Filipinos are overwhelmingly Catholic, and you can see signs of it all over the country. This is a street corner in the Ermita district of Manila, with a shrine to the Virgin Mary, surrounded by pretty rocks, and a web of vines growing to the right.

Jeepneys are these kind of mini buses, privately owned, that have set routes they travel, and pick up anyone who flags them down on the side of the road. Essentially, a private bus system. Each one has a different route painted on the side, and they also deck out their rides with various decals, paint, and a name for the Jeepney, often a family name or something religious. Β It only costs 10 pesos for a short ride (~20 cents USD), up to maybe 50 pesos for a longer trip.

San Miguel is the most drank beer in the Philippines, by far. There is a Pilsen (pale) and Negro (dark). Looks a lot like Spanish, eh? That’s because it is! The Spanish colonized the Philippines for years, and there is still a lot of Spanish intertwined in the Tagalog language.

Delicious western breakfast overlooking the golf course from the Exec Lounge at the Manila Marriott. This is the nicest hotel I stayed at on my entire trip to SE Asia, and the nicest Marriott I have ever been in, with an amazingly friendly staff.

Roberto finally arrives in Manila! Roberto grew up in the Philippines, and we recently celebrated our 8th anniversary of knowing each other! We started work on the same day at the State of CA in 2009, in bank regulation, going through the worst of the financial crisis and bank failures with financial institutions around the Bay Area and California. We struck up a good friendship shortly after, and have been hanging out ever since.

Thanks for showing me around the Philippines Roberto! Love that smile!! πŸ™‚

Looking out over the Bay in Ermita, Manila. Although the water is calm, it’s filled with litter and bags of trash. Sadly, this district in Manila, and Manila in general, is one of most littered and dirty places I have seen in SE Asia. Such a beautiful island, so poorly treated… πŸ™ As I was sitting on the wall during the sunset talking to some locals, we were talking about the trash on the beach and how sad it was. The Filipino said it’s a big problem with society – that they just don’t see littering as bad. Then he flicked his cigarette butt on to the beach when he was leaving..

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