Daily Joe's 365 (or until he goes home) : Taking a year off work : Updated to day 52

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Day 21

Flew into Clark airport today (Philippines) to spend a night there before heading to Palawan. What we didn't know is Clark is right next to a HORRIBLE city called Angeles. Essentially this is where all the old western men go to pick up teenage girls :(. Needless to say after arriving at the hotel (& nearly being pick pocketed by some kids) we just stayed in for the night... so not many photos from today.


Day 21 : Philippines : On our way to Clark
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 21 : Philippines : On our way to Clark
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr

Joe.
 
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Day 25

Our first day in the Philippines where we can really kick back & relax. Visited a local beach 10 minutes away by Tricycle (Las Cabanas). Amazing beach with a lovely view.


Day 25 : Philippines : Palawan : El Nido : Our £7 p/night room
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr

Day 26


Day 26 : Philippines : Palawan : El Nido : Las Cabanas Beach
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 26 : Philippines : Palawan : El Nido : Las Cabanas Beach
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 26 : Philippines : Palawan : El Nido : Las Cabanas Beach
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 26 : Philippines : Palawan : El Nido : Las Cabanas Beach
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 26 : Philippines : Palawan : El Nido : Las Cabanas Beach
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr

Joe.
 
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Some really great images just to many for me to say what I like.
Thanks :) Looks like yours is coming along as well!

Day 29

Best thing we did today was grab a BBQ at the local market, the rest of the day was a write off thanks to a blocked ear (and a local doctor nearly butchering me! fixed it myself in the end with a syringe & some baby oil, but the less said about that the better...).


Day 29 : Philippines : Palawan : El Nido : (Best of a bad bunch)
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr
 
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Phil
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Las Cabanas beach looks like a little piece of paradise. So jealous!
 
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Thanks :) El Nido is a nice place to be! Very hard to get to mind you and unfortunately fishermen have killed most of the coral (so it's nothing like say the Maldives). The hotel owner told me they used dynamite & cyanide!

As an aside I seem to be very slow to get into photography here in the Philippines. Staring (and I mean STARING) at Westerners seems to be the norm over here, makes you feel a little uneasy when it comes to taking photographs. In Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia etc feel totally at ease! Hopefully once we get to Manilla I'll get into my stride again.

Day 31

The final leg of our journey from El Nido to Puerto Princesa. Tomorrow we wake up bright & early to be taken in by a Filipino family for Christmas!


Day 31 : Philippines : Palawan : Puerto Princesa : Tricycle Home by -_Jo Gray-


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Finally a half decent net connection so I can update this diary!

Day 32

Another long day of travel today from Puerto Princesa to Manila! What a crazy place! Rounded off the day with some traditional Filipino activities, drinking, pool, drinking, & karaoke..


Day 32 : Philippines : Puerto Princesa to Manila by -_Jo Gray-



Day 32 : Philippines : Puerto Princesa to Manila by -_Jo Gray-



Day 32 : Philippines : Manila by -_Jo Gray-


Day 33


Took plenty of photographs today, but most are personal, so just sharing this one for today!


Day 33 : Philippines : Manila : Happy Christmas! by -_Jo Gray-


Day 34


Day 34 : Philippines : Manila : SM Mall : £2 Haircut by -_Jo Gray-



Day 34 : Philippines : Manila : SM Mall : £2 Haircut
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr
 
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Day 35

We hired a driver for the next few days for a bit of a road trip with our friends. Day 1 is a visit to an active Volcano (Taal Volcano)! You drive over to Tagatay City, negotiate a fair price of the boat trip then trek all the way up. It's possible to rent a horse but they looked in such bad condition we decided to walk instead :). Taal Volcano is a volcano within a volcano; the boatride is across the crater of the main volcano, with the smaller volcano being in the middle. At the top you look across a pool of sulfurous water. Glad we walked up but to my eye it looks better from a distance!


