May 2001



Arriving in Manila a week ago, I went from the airport to the bus station to Subic Bay, where I went diving the next day. I had never been wreck diving, so it was a cool experience for me. I dived an American landing craft(LCU) that we sank ourselves to prevent capture by the Japanese, and a Spanish warship that we sunk in 1898. Both were pretty cool.

Blew through the American hill station of Bagio (one night) on the way to the small town (one phone) of Sagata, known for it's mountain scenery, headhunters (retired), customs such as hanging coffins off cliffs, caves, and great hiking in general.

Took several 'jeepney' rides to get to the 'eighth wonder of the world', the 2000 year old rice terraces around Banaue and Bataad (no phones). Did a ton more hiking there and stayed overnight in a small village in the boonies.

'Jeepneys' are cool - traditionally they are old american jeeps that have two planks in the back to use as passenger benches. Now they are manufactured locally. You can ride on the roof (they are covered), as most of the backpackers like to do. On my way to Bataad, I was putting on some sunblock on the roof of a jeepney when I dumped it off the side, an unrecoverable loss (counldn't buy it anywhere), which resulted in me baking bright red (complete with the 'coon eyes) over the next couple of days.

A brutal 10 hour bus ride back to Manila and I'm in the middle of this city of 10x10^6. I had originally planned to indulge in all things western until I leave tomorrow, but have been inspired by lonely planet to strike out into the street markets and parks. I started my morning with a 12oz cup of Starbucks (give me your finest cup of cheap coffee!) when I began to reflect upon the meaning of my current read - 'High Fidelity' by Nick Hornsby. Not about the book, but why is my sister giving me books about 30something year old losers (the book calls them 'wasters', I love the term)?

After wandering the streets of Manila for the rest of today, I plan to investigate the extensive nightlife surrounding my hotel. Since I recently completed the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy (took two vacations), I will surely include 'the Hobbit House', which is supposed to be a long running favorite run by a cooperative of dwarfs!


Diagram of the two wrecks I dived in Subic Bay.
The hanging coffins of Sagata.
My new most intimate friends in Sagata. What were their names?
The 2000 year old rice terraces of Battad.
Jeepneys in Manila.

Created: May 8, 2001
Maintainer: Keir Paesel