My Opinions Were Mixed At First... To Say The Least

But I Quickly Fell In Love With The Philippines!

Arriving at Manila, Jared and I had a private driver waiting at Ninoy Aquino Int'l Airport with an aircon van full of beer. Originally it was supposed to be full of ladies too, but as our host told us upon arrival, had he done that there would have been nothing left of us upon arrival... we would have been eaten alive!
(And how right he was — I was literally nearly raped by a prostitute my first night in the Philippines).

  Before reading, let me just say please don't get disillusioned and stop halfway through. This was written in 2008 while I was living in Tokyo, the biggest, cleanest, most advanced city in the world. But partying seven days a week for a couple months on end was starting to wear my buddy Jared and I out, so we decided to fly to the Phils. However we were expecting to land in somewhere that looked like Boracay, not Manila. Clearly we had not done any research, just trusted some friends from back home. Regardless, I am still a fan of "first impression" posts because they become that much funnier when you re-read them later. Especially after seven or eight more trips through the Phils LOL. What, I really used to think that?!?

 

From A Blog Post My First Day In The Phils

Although my views have changed, the text remains the same...
Capturing the essence of my initial amazement and naivety :)

Derek Freal

Oh man oh man where do I start? So we arrived in the Philippines a few days ago and there was immediate shock. The airport in Manila looked like it was built in 1950 and never upgraded. There was not so much as a single computer anywhere throughout the terminals, even at customer service. The signs announcing arrivals/departures were still those old ones with the letters you have to physically change yourself. I expected the airport to be bigger, just because Manila is the capital of the Philippines and does at least some international business, but nope — a whooping like half-dozen terminals, that is it.

Going out into the city was another shock. I tell you folks, I have never seen anything like; no other country compares, not Mexico or Costa Rica or Honduras, nowhere! The roads are a cluster-fuck of old vans, smoke-spewing buses, motorcycles that barely run, all driving crazy like. People swing from lane to lane non-stop, will even pass on the shoulder, and there are no rules like in the States: first come first serve. It is a wonder more accidents do not happen.

And when I inquired with our driver, he said "people in the Philippines drive crazy, so you just have to driver crazier!" And what a fucking crazy ride it was. We were passing people in the oncoming lane, sometimes coming so close I thought we were about to have a head-on accident (I mean literally within a centimeter or two a few times). And as if all that is not bad enough, you have people constantly crossing the street and even–believe it or not–standing in the middle of the street trying to sell bottled water or fresh fruit. Unbelievable shit, unbelievable!

As for the condition of the city, Manila is a shit-hole. Even the locals here in Subic realize Manila is the shitter of this beautiful country. We have heard nothing but horror stories from the locals. Crime is rampant. The buildings — if you can call them buildings — are sometimes just slapped together pieces of sheet metal. Clothes are strung up every which way out to dry. But they are drying in smoke that just pours off the road from all these old and shitty cars tearing up the street. People everywhere walk with handkerchiefs across their mouths to try and breathe in less of it. Along the coast there is a few tall nice-ass hotels for traveling business people, but at the entrance to each is a guard armed with a mother fucking assault rifle! An assault rifle for God's sake! They built a tollway a few years ago on the outskirts of Manila, for people heading to San Fernando, a city we had to pass through to get to Subic Bay. They have so few highways here that was called Route 3! And at each of the booths where you have to stop and pay to get on the tollway there are also guards armed with assault rifles! Like seriously I can understand them outside of hotels, but at a tollbooth? Oh, and don’t even get me started on the banks. All the banks have two armed guards at the front doors, again with assault rifles! We were lucky enough to witness a money pickup in action. The armored truck looked like those military vehicles that have eight wheels and can drive through water as well. It was like a fucking submarine on wheels actually! And there were an additional four guards armed with assault rifles covering it while the money was being brought out by more guards. Ridiculous and crazy crazy shit!