Day 35 : Philippines : Tagatay : Trip out to Taal Volcano
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 35 : Philippines : Tagatay : Trip out to Taal Volcano
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 35 : Philippines : Tagatay : Trip out to Taal Volcano
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 35 : Philippines : Tagatay : Trip out to Taal Volcano
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 35 : Philippines : Tagatay : Trip out to Taal Volcano
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 35 : Philippines : Tagatay : Trip out to Taal Volcano
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr
 
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Day 36

Apologies if the subject matter is disturbing, we didn't participate (give money) in this event. On the way back to Manila our driver invited us along to a cockfight! It's a very male dominated event with large sums being thrown about by the Filipinos. The basic process is cocks are 'matched' together (by size and aggression), a specialist then attaches spurs to the cocks & the fight begins. Unfortunately it's a fight to the death with the losing cock being swiftly dispatched by his owner (and likely found in the family dinner that night). As far as we can tell cockfighting is big in PI & perfectly legal...


Day 36 : Philippines : Tagatay : Taal Volcano
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 36 : Philippines : Tagatay : Taal Volcano
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 36 : Philippines : Tagatay : Cockfighting Arena
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 36 : Philippines : Tagatay : Cockfighting Arena
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 36 : Philippines : Tagatay : Cockfighting Arena
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 36 : Philippines : Tagatay : Cockfighting Arena
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr
 
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Love this thread! The go-pro on a stick images are awesome :)

Looks like an amazing trip, I'm very jealous.
 
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Love this thread! The go-pro on a stick images are awesome :)

Looks like an amazing trip, I'm very jealous.
Amazing set off images, the scenery there looks incredible. I am also very jealous off this trip.
Thanks, very much appreciated :). It's a privilege to take a trip like this but it's something anyone can do if you get your affairs in order!

I've been travelling laptop free for the past few days with just a GoPro, X100S, & iPad for company. Back in Manila now & reunited with the Macbook Pro :). Still a little behind with the uploads but it's 1am here so you'll have to forgive me!

We fly out of Manila tomorrow to Bangkok then off to Hua Hin until 16th Jan while we wait for our visas to come through. We have decided to venture West to Myanmar for 28 days then India for a couple of months. SE Asia is much the same just a little different flavour in each country. We've decided to skip Indonesia, Malaysia, etc for the time being to try and get out & experience something different. With Myanmar just opening up to tourism then we hope this will be a little like Cambodia (one of our fave places in SE Asia). India just looks like a crazy place to be & a good jumping point for some random (as yet undecided) locations like Iran, Pakistan, etc.

Anyway, onto Day 37

We decided to tour Manila today visiting a few landmarks around Intramuros before heading over to Makati District for a night out. Makati really hightlights the difference between rich & poor in Manila. Here you have high rises alongside Prada & Gucci stores. Walk 15 minutes down the road and you are back in shanty towns with people getting by on £2 per day. You can see them glancing out of Jeepney windows wondering what is happening in their city!


Day 37 : Philippines : Manila : Intramuros
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 37 : Philippines : Manila : Chinatown
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 37 : Philippines : Manila : Chinatown
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 37 : Philippines : Manila : Makati District
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 37 : Philippines : Manila : Makati District : B Side Club
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 37 : Philippines : Manila : Makati District : B Side Club
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr

Joe.
 
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Day 38

Too hung over today to take any decent photographs so here's some Christmas bokeh :). In the evening we went to Manila's largest Mall (Mall of Asia) to do a little shopping before NYE! Afterwards we went on the rampage around Makati again. Probably a good thing my camera didn't come along for the ride!


Day 38 : Philippines : Manila : Mall of Asia
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 38 : Philippines : Manila : Mall of Asia
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 38 : Philippines : Manila : Mall of Asia
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr

Joe.
 
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Day 39 & 40

New Years in Manila is CRAZY, people run around the streets lighting fireworks & the sky really is ablaze. It's time for family to get together with the tradition being getting blind drunk, lighting rockets, then having a BBQ at midnight! Try doing that in the UK :).


