Capital of the Philippines.
Saturday, 12th January 2019
Looking back along a very busy road from inside a jeepney. Another white and silver jeepney is following behind. Jeepneys are public transport vehicles (minibuses) typically with seats for around 16 people on two narrow benches. They were originally military jeeps left behind by the US Army after World War II, although other vehicles are now used too. They are a colourful method of public transportation found in Filipino cities.
Tony inside the National Museum of Manila in front of a very large painting. The painting is Spoliarium by 19th century Filipino artist Juan Luna. It depicts the bloody carnage following a gladiatorial fight in ancient Rome. The dimensions of the painting are 4.2 by 7.6 metres.
Tony touching a small sculpture of a woman holding a vase.
Tony next to a classical style sculpture depicting a female nude.
Tony in front of a group of female manikins wearing Spanish colonial dresses.
A foyer with classical marble columns inside the National Museum of Manila. The museum is in Ermita District, near Intramuros.
Tony in front of steps outside the National Museum. The façade is neoclassical in style.
Tony in Rizal Park, which is named in honour of José Rizal, Filipino national hero and revolutionary. He was executed by the Spanish in 1898.
Tony with a group at the entrance into the historical walled district of Intramuros. The group is a mix of Filipino couchsurfers and their foreign guests. Intramuros means “within the walls” in Spanish. It is 0.67 square kilometres (0.26 sq miles) in area. The Spanish began construction of the walls in the late 16th century to protect the city from foreign invasion.
The group passing under a bridge through the walls into Intramuros.
On General Luna, this is the closest thing Intramuros has to a main street. The large building in the background houses the Department of Labor and Employment.
Tony touching a large rusty old Spanish canon near to the walls.
Tony at the fort of Nuestra Señora de Guia within the bastion of Baluarte de San Diego. The fort was built between 1586-1587 and renovated in 1593 to join with the walls of the city. It was destroyed during the Battle of Manila in 1945. The remains of stone walls can be seen in a large circular pit with railings around the edge.
Tony with the group of couchsurfers in front of the ruined fort. Away in the distance are tall modern buildings of the central city.
Tony with Princess May, his couchsurfing friend from the Philippines.
Tony and the other couchsurfers eating at a local Filipino restaurant in or near Intramuros.
Tony on General Luna outside a Spanish colonial-era building. The first storey and roof overhanging the street and painted in green and cream.
Tony standing in the main doorway of San Agustin Church. This is the oldest surviving church in the Philippines, completed in 1607. It was recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993.
Tony touching a stone carved lion dog (Chinese Fu dog) outside San Agustin Church.
View of the Baroque façade of San Agustin Church. A screen in front of the main entrance.
Tony alongside a horse pulling a carriage in Intramuros. The horse-drawn carriage is locally called a Kalesa.
Tony leaning on a bicycle outside Casa Manila Museum. The bicycle is made of bamboo. The museum covers the Spanish colonial era of the Philippines and is housed in a 19th century grand house.
Tony inside Manila Cathedral in Intramuros district. The cathedral was founded in 1571, but has been rebuilt several times. The present building was constructed from 1954 to 1958, its previous incarnation having been reduced to rubble by the Allied bombardment in 1945 during the Battle of Manila.
Tony with other couchsurfers outside the main entrance to Manila Cathedral.
Tony and the other couchsurfers outside the ruins of a building at Fort Santiago. The fort was built by the Spanish beginning in 1590. It has a perimeter of 620 metres (2,030 feet) and it is of a nearly triangular form. During World War II the fort was used by the Japanese Imperial Army as the prison. It was badly damaged during the Battle of Manila in February 1945.
Tony in a stone-lined tunnel at Baluartillo de San Francisco, part of the defensive walls around Intramuros. These tunnels were used as storage chambers.
View of a water-filled moat and defensive walls at Intramuros.