~Derek, 2008, from his old blog of drunken ramblings, Shibuya Daze.

 

Toll Roads In The Philippines

The tollways in the Philippines, despite being newer, lack all of the amenities that we Westerners are used to on tollways. Don't get me wrong however, they work fantastically and get the job done — allowing you to bypass the traffic and wandering roadside vendors and random small motorcycles and pedestrians — so you can't complain.

Filipino Tollway

So as you finally start to break free from the traffic in Manila, the road separates into 12 or 16 lanes, each complete with a toll booth. Pulling up, you realize none of the toll booths are automated, but each one staffed with a meager individual inside the booth and then secured by an armed police officer (again, armed with an assault rifle mind you) outside the booth, posted up front, nearly unmoving -- almost like those British Palace Guards. In addition, there are signs at each lane reading "TRAFFIC DISCIPLINE AREA" (i.e. drive the right way you crazy locals) and another reading "Our good roads keep your mood good". The way the locals drive, they definitely need this reminder.

Anyway, unlike every other modern toll I have been around the world, this one still operates solely on paper slips. You take your slip at the first window, then whenever you finally exit the tollway — which is, keep in mind, secured by chain and barbed-wire fence, cement walls, and armed guards the entire way, to prevent both fraud and smuggling — you submit your tollway ticket and pay the difference. Rates are based upon three different classes, depending on your weight and industry: personal/commercial.

There are occasional rest stops along the way, each complete with a couple of fast food places, public restrooms, and a gas station -- but even there an armed guard always checks your slip on the way in, before granting you parking, to ensure you are authorized to be on the tollway. I took a few pictures from the main one on the Westbound side, which you can see below, as this is the stop we hit every time on our way from Manila.

The view along the way is spectacular, almost entirely countryside except for when you pass through San Fernando and have to take the toll exchange. We always pass all sorts of rice and suger cane fields, in addition to lots of lovely mountains. The pics down below do not do enough justice in my opinion. It really is a beautiful country, they are just so very poor. The scenery was definitely nice, that's for sure -- I'll post a photo gallery soon.

Luckily the four hour drive through the countryside passed easily enough, even without any women. It was nearly sunset by the time we first arrived at Subic Bay, but when we did we were immediately the subject of attention with all the ladies, being two young, good-looking, and obviously loaded guys. Jared and I spent a few minutes unloading and checking out our rooms before heading downstairs to play a cpl laid-back games of pool while switching to liquor. However it took only seconds for word to spread and the next thing you know about a dozen "working girls" started one-by-one coming inside from the attached disco to see what was up with us young gringos.

Two of them basically put the other girls in check and claimed Jared and I as their own. Next thing you know we are playing a team game of pool with the "working girls" as our partners. The booze keeps flying, now the girls are drinking, and next thing you know they are making out with Jared and I. I had been awake for something like 48 hrs though so I called it a night right around when the prostitute kept asking to go upstairs. No way you are getting my money six hours after I landed in this country, no way! Even after she tried to ask Jared what room I was in so she could go upstairs and crawl into bed with me. Luckily he didn't tell her. However little did I know at this time that within a cpl months I would soon be dating a Filipino and flying back already.

Jared

Ok so since I've been here my mind has just been going and going so much to think about. Ok so I consider my self a left wing liberal progressive person with that being said I think me and Derek are literally the only guys to vacation in Philippines with out having sex with a local girl. You think hepatitis would be enough to stop most guys but not the case. Ok with that being said everyone here is ex military old and love McCain and love to do drugs and fuck young hookers all day make sense? Palin is a right wing conservative fanatical Christian so all these people are saying they love and support a women that literally thinks they are going to burn in hell for eternity make sense? Yeah and to think leave it to the Agnostic guy to be the only one with morals here...~Jared, 2008, from the old Shibuya Daze blog

 

Drinking a beer at the bar
Jared enjoys a cold San Miguel

Needless to say, Jared and I had very mixed first impressions of the Philippines. It was a lot different than we'd told by our friends back home and even the Subic region itself just seemed kind of lacking of any real substance or anything really exciting to do. Oh yeah that and seemingly every girl is a hooker. That first night in Subic Bay was a total surprise. Apparently the pros were all over us because they are used to only having old veterans and seniors as johns. Either way, we definitely felt like celebrities our first week there.

