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A round the world trip in more than 80 days.

Why this blog ?

Our aim : travel and discover the world during 353 days and through some fifhteen countries. We are hoping that this blog will allow us to share the experience with our family and friends thanks to the posts and photos that we will be publishing and also thanks to their comments.

Currently ...

now. For the moment, we are gently readapting from nomadic to sedentary life.


Philippines : first steps in Southest Asia

We have for sure loved New Zealand's beautiful landscapes and Australia's wildlife variety. But it is also true that they are extremely Westernised and developed countries : so clean, so organised, so “nothing out of place”. By the time our Australian trip was coming to its end, we were starting to miss the colours, the liveliness and the spontaneity that we had met in South America.

A good timing for this feeling since the next country in our list was the Philippines. Just a few hours after boarding our plane, gone were the 21 million inhabitants of Australia, the manicured gardens, the cute and polished houses, the all alike Sydney buses and the cries of lorikeets and cockatoos in the parks. We were welcomed instead by 11-million-soul Manila, by a no-frills and in many cases still unfinished housing, by colourful and flashy jeepneys and tricycles customised to the taste of the owner and by the crowing of cocks (that has been following us everywhere, even to the airport and the ferries where fight roosters travel in individual cardboard boxes).

The Philippines is an archipelago of some 7000 tropical islands. Wanting to keep Manila for the end, we started the discovery of the country by diving in the Coral Reefs of Apo Island. We hopped from there to Bohol island to enjoy a weird landscape called “Chocolate Hills”, and to have a look at the smallest primate in the world, the tarsier (that fits in a hand and have got the eyes and ears of Star Wars' Yoda). We also took advantage of our stay in this island to spend a few days in the jungle by the Loboc river. The Bicol region was our next destination, where we went swimming along with the whale sharks and saw the smoke emanating from the Mayon volcano (just a few weeks before our arrival it was possible to spot lava flowing down its slopes).

Towns are by far not beautiful, but they are full of energy and contrasts : modern malls, creepy popular markets, beauty and massage centres, little stands offering a variety of products, not all of the highest taste (like those selling knee-high plastic religious images), a variety of fast-foods and little food stalls, run-down although still highly visited churches and commercials for male entertainment bars on the tourist TV channel.

Prior to our arrival, we were expecting to experience language issues for the first time in our trip, so we were surprised to find that practically everybody speaks fluent English. Even the signs are written mostly in this language, both in town and in the countryside. The Filipinos, tanned and almond-eyed, are easy-smiling, friendly and early-risers. At one of the villages we stayed, children were already at school around 7 am, and 6 am is considered to be late enough to play pop-rock music loud enough for all the village to enjoy it.

It is also a quite cheap country. We find refreshing that people are mostly straightforward, and to be able to get around without being made feel like a dollar-bill with legs or being chased upon arriving to a place. Although we have witnessed our share of poverty and even if there is a considerable number of firearms around, it is possible to walk around with less paranoia than in some points of South America.

In short, the Philippines are allowing us to soft-land in Asia, an experience that looks promising.