Tony with a trail of footprints on the tarmac in front of him. These prints show the last steps taken by José Rizal, Filipino national hero and revolutionary, en route to his execution spot by Spanish firing squad in 1898.
Bronze statue of José Rizal at Fort Santiago. He is depicted holding a book, reflecting the fact he was a writer and poet.
View across the Pasig River from near Fort Santiago shortly before in reaches the sea.
Again Tony next to the Pasig River. Large boats moored on the opposite side and tall office or apartment blocks beyond.
Objects on display inside a tunnel at Fort Santiago, including Lego models of historic buildings.
Lego model of the Church of San Nicolas de Tolentino, which stood in Intramuros before being destroyed by bombing during World War Two.
Another lost church built in Lego, this is Igesia de Santo Domingo.
Tony in a room with lots of bottles displayed on shelves. Perhaps some sort of art installation?
View from Jones Bridge which spans the Pasig River from east of Intramuros over to Binondo district, which is known as Manila’s Chinatown.
Tony at the north end of Jones Bridge. In front is an arch over the road decorated in Chinese style marking the entrance to Chinatown.
Tony standing in a busy street in Binondo. Another decorative welcome arch in front.
Sunday, 13th January 2019
Tony onboard a tram.
Crowd of people outside the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (also known as Quiapo Church) located in Quiapo district. The basilica is famous for the Black Nazarene, a dark statue of Jesus Christ said to be miraculous.
Tony outside the basilica. The front facade in view with a pair of belfries above. There has been a church here since 1586, although construction of the present basilica began in 1933. It was completed in 1984.
Inside the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene looking towards the altar. The basilica is crammed full of people.
Again Tony outside the basilica with people queuing in the background.
View towards the National Museum of Anthropology. The front façade is neoclassical in style, including a row of Corinthian columns across a portico.
A group of young people, perhaps practising some sort of martial art, outside the National Museum of Anthropology.
A rectangular lake containing several fountains in Rizal Park. This historical park was founded in 1820.
Tony in front of an impressive array of fountains in Rizal Park lake. Many people watching around the edges of the lake.
Tony with the Rizal Monument behind. The monument, commemorating national hero José Rizal, was constructed between 1908 and 1913. The monument consists of a standing bronze statue of Rizal, with an obelisk behind, set on a stone base within which his remains are interred. It is located in Rizal Park.
A small historical city located on the western coast of the large island of Luzon, facing the South China Sea. Founded in 1572, today Vigan is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site owing to its well preserved Spanish colonial architecture from the 16th to 19th centuries.
Tuesday, 15th January 2019
Travelling along Calle Crisologo, the main old colonial street of Vigan. In view are old colonial-era houses built of stone and wood with souvenir shops at street level. The shot was taken from a kalesa, an old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage that locals used to traverse the city in Spanish times.
The kalesa passing by a side entrance to St Paul’s Cathedral.
Still travelling on the kalesa, which is passing a public park. A row of motorcycles parked down the side of the road.
Outside the Padre Burgos National Museum. This two-storey building dates from 1788 and was the birthplace of Father José Burgos, one of three martyr priests executed by the Spanish in 1872. It became a museum in 1989. Its collections include memorabilia of Father Burgos and his family, as well as archaeological and ethnographic artefacts from the Ilocos Sur region.
Tony sitting on the kalesa outside the Padre Burgos National Museum.
Passing a roadside food stall in the kalesa.
Dozens of large clay pots in a haphazard pile in a compound at the side of the road. These unglazed pottery jars are known as burnay and are produced in the local area. Seen from the kalesa.
Entrance doorway to the Crisologo Museum. This was the ancestral house of Floro Crisologo, an important local political figure, who was assassinated inside St Paul’s Cathedral in 1970. The museum’s collections include Crisologo family memorabilia.
A roadside souvenir stall outside an old stone house.
Looking out the front of the kalesa along another part of Calle Crisologo. The cobbled street is lined on both sides with historic colonial-era stone houses.