See, any and all foreigners living in the Philippines are ex-military, usually almost always American but we did also meet a couple Brits and a few Australian guys. They are all in their 50's and 60's now, beer-bellied and weathered from the years and the things they have seen. Most of them own the bars and discos around town, financed by the wonderful salaries we give our troops.

But, as they all say, "the Philippines is a hell of a place to spend money, just not to make it!" At roughly $0.50 USD a beer, $2 for a full meal, and $20 a night for a nice hotel suite, you'd have a hard time finding a better quality product at such a low price.

Published in Philippines

Passed All The Towns & Barangays, Headed For The Jungle!

We were traveling through Quezon province headed towards Agos-Agos barangay near the coastal town of Infanta on an 8-hour drive past Manila to the eastern side of the island. And you better believe it was a trip! This was my first experience at spending a full week literally living in the jungle, with almost everybody in bamboo-type huts, no running water and no electricity. We had a few neighbors with intermittent electricity, usually 4-6 hours a day at most, and they were usually the families with little shops built into their huts. These shops will sell small snacks, toiletries, cigarettes, even beer or (the fancy ones) ice.

Even though I only had a faint idea of what I was getting into, there was one aspect I was a little worried about. No, not meeting the girlfriend's parents and extended family for the first time. No, I was more scared about what I would be eating during this trip. Luckily my cast iron stomach ended up having no issues. Although to be fully honest there was one dish that I repeatedly passed on, balut. While supposedly delicious, I found balut too disgusting to try — despite countless people, even little girls hardly old enough for school, all swearing that it's "so so good!"

Balut in the Philippines

Balut is a fertilized duck or chicken egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell. You see, chickens gestation period is about three weeks, so halfway through that you raid the henhouse to collect your eggs and boil them. Balut is common, everyday food in some other countries in Southeast Asia, such as in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Popularly believed to be an aphrodisiac and considered a high-protein, hearty snack, balut is mostly sold by street vendors in the regions where they are available. They are often served with beer.

What you do is slam the flat end of the egg against a table or other flat surface, then suck the partially formed mass of feathers and beak out with your mouth. All the locals seemed to quite enjoy this delicacy, and even some of the young girls proclaimed how delicious it was. I myself decided to pass. Repeatedly.

  [ UPDATE ]   In January 2014 I finally ate balut and captured it all on video. Watch out for the 1:30 mark, where I gag and nearly throw it all up ;)

Anyway, I'm rambling. Agos-Agos is a very small barangay in the eastern part of Quezon province and the only reason I even spent time there was because it is where my ex's family lives. To even get to the barangay requires traveling a stretch down this rough dirt path (I can't even call it a road, and its certainly not on any map) that you can reach by following the only road west out of Infanta, the only nearby village. Just when you think there is nowhere left to go you come upon small clusters of bamboo huts and various trails connecting them. Some of the trails were so narrow it was hard to get our little vehicle down it. People there either walk or use motorcycles.

My hut in the Philippines
Home sweet home...in the jungle...in the middle of literally nowhere

There are no big places, nor even any medium-sized ones. The houses are small buildings made of usually bamboo although a few of the lucky ones had cinder-blocks and a corrugated metal roof, never more than one-story tall. The house my ex was raised in (along with her three siblings and parents) is maybe 15-ft square absolute tops, with a plywood wall dividing it in two main rooms. A couple sheets of plywood are slapped upright in one corner for the bathroom, which is again just a couple buckets of water. There is a small corner in the back that I guess would be the kitchen, with a water pump out back.

