March 18, 2024 – Manila – Our second stop in the Philippines.

We made our second stop in the Philippines in the far north at Ilocos, the very northern tip pf the island. Virgin City is a World Heritage site. The weather is perfect. This is a very historic area with special architecture where the church steeple is set aside from the church due to earthquakes. The farm land is covered in corn, tobacco and other produce.

There is no industry to speak of here.

We did stop at a pottery manufacturing enterprise. It was a family business where everything is done by foot operated pottery wheels as in ancient days. The mountains slice through this area like the dorasl fin of a shark.

There are thousands of motor cycles with side cars racing around the island for quick and cheap transportation.

We drove an hour on or bus to the first stop. The buses here have seats closer together than in other places due to the size of the locals I suppose. It was a tight fit and I’m only five-nine.

The people here are fine boned and slight for the most part. They are a mix of the original race found here and the Chinese and Spanish mixed in. They are a handsome people for the most part. We are a large animal compared to the locals, no doubt.

We stopped at a church that had been damaged during WW ll and an earthquake. I could see into the thick rubble filled walls. The inner core was made of smooth river stone and then the flat bricks were stacked over both sides of that core. The brick was more like a tile rather than a brick. The walls were then plastered over. There was no cement used to build the walls. The builders used their own mix of ingredients to make a substitute. It seemed to work.

There is no divorce in this Catholic country, so pick your wife carefully and behave.

There are horse drawn carriages and jitneys of all types traveling down the streets.

There was a series of rebellions due to the Spanish occupation and a series of national heroes, both men and women emerged. The clergy sometime fought against the Spanish as well. This is a beautiful place to visit if you wish to step back into the past. The roofs of the buildings are capped in red tile and the walls are all white stucco. The streets are paved with stone.

Only local money is accepted and no credit cards. Of course there is a small place to change your money when necessary right across from the ice cream shop. That worked out nicely for us as we had a desire for some ice cream. They had many wonderful fruit flavors to choose from.

There is a park or plaza here named for the local hero where high school children and families sat in the sun and shade. The high school kids sat in groups of boys and girls, still a little suspicious or wary of the opposite sex.

The elderly have many financial discounts and privileges here in the Philippines. No waiting in line if you are over sixty. It might be a good place to retire if you aren’t in as good of shape financially as you had hoped.

There is the true story of the gold that the Japanese were hoarding here and waiting to be sent back to Japan. Any thing and everything made of gold was taken from the locals and the banks and hidden in deep tunnels. It has never been found. People still come her looking for the treasure.

The engineers who dug the tunnels were killed by the Japanese when they were finished and few knew where the gold was buried. You can lease a plot of land and dig for it but half will go to the government. Years ago the man who gave permission to dig was Marcos’ brother. Perhaps they found some of it and that added to their wealth.

March 18, Tuesday evening. The seas are up. The winds are blowing at fifty miles an hour with twelve foot swells. A little change in the weather is upon us.

More of ‘The Bad Seed” is just around the corner.