View across Plaza Burgos. The square is named after Father José Burgos and a monument to him stands in front. The memorial is in the form of a decorated stone column.
The main entrance to St Paul’s Cathedral, officially known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Conversion of St Paul the Apostle. A church was first constructed here in 1641, this was twice damaged by earthquakes, while the third church built here burned down in 1739. The fourth and present-day church was built from 1790 to 1800. It is Baroque in style. The external walls are painted white.
Tony outside the entrance to Vigan Cathedral.
Looking down the central aisle of St Paul’s Cathedral. Rows of pews with the main altar at the far end.
An altar along one of the side aisles. It is dedicated to Filipino Bishop Alfredo Versoza who died in 1954. He is venerated as a ‘Servant of God’, the first stage to possible canonization as a saint.
Tony in front of the main altar of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Tony in Plaza Salcedo in front of a large rectangular formal pond. This lively plaza is in front of St Paul’s Cathedral. It is named after the Spanish conqueror, Juan de Salcedo, who founded the Spanish settlement here in 1572.
Tony sitting by the pond in Plaza Salcedo. The pond contains a dancing fountain, which is turned on every evening. Also in view is a stone obelisk, which was part of the plaza’s original 17th century design.
Tony in front of large human-size letters spelling out ‘Ilocos Sur’, which is the name of the province of which Vigan is capital. In the background, part of the Ilocos Sur Capitol building can be seen. It includes neoclassical style stone columns across an entrance portico.
The bell tower of St Paul’s Cathedral, which stands separately from the cathedral itself. It is 25 metres (82 ft) in height with a weather rooster on top. Tony in the foreground.
Tony sitting on a bench in Escolta’s Homey Lodge, holding a small, but heavy clay pot. The item may have belonged to the original owners of the building. Pottery is still made in Vigan.
Calle Crisologo Street lit up in the evening. A souvenir shop can be seen opposite. This historic street is closed to traffic during the evening creating a lively atmosphere.
Tony with a girl who works at Escolta’s Homey Lodge, an old Spanish colonial mansion converted into a comfy guesthouse. It is located directly on Calle Crisologo Street.
Wednesday, 16th January 2019
The following morning, Tony on Calle Crisologo Street outside Escolta’s Homey Lodge.
Tony in the middle of Calle Crisologo Street.
Tony stood next to a colourful pedicab outside Vigan bus station. A pedicab is a 3-passenger motorised public vehicle and useful for short distances. An inexpensive mode of public transport. Found in Filipino towns and cities.
Tony inside the pedicab.
A hilly town comprised of some 19 villages (Barangays) in Mountain Province, north Luzon, Philippines. It is a tourist location due to its waterfalls, mountain trails, caves and famous hanging coffins.
Sunday, 20th January 2019
Tony walking down a narrow paved trail towards Bomod-Ok Falls.
Tony heading down steps. These are a few of the approximately 4,000 steps on the way to Bomod-Ok Falls.
Passing through a village. Buildings constructed from wood and corrugated iron. The trail goes through or near the traditional villages of Pide and Fidelisan.
Tony still in the village. Buildings in the background, one with a traditional thatched roof, while the others use corrugated iron.
Tony further down the trail with a view into a valley filled with rice terraces.
View across the valley to a hill opposite. Here the upper part of the hill is too steep for rice growing and is mostly bare rock, topped with trees at the summit.
Another spectacular vista down into the valley filled with rice terraces. Tony in the foreground.
The end of the trail at Bomod-Ok Falls. This is the biggest waterfall in the Sagada area. A single column of water drops from a smooth cliff, approximately (61 metres or 200 feet) into a rocky pool of cold water where people can swim.
Tony amongst other hikers at Bomod-Ok Falls.
Tony thumbs up at Bomod-Ok Falls.
Tony sitting on a bench with another excellent view of the rice terraces behind.
Tony heading back up the 4,000 steps. Vegetation, including palms, along the path.