A few years ago they got electricity for the first time, thanks to the efforts of the current Governor Arroyo, who worked her hardest to uplift the country and bring power to the places without. I have not been back in almost two years now, since the ex and I split, so I have no idea if the planned improvements have continued.

Hut in the Philippines jungle
Our neighbors across the river have a freakin' mansion!

A ten-minute ride away is the town of Infanta. There is not much there, but at least it is a real village that has been in existence for nearly 200 years, complete with a small hospital, several churches, and plenty of streetside vendors and marketplaces. There are no jeepneys in towns like this, only trikes and motorcycles.

It was very interesting my first time there with Claire. Whether walking around or riding on the back of a cycle, everybody stopped and stared at me whenever I passed by. It was like I was the first white guy they had ever seen in life. Suppose that is entirely possible, actually. There are no airports near here and were not any resorts until recently. Even now I believe the total count is at just two or three, and they are located down the street from Infanta on that little peninsula.

Claire and I went into town every other day, usually just for minor things like fresh meat for the day. One afternoon her family asked if there is anything special I would like to eat while there. Having already tried most of the local food, I went for something I love but had not had, despite seeing an abundance of pigs around the barangay: bacon. So her brother went into town and came back with a chunk of — no, not bacon but pork fresh from the slaughter and threw it in a drawer. I'll be damned if that thing didn't sit there at room temperature for about 16 hrs before it was cooked the next morning. I was a little skeptical eating it with my eggs and rice but it had some damn good sauce on it (oh, you thought I would be skeptical about it sitting out all night?) and actually was not bad. And I didn't get sick from it either!

Water Bison in the Philippines jungle
Water Bison...mmmm dinner. Wait, he's a pet!!

So does that mean we eat him now or wait until later?

I tell you, to this day there have only been two times in my life where I have gone a week without pooping — and this my friends was the first! (The second wouldn't happen until two years later, in 2011.) I thought about "oh crap what am I going to have to do if I have to poo?" the first minute I saw the pail and laddle in the bathroom that made up toilet / shower. My answer to the problem was to simply watch my intake of food.

One thing I have long since noticed when traveling is if you eat less processed food and other unnatural bullshit, your body maximizes the food intake, using all it can. The end result is less waste and therefore you have to "drop a load" a lot less than the average American. Eat McDonald's or Taco Bell all day and night, you could take three, four dumps a day — maybe more! That's easily 20+ loads a week! Anyway, moving on...

Now I thought prices were cheap in Olongapo and Barrio Barretto. Wow, Infanta had them beat threefold! Stuff cost pennies and it was awesome. And the coast is just minutes away, the beach is pristine and free from tourists — so heavenly! Now this is what I like, not places like Angeles City.

Yes, Infanta is just far enough away from Manila to be off the beaten path and therefore inexpensive and tourist-free yet also close enough to still be feasible. Like fishing? Got it. Like good Filipino food? Oh boy do they have it! Want to live like a true Filipino? Well what are you waiting for, go visit Infanta!

Published in Philippines

For those that have read this blog before you know that I am a big proponent of getting off the tourist path and doing some exploring wherever you happen to be. That happened recently while in Manila where I noticed a very large compound surrounded by a 8 foot tall solid metal fence painted bright green. The buildings inside where very ornate around the rooftops and appeared to be some type of Chinese Temple.

Tao temple in Manila

Never one to be to shy I knocked on the small gate and a gentleman working inside answered. I asked if this was a temple of some kind and he stated it was a Taoist Temple. Then I brazenly asked if I could come in and look around. He stepped outside onto the street and looked around and asked where I was from. After I told him he smiled and waved at me to hurry inside.

He seemed kind of nervous and I asked if he was sure I could come inside and look around. He stated I could look but to not take any pictures inside the main temple. The outside prayer areas were okay though.

