Monday, January 16, 2006

Day 2 - Anilao

My dad’s hometown of Anilao, Mabini, Batangas is about 130 km or 80 miles from Manila, which if it were here might take a little more than an hour. But rough roads in the province and traffic in Manila make it about a 2 ½ to 3 hour drive. For reference, Anilao is the barangay or village (like a subdivision here, some big some tiny) within the town of Mabini and the province of Batangas.

The first order of business was a barbecue with my extended family. My dad is one of seven and we had lunch with four of his siblings and their families and the resort my grandparents built.
The word resort has a wide range of meanings in the Philippines. I’m sure most of you hear resort and think of some posh, upper class deal and those do exist in the Philippines, but Riverside as it is known, consists of a few bamboo huts with no bathrooms (large outhouse) just a few feet from the ocean. Staying there would qualify as “keeping it real” as the cool kids say, but as it is today it really needs some work. One of my aunts would like to improve it one day.

With dozens of relatives in town at the same time, we ended up staying at Vista Mar, a hotel just down the road. And while the accommodations aren’t what you’d generally expect here in the states, our room overlooked the ocean.

The Philippines is 14 hours ahead of the Midwestern US so you can understand why by that first evening we were pretty much spent. Not only were we exhausted from the traveling, but our clocks were now totally reversed. I actually fell asleep sitting up during dinner.

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