Day 39 : Philippines : Manila : Quezon City : HAPPY NEW YEAR!
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 39 : Philippines : Manila : Quezon City : HAPPY NEW YEAR!
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 39 : Philippines : Manila : Quezon City : HAPPY NEW YEAR!
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 39 : Philippines : Manila : Quezon City : HAPPY NEW YEAR!
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 39 : Philippines : Manila : Quezon City : HAPPY NEW YEAR!
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 39 : Philippines : Manila : Quezon City : HAPPY NEW YEAR!
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr
 
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Day 41

Today we flew from Manila to Legazpi then took the bus down to Donsal Beach. This is where people flock to see the huge whale sharks that migrate here each year to feed on the plankton. Tomorrow we head out to see if we can find any!


Day 41 : Philippines : Donsol Beach
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 41 : Philippines : Donsol Beach
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 41 : Philippines : Donsol Beach
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 41 : Philippines : Donsol Beach
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 41 : Philippines : Donsol Beach
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 41 : Philippines : Donsol Beach
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr

Joe.
 
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Day 42

Seems the Whale Sharks were a little shy today so we didn't get to swim with them. The conditions just weren't right, not enough light, tide flowing the wrong way, & low visibility in the water... we'll come back one day to swim with these giants for sure :). At least we got to see an amazing firefly boat tour the night before, that in itself was worth the trek down!


Day 42 : Philippines : Donsol : Whale Shark Spotting
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 42 : Philippines : Donsol : Whale Shark Spotting
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 42 : Philippines : Donsol : Whale Shark Spotting
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 42 : Philippines : Donsol : Whale Shark Spotting
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 42 : Philippines : Donsol : Whale Shark Spotting
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr

Joe.
 
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As a quick retrospective on the Philippines it really wasn't what we were expecting. On the flight out we had visions of palm tree fringed beaches with amazing food & sights to see. With meeting up with friends (something we really appreciated having travelled with transient friends for the past 6 months) we tried to a do a lot but it rarely worked out to plan, either the traffic was against us, the weather was against us, or it was just plain difficult to get from A>B in a day. Philippines probably isn't a country we would return to now because there is anything wrong with the place it's just that other countries have more to offer with far more competitive prices & ease of navigation. Maybe in 10-15 years and a month or 2 spare we would go island hopping :).

Having said that the highlights have been .... Midget Boxing (and nearly walking into the wrong entrance, apparently 'midgets are that door, this one's for ladyboys!'), nearly getting into a fight with a hooker (long story, my friends are a little wild), cockfighting, fireworks, San Miguel Gin, cards, dirty shots, hanging onto the back of Jeepneys weaving in & out of Manila's traffic, squeezing 6 people onto a tricycle, being poked in the eye by another hooker (really, we don't go looking for them, they seemed to find us...), videoke, karaoke, and lots more :).

Joe.
 
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As a quick retrospective on the Philippines it really wasn't what we were expecting. On the flight out we had visions of palm tree fringed beaches with amazing food & sights to see. With meeting up with friends (something we really appreciated having travelled with transient friends for the past 6 months) we tried to a do a lot but it rarely worked out to plan, either the traffic was against us, the weather was against us, or it was just plain difficult to get from A>B in a day. Philippines probably isn't a country we would return to now because there is anything wrong with the place it's just that other countries have more to offer with far more competitive prices & ease of navigation. Maybe in 10-15 years and a month or 2 spare we would go island hopping :).

Having said that the highlights have been .... Midget Boxing (and nearly walking into the wrong entrance, apparently 'midgets are that door, this one's for ladyboys!'), nearly getting into a fight with a hooker (long story, my friends are a little wild), cockfighting, fireworks, San Miguel Gin, cards, dirty shots, hanging onto the back of Jeepneys weaving in & out of Manila's traffic, squeezing 6 people onto a tricycle, being poked in the eye by another hooker (really, we don't go looking for them, they seemed to find us...), videoke, karaoke, and lots more :).