Looking down into the valley with a village in the middle distance.
Tony close to a rice terrace. A roughly rectangular pool of water with the rice plants visible.
Tuesday, 21st January 2019
Tony just outside the wide entrance to Lumiang Burial Cave.
Tony inside Lumiang Cave. The wall to the right is stacked with coffins creating an entire wall. This large popular tourist cave is the starting point for the Cave Connection tour.
Tony on a steep trail through pine trees.
Tony with stalagmites and stalactites in Sumaguing Cave. This cave has the largest chamber of the 60 caves around Sagada. According to the information board at the entrance it is the deepest cave in the Philippines with a depth of more than 500 feet. It is also known as the Big Cave.
Steps passing along the foot of a cliff face. Ferns and other vegetation can be seen.
The public cemetery at Echo Valley. Tony amongst grave stones.
Tony heading down steps at Echo Valley, the slopes filled with tall pine trees.
A group of around 17 hanging coffins attached to a cliff face high above the ground in Echo Valley. This is a traditional method of burying people that is still sometimes practised today. The coffins are small because the dead are placed in the fetal position, the same position as before birth. One belief behind this practice is that by placing the dead higher up, it brings them closer to their ancestral spirits. According to one guide, these wooden coffins have been at their resting place for roughly 90 years.
Tony with the group of hanging coffins behind.
Tony with two Filipino ladies from Manila and one guy near the hanging coffins.
Tony touching the rock at the foot of a cliff face. The path heading down into pine woods.
Tony between a row of tombs in the cemetery at Echo Valley.
Tony in front of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, located at the entrance to Echo Valley. It’s the main Episcopalian church in Sagada.
Cebu City is the main populated area and city on Cebu Island, part of the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. It was the first city founded by Europeans in the Philippines and has the nickname “Queen City of the South”. It was the first capital of the Philippines and is today the second city after Manila. Cebuano is the main language alongside English.
Wednesday, 23rd January 2019
Plaza Sugbo. Looking between palm trees towards Cebu City Hall.
Tony in Plaza Sugbo outside an octagonal building that houses Magellan’s Cross. Portuguese conquistador Ferdinand Magellan is said to have ordered the planting of a wooden cross here in 1521 upon converting the original inhabitants to Christianity. The current cross is said to encase the remains of that original cross.
Closer view of Tony outside the building housing Magellan’s Cross.
Tony in front of Magellan’s Cross, which stands on a marble base in the centre of the building.
A plaque amongst flowers at the base of the cross. The plaque reads “This Cross of Tindalo wood encases the Original Cross planted by Ferdinand Magellan on this very site April 21, 1521”.
Looking up at the cross and the ceiling above which is painted with murals depicting the planting of the cross in 1521.
Courtyard within the Minor Basilica of the Holy Child of Cebú, commonly known as the Basilica of Santo Niño. In front are metal stands where visitors can light prayer candles.
Tony outside the entrance to the Basilica of Santo Niño. The basilica was founded in 1565 and is the oldest Roman Catholic church in the country. It was consecrated in 1739-40. In style the church is Earthquake Baroque, a design that includes lower and wider proportions and thicker walls to better withstand earthquakes. The church houses the ‘Holy Child’ (Santo Niño de Cebú), a dark wood statuette of the Child Jesus measuring approximately twelve inches in height. This was originally a gift from explorer Ferdinand Magellan to the chief consort of Rajah Humabon upon the royal couple’s christening in 1521. The statuette is widely venerated as miraculous by Filipino Catholics.
Filipino girl named Marybel taking a selfie inside the entrance to the Basilica of Santo Niño. Tony met her in a hostel in Cebu City.
Tony in a large courtyard decorated with orange and red bunting outside the Basilica of Santo Niño. The modern building in the background is the Pilgrim Center, which was built in 1990 to help accommodate the large number of worshippers who visit the site. Outdoor services are held here.