I was inside the compound about 6 or 7 minutes when a vehicle pulled up to the compound and honked its horn to be let in. The vehicle pulled in and the driver looked at me, smiled and went to the parking area but that's when the worker got really nervous and said I should leave. I gathered it was one of the head guys and although he smiled wasn't too pleased the worker had allowed me in.

Tao temple in Manila

While I was there the worker and I took turns asking questions, me about the temple and he about where I was from and about me. It was interesting, beautiful and really cool.

That is why I love exploring places on my own. You never know what you might happen upon or who you might meet.

Next time your traveling do yourself a favor, get off the tourist path and explore a little. It can be very rewarding.

Published in Philippines

It's More Fun In The Philippines

Let's get the basics out of the way first, for those of you new to the region (for the rest of you, just skip down two paragraphs). The Philippines is the world's 12th most populous nation, with a population of over 90 million as of 2008. An estimated figure of half of the population resides on the island of Luzon. Manila, the capital city, is the eleventh most populous metropolitan area in the world. Life expectancy is 71.23 years, with 73.6 years for females, and 69.8 years for males. Population growth rate between 1995 to 2000 was 3.21% but has decreased to an estimated 1.95% for the 2005 to 2010 period.

All together a combined 7,107 islands make up the Philippines. The country is divided into three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. These are divided into 17 regions, 80 provinces, 120 cities, 1,511 municipalities, and 42,008 barangays. A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village.

Relaxing... Filipino Style...

Angeles City

My final destination in the Philippines is always Subic and the neighboring Olongapo City. I used to fly in through the capital, Manila, which is not the most convenient thing as it then requires renting an "aircon van" for the four-hour drive to Subic Bay. Not only that, but Ninoy Aquino International Airport is old and lacking in all the modern conveniences you would find at other airports worldwide. However, there is also a new and still expanding airport in Angeles City, Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, which I use now.

DMIA was formerly known as Clark International Airport, having been expanded from the original Clark Air Base, which was closed and relinquished by the US Air Force in 1991. Not only is DMIA closer to Subic, but it is also located in Angeles City, the place to go to have fun. While in Subic women will flock to you 10-deep, but in AC the ladies will surround you 100-deep easy.

Angeles City

Yep, Angeles City -- the City of Friendship -- is truly a paradise for anyone with a love of fine Asian women. Trying to enjoy the night out and the local ladies while in Manila can sometimes get you into trouble with the law, but in AC you have nothing to worry about. Its slogan is "the city of friendship" and is the hub of the Southeast Asia sex trade, where prostitution is not just a lucrative business but a dominate industry.

The infamous nightlife scene in Angeles originally sprung up to service nearby Clark Air Force Base. The US military left in 1991 after nearby Mt. Pinatubo erupted, but a crackdown on prostitution in Manila promptly restored the industry's fortunes, and today Angeles has the biggest nightlife scene in the Philippines.

Angeles City

Balibago district is home to many bars and karaoke joints. It has of a number of clubs which fit any budget and personality. There are traditional clubs with DJ's and the live band clubs. For endless evening of dancing and pulsating music, head for the bright lights of Balibago. Fields Avenue and McArthur Highway are the places to head for go-go bars, comedy bar shows, sing-along or karaoke bars, nightclubs and drinking beer - it is a non-stop pleasure seven days a week, every week of the year!

But don't get me wrong, despite the pictures, it is not all about women in Angeles City (just mostly). Besides having a booming nightlife, the city is becoming increasingly popular as a tourist destination, particularly for visitors from South Korea. Its center, Balibago, is especially known for its fine restaurants, hotels and shopping malls. Within Balibago is neon-lit Fields Avenue, known for its bars, nightclubs and what may be one of the world's largest concentration of go-go bars. Adjoining Clark Freeport Zone is the site of world-class resorts, casinos, duty-free shops and beautifully landscaped golf courses. The city, and the rest of the Pampanga region, is known both as the "Entertainment Capital of Central Luzon" as well as the "Culinary Center of the Philippines."

