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Only in Da Pilipins


By: Lourdes G. Mon


Rules of the Road (Nope), only in the Philippines!

First, about Filipino drivers not adhering to any Rules of the Road, putting themselves in harm’s way. As a passenger, it is an unsettling feeling, finding myself a backseat driver, as my husband weaves around motorcycles and tricycles, that crowd the streets and even highways. The tricycles are notorious for blocking all other vehicles, anywhere and everywhere. It happens in urban big cities, as well as in small town s. The motorcycles run through traffic like nobody’s business, hundreds of them at any given location. They cut in and out around cars or large vehicles with no regard for the traffic. I cannot assess if drivers in the Philippines are the best and most skilled in the world, or the nuttiest and most irresponsible. But the truth of the matter is to be unnerving, stressful and causes anxiety.

Venice Grand Canal Mall

As of now, here are the places of interest we have visited. The Venice Grand Canal Mall is located in Taguig, Rizal. It is a modern shopping mall that has a replica of the Grand Canals of Venice, Italy. Well, it’s very nice and clean more like the one at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The original in Venice, Italy, which I visited years ago, by its very nature being a natural resource has cloudy waters. In all three places, there are rental small boats that will take people around the canal. The one in Taguig is a pretty decent replica.

The Hundred Islands

The next one is The Hundred Islands, the pride and joy in Alaminos, Pangasinan. Indeed it was a nice sight park. Practically all the tiny islands of different shapes and sizes are not inhabited. However, a few of the islands have already been named after notable people and others like Quezon, Marcos, Governor, & Virgin. We only had to see them at a distance, because it was high tide and strong winds that day, unsafe to go by boat. There is a replica of the islands at the park that sufficed what we did not see closely.

Historical Vigan, Ilocos Sur; 6th President’s Hometown

Next visit was at the historical city of Vigan, Ilocos Sur. A year ago, the town experienced the worst natural calamity, devastated by a very strong earthquake. Built in 1790 to 1800, the centuries-old Catholic Church in the center of town was totally damaged, and is still in the process of rebuilding. The hometown of the 6th Philippine President Elpidio Quirino is being restructured and built quickly in modern day designs. In front of the church, which used to be occupied by street vendors, is now a beautiful park, with a dancing fountain at night, a small version of Bellagio’s in Las Vegas. The old homes with capis-shell windows are restored pretty fast, too.

Tagaytay City, Taal Volcano

Tagaytay City is one of the favorite spots visited by tourists. Much improvement has taken place since I was there before Covid. The street-level open market is now a two-story building. I bought all my favorite Asian fruits and vegetables like Korean pears, soursops, coconuts, Thai durian, saluyot leaves, and malunggay. The small street eateries are gone. They have better places across the street from the market. My favorite restaurant that overlooks Taal Volcano has expanded. It’s a very nice location for excellent dining, clean with uniformed waitstaff, a scenic atmosphere for photos, including selfies. Until next issue, ‘Mabuhay’ from the Philippines.

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