Leaving the Philippines

My stay in Olangapo city was quite enjoyable.  I got to spend time with Dave before we parted ways for a very long time.  He is planning to go to CO, buy a condo and create a home base in the US.  He still would like to travel and live in the Philippines but without volunteering with All Hands he gets a little bored.  I know where he is coming from because traveling for traveling sake is very tiring and at times boring.  When you do the touristy stuff you don’t learn as much about a culture compared to when you volunteer or work with them.  This is why volunteering with All Hands is so great and interning with HOT is useful.  I have learned so much more about the mentality and thought process of Asians through having to work through problems with them. 

  Anyways, back to Olangapo city.  Dave and I took advantage of the facilities of the old base.  We ran on the track and played tennis.  There is still a security station you must pass through to get to the base from the main side of the city.  They are completely different worlds- the old American base and Olangapo city.  Though the base closed in 1991, there were still many Americans and foreigners found at the base.  A lot of them were from a navy boat that had just landed, while others were there for businesses or economic ventures because the base provides reliable electricity, shipping access and useful infrastructure. (On the other hand, I heard that corruption is high and you need to pay large fees to have a business there).

   Yesterday, Dave and I had a spa day.  That is definitely the biggest asset of the Philippines– spas.  Since labor is so cheap (partly because Filipino families are so large.  I see so many young pregnant women.  Some have braces, others look like they just got out of highschool.  There is no other place in the world where I have seen so many pregnant women under the age of 30.  And I am also very impressed with the way they carry themselves.  They are out and about until they go into labor).  The massages were pretty amazing.  They were mainly Swedish with a little Thai (or stretching) involved. 

We also have been known to getting a little rough on the ping pong tables.  Dave normally wins but we make some good entertainment for the Filipinos that are bowling there.  We also work up a sweat.

Now the time has come for me to leave good ole Philippines and head to Jakarta.  From Olangapo I headed to dau bus station where I had to get two jeepneys to the airport.  It is a pain going to Clark airport because only jeepneys and cars can get through, not motorcycles.  I finally made it to the airport and had to repack my bag due to my tennis raquet being a possible weapon.  I don’t think there has been a trip I have been on that doesn’t require me to repack my bag…


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