Angeles City, Philippines

Subic Bay, which collectively refers to Subic, Barrio Barretto, and Olongapo City, is much more tame than Angeles City, although the underlying sex trade is still obvious. At any resort you stay at, come sunrise you will always see a couple girls come down from the rooms upstairs and quietly make their way out. Hell, that is how I got busted -- my ex-girlfriend works at the resort I stay at, Mango's. That's why I fly in AC first now, ha ha ha.

Subic has plenty of touristy things to do during the day, such as parasail, trek the jungle, visit Ocean Adventures, fly over the volcano, or even just shop the markets in Olongapo. But once the sun sets, the discos, the go-gos, and the bars all come alive. There are plenty of good places, such as Down Under, The Hot Zone, Harley's, Doc's, Baby One Bar, Broadway, etc -- the list goes on and on.

All the resorts in Subic border the water, either beside Mango's on National Hwy or just past it, on Baloy Beach Rd. All of the nightclubs are scattered just blocks away, along the opposite of National Hwy or scattered down the side streets. Everything is within walking distance, but there are always jeepneys and trikes available for transportation as well, just as in any other city in the Philippines.

Filipino Jeepney
The iconic Filipino jeepney -- no two are painted the same

The jeepneys (essentially small buses) were originally made from discarded American military jeeps after World War II, although newer ones have been manufactured since which still resemble the original jeepneys. They are color-coded depending on the route they follow and are most certainly the most affordable way to get around downtown. They run available 24 hours a day and it is the most famous mode of transportation throughout the country. Since jeepneys tend to be overcrowded with passengers, tourists carrying bulky luggage should consider traveling by taxi (as the joke goes, "How many people can you fit on a jeepney?" Answer: "One more!").

Trikes (often spelled 'tryks' by the locals) are nothing more than a basic four-speed motorcycle with a one-wheeled cart attached to the side to carry passengers, much like European sidecars. The trikes are slightly more expensive, but provide you with a more peaceful ride instead of being packed in 20-deep on a small jeepney. Like the jeepneys, there are also trike drivers operating 24 hrs a day. In addition, the trikes will take you anywhere, door-to-door, unlike the jeepneys, which must stick to a straight route, just like a bus. In those terms, consider a trike a taxi. Although they do have "aircon" taxis and vans in the bigger cities, they are expensive and charge by the kilometer.

A Filipino Trike
Always a quick but very bumpy ride

All in all, while there is plenty of ways to kill time and enjoy yourself in both Subic and Angeles, but it is undoubtedly the nightlife that takes the gold, always. Part of the problem lies with the fact that the only foreigners that live in the Philippines are almost exclusively ex-military, primarily American but also many Australians. Each and every one of them owns their own bar or disco, always stocked with some go-go girls. The women over there are used to having these countless older men around, and it is fairly common for a 60-yr-old American to marry a 25-yr-old Filipina. As the navy base at Subic is no longer active, they do not see the younger men like they used to. That was another reason why my repeated trips while only in my early 20s have caught the attention of all the girls there.

Take for example Hope In Heaven, a recently released documentary about a girl named Mila who "dances" at the Heaven Bar in Angeles City. Despite hating what she does, she is a working girl who dreams of an American guy one day finding her and rescuing her from her terrible life. That summarizes the dream of essentially every girl in the Philippines, and while not every girl will decide to follow Mila's path and whore themselves out as a working girl, quite a few do.

My Filipina Ex

My ex-girlfriend is a born-and-raised Filipina and she had some of the same dreams. Although she was one of the good girls, one of the "cherry girls" as they call them over there, and worked legitimately at a resort in addition to going to college. That used to put a lot of pressure on me, because in her eyes I was "her prince," a role I don't think I ever really lived up to. But in the end, it was not meant to be and we have since gone separate ways. Not a day goes by that I don't think about her though. She is the one that got away, the only girl I have ever truly loved. Anyway...

