Corregidor played an important role during the invasion and liberation of the Philippines from Japanese forces. Heavily bombarded in the latter part of the war, the ruins left on the island serves as a military memorial to several American, Filipino and Japanese soldiers who served or lost their lives on the island. Corregidor is one of the important historic and tourist site in the country. | Corregidor Island
9: February 1, 2008
11: Corregidor Island | 2-1-2008 | Munitions Bunker
12: Corregidor Military Barracks
14: Makati Fire Station / Manila | 2-2-2008
15: The Manila Philippines Temple is the 29th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. | 2-2-2008
16: Manila Zoo 2-2-2008
20: Manila Zoo
24: Fort Santiago
25: A few pictures of the condition of my hotel room. Not quite what we are used to in the USA...
26: The Mall of Asia 4th largest mall in the world. I bought my Princess Bowling ball here!
27: Mati Ok, here is another learning experience in life! Tom had told me that I needed to stay away from Mindanao because it is not safe for Americans to be there, so while I was meeting people in the Philippines, I made sure that I didn't chat with anybody from Mindanao. Easy! Well, ends up that Mindanao is an Island, in fact a very large Island, and there are many cities in Mindanao. Four of which I had scheduled visiting! Tom had also told me that the further South you go, the more dangerous it gets. Well, if you look at the map at the front of the book, you will see that Mati is about as far South as you can go! I had arranged with Mae to meet me at the airport in Davao. When I planned this trip I just figured that it is a small country, and that going to the airport was no big deal for the people that live there! Mae did meet me at the airport in Davao, and only then did I find out that she had to rent a car from a friend, and drive over two hours to get to the airport! I have no idea what I would have done had she not been there... Scary thought...
28: Davao 2-4-2008
29: Mindanao | Mindanao is the second largest and easternmost island in the Philippines. The island of Mindanao is called The Land of Promise. Mindanao is the only area of the Philippines with a significant Muslim presence. A guerrilla war is ongoing on the islands. In addition, the crime rate on the island is among the highest in the country.
30: Since it was fairly late when I arrived in Davao, we stayed the night there after going to a beautiful park. The next morning we went on a boat to Paradise Island. The water is so clear that you can see the fish swimming. And what beautiful flowers and plants! Remember, this is in February... | Paradise Island
33: Mati | Mae's cousin Ida | Randy & Mae | Mae's Aunt's House She lives in California...
35: Mati Fire Station | 2-5-2008
36: I asked Mae what kind of activities there were in Mati, and we decided to go bowling! The pins were set up manually by a boy that stood on a box at the end of the alley when you were bowling, and you got three stone balls that fit in the palm of your hand to try to knock the pins down. It was actually pretty fun! The little kids were there because they just followed us everywhere we went because they do not see Americans in that part of town normally...
37: Mae's Truck | Mae's family all lives around this courtyard with a Badminton set in the center. We had some pretty fun games! | Mati is the Capital City of Davao Oriental
38: Mati Mormon Church | I went on a walk-a-bout to give Mae a break, and met these school kids. They were excited to try out their English.
39: Mae's Bar
40: Davao When I left Mati I did not want to make Mae do that long drive again, so I offered to take a bus. She dropped me off at the bus station, and I waited for my bus. When I went to get on they told me that there was no room for my luggage. They just wanted money from me, but I didn't know what to do, and was not willing to pay money. Finally a college student came over and talked to me, and I told him the problem that I was having. He went over and talked to the bus people, and I was finally able to get on the bus to Davao. I was scheduled to meet Allen in Davao. | Allen works in a food court at a college from 7 AM to 9 PM six days a week. She makes $3 a week. We were able to do Karaoke with her friends after work, and then have dinner, and that was about all I got to see of her. Very sweet girl.
41: Davao 2-7-2008 | Allen
42: I left Davao on another bus and headed out to Cagayan De Oro. These are a few pictures of the scenery from the bus. I also read a newspaper in English while I was on the bus. It said that the US military was activly fighting Abu Sayyaf in Zamboanga. That was to be my next stop after Cagayan De Oro...
43: Abu Sayyaf is one of several military Islamist separatist groups based in and around the southern Philippines, in Bangsamoro (Jolo, Basilan and Zamboanga) where for almost 30 years various Muslim groups have been engaged in an insurgency for an independent province in the country. The name of the group is derived from the Arabic , abu ("father of") and sayyaf ("Swordsmith"). The group calls itself "Al-Harakat Al-Islamiyya" or the "Islamic Movement". Since its inception in the early 1990s, the group has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in what they describe as their fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines. | Abu Sayyaf
44: Cagayan De Oro Bing Oh and her Body Guards | The boys are actually relatives or friends, and live with Bing in "The Cage". A small wooden hut.
45: School Bing teaches at | Bing is an Elementary School Teacher She makes $5 a day, and has her own truck thing.
46: A flat tire in the Cemetery
47: This is a Cemetery for the Rich and Famous...
48: Make that TWO flat tires.