Joe.
Interesting your take on the Philippines. We went there over Christmas and while I agree with the sentiment that it can take forever to get to places that's part of the charm. I'd recommend going now before it's spoiled by the tourist industry. At the moment, outside of a couple of the main spots (Manila, Boracay and Bohol) the whole place is very untouristy. Even places like El Nido and Coron (where we spent a week) still only caters for a few non PI tourists. Outside of Bohol we found the people genuine, costs reasonable (not upped for tourists) and people genuinely friendly, interested in you, not your money. We did a week kayaking round Busuanga/Coron and had a lot of staring too, along with a few places off the beaten track in Bohol (we had a relative who's lived out there a while to show us round) and the staring was intense to begin with, before we realised it wasn't threatening, a lot of it was just curiosity. Many of the people we met had rarely seen a European where they lived, especially those around Busuanga. So my recommendation would be go now, before it becomes like the rest of SE Asia (Thai, Cambodia, Vietnam) and ends up on the gap yeah trail. The caveat being you do need a fair bit of time because the transport system is not set up for tourists and many places take a while to get to.

I agree about angeles though, it's really not a place to go to, although the red light district was interesting to wonder round for a short while (my GF being the ONLY white woman to be seen all day) everything interesting to do (such as Pinatobu) was very expensive, apparently because it's where a lot of Korean tourists go.

So yeah, go now, hire a driver, trike/bike for a day, boat, kayak etc and wander round the deserted islands/villages/markets/towns.

Love your photos as well, especially the trike photos.
 
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Amazing images, and a completely mesmerising account of your trip so far - despite needing to leave for work a good 20 minutes ago, I couldn't stop scrolling!

Definitely going to watch this thread :)
 
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Amazing images, and a completely mesmerising account of your trip so far - despite needing to leave for work a good 20 minutes ago, I couldn't stop scrolling!

Definitely going to watch this thread :)
Thanks Mike, at some point I'll post a 'Pre-Day-1 thread with our Images from Thailand, Cambodia, & Vietnam'. There might be a few knocking around my Flickr Feed! We took a pretty epic road trip through Vietnam (think the Top Gear Vietnam special). We bought 2 old Honda Win 110ccs in Saigon, rode them south round the Mekong Delta then took them all the way to Hanoi over the course of 2 months. Probably did 3.5-4,000 km all in. Managed to sell them in Hanoi for more than we paid as well!

Thinking about it there are a couple of videos on Vimeo from the GoPro. Way behind on editing the other legs!



Joe.
 
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Interesting your take on the Philippines. We went there over Christmas and while I agree with the sentiment that it can take forever to get to places that's part of the charm. I'd recommend going now before it's spoiled by the tourist industry. At the moment, outside of a couple of the main spots (Manila, Boracay and Bohol) the whole place is very untouristy. Even places like El Nido and Coron (where we spent a week) still only caters for a few non PI tourists. Outside of Bohol we found the people genuine, costs reasonable (not upped for tourists) and people genuinely friendly, interested in you, not your money. We did a week kayaking round Busuanga/Coron and had a lot of staring too, along with a few places off the beaten track in Bohol (we had a relative who's lived out there a while to show us round) and the staring was intense to begin with, before we realised it wasn't threatening, a lot of it was just curiosity. Many of the people we met had rarely seen a European where they lived, especially those around Busuanga. So my recommendation would be go now, before it becomes like the rest of SE Asia (Thai, Cambodia, Vietnam) and ends up on the gap yeah trail. The caveat being you do need a fair bit of time because the transport system is not set up for tourists and many places take a while to get to.

I agree about angeles though, it's really not a place to go to, although the red light district was interesting to wonder round for a short while (my GF being the ONLY white woman to be seen all day) everything interesting to do (such as Pinatobu) was very expensive, apparently because it's where a lot of Korean tourists go.

So yeah, go now, hire a driver, trike/bike for a day, boat, kayak etc and wander round the deserted islands/villages/markets/towns.

Love your photos as well, especially the trike photos.
Hey,

Agree with the sentiment, we had a great time but not quite the time we expected (if that makes sense). Part of it was having Christmas in the middle - it made travel either side very rushed & the weather was the worst the locals had seen for a long time! Very happy we had Christmas there tho and great to spend time with friends :).