Again Tony outside the entrance to the Basilica of Santo Niño.
A small fountain in the wall of the basilica. A pair of angels pouring urns of water.
A stand with two levels of seating used for outdoor services. This outdoor area can accommodate around 3,500 people.
Visitors lighting prayer candles in the basilica complex.
Tony touching one in a row of stone statues in the basilica complex. The statues are mostly of men, probably religious figures.
Tony examining another one of the statues. Behind the covered area for lighting prayer candles.
Tony touching a stone copy of the Santo Niño de Cebú statuette.
Tony on Colon Street in front of a sign saying “I love Cebu”. Allegedly, this is the oldest street in the Philippines. This lively street becomes a market at night.
Bustling crossroads, probably on Colon Street.
Evening of Thursday, 24th January 2019
Tony outside the entrance to a museum/gallery at Fort San Pedro (Fuerza de San Pedro). The Spanish began construction of the fort in 1565. It was originally made of wood, but was rebuilt in stone in the early 17th century. Today’s structure dates from 1738 and is the oldest triangular bastion fort in the country. It served as the nucleus of the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines. During the Philippine Revolution at the end of the 19th century, it was attacked and taken by Filipino revolutionaries, who used it as a stronghold.
Tony sitting on an old canon at Fort San Pedro.
An icon of Jesus displayed inside an alcove at Fort San Pedro.
View down into the middle of Fort San Pedro, where a wedding is taking place.
Tony in front of a turret on the walls of Fort San Pedro.
Tony with the walls of Fort San Pedro lit up behind.
Tony next to an illuminated Fort San Pedro sign.
Tony on the edge of Plaza Independencia in semi-darkness. This plaza is located just west of Fort San Pedro. Behind an obelisk dedicated to Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the first Spanish governor of the Philippines.
Busy five-way intersection on Colon Street lined with shops and other businesses. Large billboards lit up above.
Saturday, 26th January 2019
View of Kawasan Falls. This 25-metre high waterfall, located near the small town of Badian to the south of Cebu, is one of the island’s main tourist attractions. It is on the Matutinao River, which flows through a secluded canyon above the falls, where canyoning activities frequently occur.
Tony in front of Kawasan Falls. Many people, both local and foreign, can be seen standing, talking, playing and swimming in the water pool – the water is very cold.
Another view of the falls dropping over a wooded cliff into a large turquoise pool beneath.
Tony close to the pool at Kawasan Falls.
Tony next to the Matutinao River near to Kawasan Falls.
White Beach, Badian. A sandy beach backed by trees and vegetation. It is quiet with just a handful of people walking or swimming in the background.
Tony on White Beach.
Tony sitting on White Beach. A couple of small boats on the sand behind.
Another view along White Beach. A few boats and wooden huts at the top of the beach. Tony sitting in the foreground.
Located on the south-east coast of Negros Island, this is the largest city in Negros Oriental province. A university city with a population of around 131,000.
Monday, 28th January 2019
View of Pulangbato ‘red rock’ Falls. Water crashing over a cliff into a rock and boulder strewn pool. This delightful waterfall is located in the Ocoy Valley in the town of Valencia, Negros Oriental, roughly 20-30 minutes motorbike ride from Dumaguete City.
Tony sat on a rock right in front of the falls, reached after crossing a knee-deep river with help.
Tony sitting on the rock with a Filipino guy named Fernando.
Again Tony sat on the rock, this time with Alex, an intrepid traveller from England, now living near Dumaguete. Tony met him via couchsurfing.com.
Tony in front of a large ‘Dumaguete’ sign with a local lady named Leny.
Another closer view of Tony in front of the ‘Dumaguete’ sign.
Tony holding a boiled duck egg, known locally as balut. The egg contains a developing embryo that is eaten from the shell.
Tony removing the shell from the balut.
Close-up of Tony holding the balut.
Tony eating the balut.
On Rizal Boulevard looking towards the sea during the evening.