Philippines: The First Trip

Text and Photos by Jon Hill, February 2006
Return to Articles Page

Jimili-an Samaritan Farmers Association Band

I recently spent week in the Philippines, mostly on the island of Bohol, located an hour-and-a-half from Cebu by fast ferry. I've heard stories about the "P.I." (Philippine Islands) since I was a kid. My grandparents were missionaries there. My dad has great memories of living there when he was a kid and when he was stationed there in the U.S. Navy. It's charms seemed mythical, until last week when I went and saw those charms for myself.

Cebu did very little to impress me. It's a dirty third-world city with a sense of desperation that seems to inhabit many of its citizens. Bohol is very different. People there don't have much, but they are generous with their time and accomodating to visitors. Share a 50-cent San Miguel beer with them and you'll get their life story or a willing partner for a duet on the videoke machine. Little kids will wave and call out cheerfully with a confidence I've not encountered elsewhere. The landscape is mostly rural and undeveloped. You can still escape onto nearly deserted dirt roads winding through narrow valleys carpeted with lush rice. Doing this on a motorcycle gave me a sense of the Philippines I've long heard about.

I spent my days SCUBA diving (oh, to have an underwater housing for my DSLR), exploring the island's roads by motorbike, taking a river cruise, enjoying strange and beautiful sea and landscapes, photographing the sights and wildlife, and loving the cheap but tasty food and beer. It's definitely a place I could go back to.

Trinket Vendor (above) and her wares (below)

A young man searches for shellfish at low tide

Sunset on Alona Kew Beach, Panglao Island (above and below)

The once ubiquitous jeepney (now being replaced by much less intersting minibuses)

Cemetery crosses

Boys in Cebu

Tarsiers, the world's smallest primates


Return to Articles Page


All images in this site are copyrighted. Do not copy or use without permission.