My first day in Manila was an interesting one. I caught a train. Now, I thought I’d been on a crowded train before, but I was wrong – very wrong. Now, I have been on a crowded train. I caught a train in Manila from Upper Becutan to Vito Cruz and I have never had such a workout, forcing back the hordes of Filipinos trying to crush the air out of my lungs. For these people this is a daily experience but for me it was unbelievable. When it came time to get out, I had a flashback to the days I played Front Row forward in Rugby Union and I had to get out of a ruck – except it was easier to get out of the ruck! I had to force my way past smiling people – with many of them calling out “push” and laughing and saying “only in the Philippines”. Even though I was face to face and pushing as hard as a 100kg man can push, no one got even the slightest bit upset. How happy are these people?
Inside a Jeepney
Me in a tricycle
Jeepney in motion
Tricycle from a tricycle
View from inside the jeepney
I also caught a number of Jeepneys and Tricycles. 8 peso for a standard Jeepney or tricycle ride (about A$0.20c). Jeepneys can carry up to 20 people, unless the driver thinks he can squash a couple more on board and the typical ride takes 10-15 minutes. They are like a local private bus service, doing the same circuit over and over again. Tricycles are motor bikes decked out to take 7 people and they also charge 8 pesos but when I get on (6′ and 100kgs) they can only take 6 and I have to pay for 2 seats!
In late February I leave Mackay for Brisbane for a few days to catch up with family and friends, then fly to Darwin for an overnight stay then on to Manila, Philippines. I am spending a week in the Philippines mainly in Palawan.
A friend of mine has a B&B and Restaurant there and I will be staying there for most of my time in the Philippines as well as some time in Manila. From there I fly to Ho Chi Minh where the real fun begins!
I was in Vietnam 2012/2013 and went from HO Chi Minh City in the south to Sa Pa in the far north and many points in between. As this was my first trip to Viet Nam I didn’t really know what to expect and therefore had no pre-conceived ideas. I loved every minute of it.
This trip (March 2014) I am going to be spending the bulk of my time in the South – based in HCMC with trips to the Mekong Delta. In the Mekong I am really interested in documenting the lives of the Ethnic Minorities there. I will be using the services of my Tour Guide and friend, Mai Huong while I am there. Mai is a brilliant guide and a lovely person who has a fantastic network of associates all around Vietnam.
Also while I am there (2 – 3 months) I will be volunteering at an orphanage called Allambie in HCMC. This is a small orphanage of 6 children under the care of Suzanne Hook, herself an orphan after the Vietnam War. I am gong to teach photography to the kids and have set up a crowd funding appeal to raise money so that I can get them the equipment they need. If you can support this appeal I would be most grateful as without your help I cannot provide anywhere near what I would like to do. If you follow the link you will see what I am trying to do for these kids.