Joe.
 
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Day 44

So we found ourselves in Daet, it's sort of the Blackpool of the Philippines mixed with a wild west town. We came here for the surfing but the weather made it impossible... so we decided to play some Bingo & get drunk!


Day 44 : Philippines : Daet : Blackpool of the Philippines
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 44 : Philippines : Daet : Blackpool of the Philippines
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 44 : Philippines : Daet : Blackpool of the Philippines
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 44 : Philippines : Daet : Blackpool of the Philippines
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 44 : Philippines : Daet : Blackpool of the Philippines
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr

Day 45

There really isn't much else to do here when the weather is bad..


Day 45 : Philippines : Daet : Blackpool of the Philippines
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr
 
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Day 45 - 49

Hi, so I lost a bunch of photos thanks to a failed SD card :(. Usually I run a triple backup system (2 HDDs + Cloud) but that relies on getting the images off first :(. Oh well... anyway, we are leaving PI now & heading back to Bangkok (Hua Hin) while our Myanmar visa is en-route! The final few days in Manila have been largely spending time with our friends before they head back to the UK. Been great to see some friendly faces mid way through our trip. Not feeling homesick just yet but great to know people are waiting for you to get back.


Day 44 - 49 : Philippines : Leaving for Bangkok (Myanmar next!)
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 44 - 49 : Philippines : Leaving for Bangkok (Myanmar next!)
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 44 - 49 : Philippines : Leaving for Bangkok (Myanmar next!)
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr


Day 44 - 49 : Philippines : Leaving for Bangkok (Myanmar next!)
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr

Joe.
 
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Day 50 : Thailand : Hua Hin

We are chilling out in Hua Hin for a few days while the Myanmar visa comes in. Will be taking a slight break from thinking too much about photography while we are here. There will be an image a day but we want some down time!


Day 50 : Thailand : Hua Hin : Dried Baby Squids..
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr

Day 51 : Thailand : Hua Hin Sunset


Day 51 : Thailand : Hua Hin : Sunset over the Pier
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr

As an aside this is the first time I've ever Photoshopped an image :).
 
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Day 52


Day 52 : Thailand : Hua Hin : Motorcycle Taxi to Nowhere (1sec exposure)
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr

Just the one photo from today. Taken handheld on the back of a bumpy motorbike Taxi in Hua Hin (apologies for the slight blur, OM-D IBIS did it's best!).

Day 53

Just the one shot from today - we made a last minute decision to head back to Bangkok a day early to sort the visas (turned out to be the right choice given the Visa queue @ 8am!).


Day 53 : Thailand : Hua Hin : mmmm, Doughnuts
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr
 
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Day 54

(Will post more from today from Myanmar - need to sleep now)

Today was an interesting one, sorted the Myanmar visas in the morning then off shopping in Bangkok for a few last minute bits. For those of you who don't know there are major protests in Bangkok with large sections of the road network blocked. It's called 'power down Bangkok' by the protest groups. Check BBC news for more details. It was an experience to be shopping in the middle of it all. The protests had a great carnival atmosphere with no sign of trouble and not a policeman in sight. One of those days where I WISHED the day was free just to wander around taking photos, but we only had a few hours to get all the shopping done then back to collect our passports. Maybe I'll get the chance in 28 days - would be surprised if the situation is resolved before we return to Bangkok!


Day 54 : Thailand : Bangkok : Reflecting on the Protests (Civil Unrest in Bangkok)
by _Jo Gray, on Flickr
 
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Very quick note - we head to Myanmar tomorrow & as I understand it internet access isn't great. There might be sparse updates for a while. I'm also leaving a bunch of kit (including Macbook Pro :( ) in storage while we are there. I'm hoping to do something with a bunch of memory cards, an Android Phone, and an iPad Mini. Not sure what 'something' looks like but hoping to have a makeshift mobile darkroom. Wish us luck :).
 
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