49: I guess I learned that I am not the only person in the world to face challenges. After going to the Makahambus Cave, we went to a very elite cemetery where very rich people are buried. The bodies are buried above ground due to the high water table in the ground, and these tombs were like houses! Some of the finer houses in the country I might add. They often even had kitchenettes and bathrooms! Anyway, we toured the cemetery, and when we got back to the truck the left front tire was flat. The boys took the tire off, and went in a taxi to get the spare at the cage. Bing and I just wandered around the cemetery, and had a nice time. It started to get dark, and we were not able to contact the boys. We finally went back to the truck, and lo and behold the right front tire was flat! We arranged for the truck to stay the night with the dead people, and we got a taxi ride home. We finally hooked up with the boys, and found that the spare was also bad. The next day was Sunday, and we were not able to find a tire store open. I was to leave for Zamboanga the next morning, but due to the activity of Abu Sayyaf I was scared to death to take a bus to Zamboanga. It was scary enough already! I finally called Rose, and cancelled Zamboanga. I felt terrible since Rose was one of the sweetest people I have ever met, but I just didn't dare go, so I stayed and bought two tires for Bing. They were about $25 each. She did not have money to buy tires, so it was a blessing for her. That also gave me a few more days to spend with Bing and the Body Guards!
50: Hotel Miramar On the Beach About $25 a night!
51: Restaurant on the Ocean | Bing's Church | Bing went to School here
52: Zip Lines in Mapawa
54: Leaving Mapawa with Hitch-hickers
55: Garden of Malasag
56: Miramar Hotel
57: Dole Pineapple Plantation
58: The River Trip
59: 2-12-2008 | Rafting the Cagayan De Oro River
60: 2-12-2008 | Cagayan De Oro River
62: Bowling | First time any of the boys have ever been bowling. | 2-12-2008
63: Cagayan De Oro To Manila To Calbayag
65: Jen and her mother and her son PJ are all members of the Mormon Church. Jen met me at the airport, and then we took a motorcycle carriage on a trip around Calbayog. We went to the Mormon Church, and to a little shelter on the beach where she had a candle and some smacks. The next day we went on these buses to an Island. Another very beautiful place! Her friend Baby also went with us everywhere we went. She is the ward gossip lady. Her husband is in the Bishopric, and his name is Boy.
66: Jen Rentasida
71: Road to Tacloban
74: Tacloban On May 25, 1940, Japanese forces landed in Tacloban - signaling the beginning of their two-year occupation of Leyte. They fortified the city and improved its airfield. Since San Pedro Bay was ideal for larger vessels, the Japanese Imperial Naval Forces made Tacloban a port of call and entry. This time was considered the darkest in the history of Tacloban and the country due to the incidences of torture among civilians, including the elderly. In response, guerrilla groups operated in Leyte - the most notable of which was the group of Colonel Ruperto Kangleon. Leyte Landing Memorial ParkLeyte was the first to be liberated by the combined Filipino and American troops. General Douglas MacArthur’s assault troops landed in the Tacloban and Palo beaches (White Beach and Red Beach, respectively) and in the neighboring town of Dulag (Blue Beach) on October 20, 1944. These landings signaled the eventual victory of the Filipino and American forces and the fulfillment of MacArthur’s famous promise: "I Shall Return." Redoña Residence. Residence of the family of Margarito and Prisca Redoña where President Sergio Osmeña Sr. stayed during the liberation days of World War II.Three days later, on the 23rd, at a ceremony at the Capitol Building in Tacloban, General MacArthur accompanied by President Sergio Osmeña made Tacloban the temporary seat of the Commonwealth Government and subsequently the temporary capital of the Philippines until the complete liberation of the country. The provincial government of Leyte and the municipal government of Tacloban were re-established.
81: Coconut Juice Stand
82: Santa Niño Shrine The Santo Nino Shrine is one of the 29 Presidential rest houses that the late President Ferdinand Marcos had built. It was built for his wife Imelda Marcos, who was born in Tacloban. A chapel dominates the ground floor with the image of Santo Nino as the focal point. Elevated by 2-3 steps on the peripheral are 13 guest rooms, each with varied motifs representing the different regions of the country. On the second floor is a very spacious ballroom as well as the bed chambers of the former First Family. Inside the mansion you can find some collections of paintings of historical events in Leyte. The shrine was also a palace during the Marcos regime, with Olympic size swimming pool, state dining rooms, about 13 guest rooms and private bedrooms for Imelda, Ferdinand and their children. Imelda's bathroom was luxurious and larger than many Filipino homes. The palace if filled with antique ceramics, pottery, and collectibles. Imelda stayed there only once. The guest rooms are each a different theme, and each room had a signed picture of Ferdinand, and a diorama of Imelda performing beneficial acts. The whole house was furnished with antiques from around the world. You can find Austrian mirrors in most every room of the mansion. It also became a repository of the Marcos' collections: chandeliers from the Czech Republic, mirrors from Austria, tiles from Italy, jars from China, floor carpets from Argentina, and many others.
85: Santo Nino Shrine | February 16, 2008
87: It rained the entire time we were in Tacloban, and then I flew out of Tacloban to Manila. When Jen and Baby tried to get back home they found that the roads had flooded. The buses would drive between flooded areas, and then there were boats to get you to the next bus. What a mess! I feel bad that I missed out on that part of the adventure!
88: When I got to Manila I met Trish at the Mall of Asia, and picked up my Princess bowling ball. Richard Carpenter was at the mall signing autographs, and there were tons of people there! I only got to visit with Trish for a few hours, and then had to catch a plane home. The adventure was finally over...