Las Islas Pilipinas (Islands of the Philippines Online)
It's More Fun In The Philippines
A view from my window seat on my last trip to the Philippines, showing our plane's wingtip, the curvature of the earth and clouds over the Pacific Ocean
Let The Journey Begin
As the video says...
"We’re a country named after a Spanish King to which an American General vowed to return or as someone described out history “300 years in convent and 50 years in Hollywood”.
We’re made up of 7,107 big ,small, inhabited, tranquil, rocky, sandy, mountainous, foresty, elevated, underwater islands.
And one of them just for picnics...
We call them...
But you can call us the Philippines.
You can choose from Black sand, brown sand, gray sand, white sand, pink sand.
The world's no.1 tropical beach is only an hour from Manila. We have the most species in the least space of anywhere in the planet. Out of the world's 500 coral species, more than 400 are here, along with 12,000 plant species, 201 mammal species, 581 bird species, plus the sea cow, whale shark, mouse deer and an eagle that eats monkeys.
We speak over 176 local languages. But we love splaying around with English. We love food and we love being hospitable.
The Filipino word for "Hello" is "Have you eaten?". Our waiters love to sing. But they leave the dancing to our policemen or flight attendants.
The world's most perfect cone isn't found in an ice cream shop but in the shape of a volcano. Our chocolate hills are limestone.
Here a party is called a fiesta. We have rice fiestas, flower fiestas, giant fiestas, mask fiestas. We have one every day of the year and everyone's invited.
We have a boxer called Pacman, an actor named Dingdong,...and a fish called Maya-maya.
You could say we have a sense of humor. People say we're the warmest place on earth. Because everyone, absolutely everyone knows how to smile and have fun.
It's more fun in the Philippines."
Horse drawn carriages in Manila (1890s)
The Philippines was once (and still is) a bunch of islands (thousands of them) inhabited by locals who co-existed with other inhabitants and the occasional trader. Each small group of people were governed by one leader and they had a simple structure. They did have a language, a religion and a system of writing and all if not most could read and write.
This was the islands when the first Europeans came in 1521. This is also where the great explorer Ferdinand Magellan met his untimely death at the hands and the natives. But sure enough, the conquistadores came back to the islands, repeatedly and the islands finally became a Spanish colony from the 1570s, up to the late 1890s.
For three hundred years the Philippines flourished with the galleon trade where the East (Chinese and other goods) met the West (the Americas through Acapulco and Europe through Spain).
In the 1700s the British captured briefly the capital city of Manila, only to be taken back by Spain. But in the late 1800s (early 1900s) the Americans succeeded in taking over most of the country for good. The Japanese took over in World War II. And yes, General Douglas MacArthur did "return" to reclaim the Philippines for America and took charge a few more month when finally the Republic of the Philippines became sovereign in 1946.
Jeepneys and a tricycle in Manila (1980s)
This is where I was born, grew up, went to school in, worked, opened a business (and a few more), where I got married in, where I left from and where I come back to from time to time.
As it is, I may be physically 7,000 miles away from the Philippines, across the vast pacific ocean. But my heart and some times my mind is still there.
I am now an American citizen, my whole family are American citizens. My son was born in the USA and we pledge allegiance to the flag of our new home. But everything else about us are Filipinos.
As the song goes, Manila, I keep coming back to Manila. I do, physically and more often mentally and psychologically. And even though in the last ten years, I have only been back three times, I still am as Filipino as they come -- or so I think.
Video: Manila, Manila, I keep coming back to Manila (Performed by Hotdog)
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