In closing, because a few of my friends question how I can put up with all these older men taking advantage of these girls, let me first say I never expected to. The very first time Jared and I went to the Philippines, we did not like it. It was poor, dirty, and in coming from Tokyo, we just did not feel like there was that much to do. As a matter-of-fact, when departing from Manila the first time, we both swore we would never return to the Philippines. How wrong we were.

My Filipina Ex

It was definitely because of my talking with Claire that I have been returning to the Philippines -- we had traded email addresses the last day of my original trip there. However, upon returning to the Phils I came to accept and even appreciate their way of life. That and I have become friends with many of the ex-military guys there, which I am sure subtly influenced my thinking. As they put it, these working girls are almost always sending money back to their home province, to help out their families, so you are really just helping the poor (call it donating to charity if you want) by spending the night with one of these ladies. Besides, the girls don't seem like whores, although to quite a few of you I am sure that will make absolutely no sense. It has to do with the Filipino culture, and the way a Filipina woman puts the happiness of her man in front of everything else, even herself. So when you do take one of these girls home, you feel more like you just met some girl downtown and are taking her home, not like you are paying for a hooker.

Be that as it may, I am not a cheater and was not about to cheat on the love of my life, even after learning that all the working girls are tested regularly and will get a pass signifying their clean health that allows them to work that night. So, your chances of taking an extra souvenir home to the missus are somewhat diminished. Additionally, if you are at one of the go-go bars and see one of the usual girls standing off to the side, not working that night...well you know her test came up positive and she is sitting her time out, taking her meds.

But despite all of this, make no mistakes: prostitution is illegal in the Philippines.

 

Statistics

  (2008 numbers, no 2009 yet) Philippines United States
Area > Land 298,170 sq km [69th of 238] 9,161,923 sq km [3rd of 238]
Population Total 96,061,680 residents [13th of 242] 303,824,640 residents [3rd of 242]
Population Density 266.11 ppl per sqkm [42nd of 256] 29.77 ppl per sqkm [168th of 256]
Largest City Population Manila - 9,286,000 [12th of 174] New York City - 16,332,000 [4th of 174]
Population Below Poverty Line 30% [27th of 46] 12% [40th of 46]
Gross National Income $80,844,900,000.00 [36th of 172] $9,780,000,000,000.00 [1st of 172]
Exports $49,320,000,000.00 [49th of 189] $1,148,000,000,000.00 [4th of 189]
Economic Importance 0.1 [ UNLISTED ] 197.9 [1st of 25]
Comparative Price Levels 14 [ UNLISTED ] 109 [7th of 30]
Technological Achievement 0.3 [41st of 68] 0.73 [2nd of 68]
Cannabis Use 1.94% [104th of 126] 12.3% [3rd of 126]
  » New Zealand comes in 1st with 22.23% and Australia 2nd with 17.93%
Oil > Consumption 340,100 bbl/day [19th of 212] 20,680,000 bbl/day [1st of 212]
McDonald's Restaurants 235 locations [13th of 39] 12,804 locations [1st of 39]
Tsunami > Foreign Tourists Missing 1 [37th of 37] 456 [6th of 37]
Prisoners > Per Capita 94 per 100,000 ppl [96th of 164] 715 per 100,000 ppl [1st of 164]
Suicide Rates 26.7 per 100,000 ppl [7th of 17] 13.3 per 100,000 ppl [13th of 17]

Numbers pulled from NationMaster

Places To Visit In The Philippines

I may have limited my excursions to the Philippines to the main island, but there are many other beautiful places to go visit all throughout the country, some more touristy than others. If you want to get a taste of the real Philippines, check out Olongapo, a great little town with an active nightlife and occasional shows or festivals at Pier One or the Freeport Zone. If you are looking for working girls, go to Angeles City. But, whatever you do, spend as little time as possible in Manila. Trust me on this one.


View Luzon, The Philippines in a larger map
Published in Philippines

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