the philippines (asia part 1)

// Personal, Travel

when by chance, you happen to add on an item from the buffet counter to your plate. and then it blows your mind. and because of that happy accident, that item will always be a favorite. never able to get it out of your life.

that is the philippines.

added to the travel order by word of mouth it was good.

this place. was more than good. spend some time there and it will steal your heart. gone. in a bag, kidnapped. your heart belongs there. that’s how much i love the philippines. one of the top 2 places in the world. in my opinion.

seattle to taipei. taipei to manila. spent only a day and a half in the big city of manila. poor. and dirty. and buildings half way torn down. but amazing, and friendly. and smiles and hellos around every corner. school children. and sweat. and humidity. and $3 half hour foot massages and the most glorious 3 hours in a spa that would suit royalty.

manila to coron. off the little plane and into a jeep’van, and thru what looks like jurassic park. thru windy roads, where children run out of the jungle-forest to see what car is coming down the road. and at the end of that windy road is a village town. coron. dirt road. motorbikes. little shops. children everywhere. animals roaming. stores lit by candles in the evening. houses and buildings on stilts in the water. you cant be there for 5 minutes without feeling, you are far far away from home and very much so in a different culture.

after one night in a hut, with mosquito nets over us, we ended up at what would be our home for the next week. sea dive. where heaven meets coron. $12 a night. on the water. open air. people that would rival jesus for their kindness. 

—> so our days in coron set the bar high. kayaking across the ocean. renting a private boat daily. just me and T. our own boat men, who spoke barely any english, but we loved them. meals cooked for us, chosen from the market that morning. scuba. island hopping. swimming in the purest water in the philippines. lakes heated by volcanic activity. the night market. that one guy we bought street meat from every night. ice cream for .15. mango smoothies.

over everything we did, living like (filipino) queens. accommodation. scuba. the private boat. 3 meals a day. get this, all for $176.  read that again. no really. it’s .02 to the dollar. its basically free. 

i kind of want to cry. i just want to go back.

this place stole my heart.

most of all. over everything else. it was the people that made the impression. they stop you on the street to see how you like their country. they are full of yes ma’am’s and will literally give you the shirt off their back. even if its their only one. the children run to you. all they do is laugh. and sing. and play. the town is filled with happiness, even though they have next to nothing. they see your boat pull up on their island and insist you join their picnic. they pour you their whiskey, give you their fish.

they are the most. the most. wonderful people.

i will stop there. i could go on for days. the cool part about our trip was: we didnt feel the pressure to have to shoot everything. some things we just experienced. some days (alot of days) we didnt even take our camera out. we just experienced it. and that, i love. and that, is what time off meant for me.

here are bits and pieces of one of the most special places i’ve ever had the opportunity to be. 

it is a gem. 

[ manila ]

[ coron ]

you dont exactly want to pet the animals there. for reals.

see the cross atop the mountain? then….see the image below it? we climbed 700+ stairs in hella humidity. totally worth it.

our sea dive. home away from home.

kinda clear water.

our sweet angelica. became our home on water.

on our way to lake kayangan. (not in this image) the clearest water in the philippines. and literally one of the most angelic places on earth.

our ‘captain’ ryan….cooking us up lunch.

one of our boat boys.

the color doesnt lie.

oh my goodness.

weirdest coolest fruit ever.

they all smile. and they all say thank you afterward. its precious.

the weirdest man we’ve ever met. also beginning of an awesome night. tranny karaoke?!

coron set the bar high. no place could even compare to this place. 

i was planning my trip back before we even left.

if you are planning a honeymoon (or trip) i cannot say enough words to tell you how much i’d advise you going to the philippines. its the most charming place in the world.

up next …. our time in Vietnam and Thailand.

  1. Brian Furbush

    These are stunning, it sounds like an amazing adventure. Can’t wait to see your Thailand frames.

  2. Jessica Bossé

    This is brilliant. I am half filipino and I have to say that these images capture the true essence of their culture. Simply stunning and now I want to go back to photograph my families beach house on the ocean! Extremely nostalgic.

  3. Abby Hacker

    Wow. Looks like an amazing trip! Would love to know – what preparations did you do for the trip? I am thinking about a trip there, but have no idea where to start!

  4. jason ball

    Loved living there.. it was amazing. I was there when Mt. Pinatubo erupted and was evacuated so our stay was short (6 months) but it was amazing how much it stuck with me through the years. It is a great place. As usual.. you documented it wonderfully.

  5. wreckless

    oh, goodness. all of it. color. LIFE. story.

  6. Pamela Evans

    The baby sleeping in the basket. So priceless.

  7. Airika Pope

    I love how candidly you write, and I love these photos. I spent a few weeks in the Philippines many years ago, and I couldn’t agree with you more. The people and the culture are one of the warmest and most charming that I’ve ever encountered.

  8. Tonhya Kae

    i want to go back. now. stunning post my dear.

  9. Kat Evidente

    I’m in awe how you experienced and captured your trip. Thanks for posting the pics and actually writing about your experiences.

  10. Krissy L

    I’ve been eagerly awaiting your Asia photos. We were in Vietnam in November, maybe around the same time you were? Your photos are beautiful! Immediately after arriving back home, I got swept into Christmas festivities and the photos are still sitting on my hard drive. You’ve inspired me to dig through them and see what wonderful memories I can uncover. I love the way you’ve captured the Philippines and can’t wait to see the rest.

  11. christina elston

    so beautiful. love the ones of the hut on the hillside and of the baby sleeping.

  12. Kiley

    wow. these are so beautiful. your pictures are so full of emotion and raw beauty.

  13. Hannah Nicole

    I LOVE this, andria. this is amazing and beautiful and SO DANG incredible.

  14. alex anne

    what an amazing amazing experience! stunning photos, can’t wait to see more!

  15. Asia

    your pictures give me life!

  16. francis

    You captured such precious and captivating images. I’m born and raised in Philippines.. these touched me and brought me back. I’ve never been to Coron.. but I now have a new destination in my must do list. Thank you for sharing these.. we are a very proud culture and I’ll be blasting this post all over the web. Loved it.

  17. ellie be

    these are so powerful and beautiful.

  18. Nate

    You’ve got me “homesick” to go back to the Philippines! These images are amazing and perfectly capture the culture there. You photographed everything good thing about the Philippines I remember: the kids, city life, dogs eating their fleas, spiked fences and gates, tires used everywhere, jeepney’s, trikes… the list goes on! These are awesome.

  19. rachael

    i’ve never thought of asia before but this is totally changing my mind! those kids are so precious 🙂 so full of joy!

  20. Karen

    Love those kids. Love these colors. So good. Make a book.

  21. Jade Sheldon

    Ok, you’ve convinced me: I MUST travel there with my sweetheart…

  22. Malvina

    Waou! It looks amazing, you so make me want to go there! And gorgeous images as usual. I need to check flight tickets now!

  23. Katie

    These are stunningly gorgeous. I’ve been there before and you’ve captured the essence perfectly.

  24. Kelsee Reeves

    I. CANNOT. WAIT. to see your thailand and vietnam images. I spent two months there in 2011 and seriously FELL IN LOVE like WHOA!!! I’m nervous your images are going to make my desire to go back even stronger (but i secretly want them to) because your images and words of the Philippines definitely put a tug on my wanderlusty heart. you’re so gifted friend!

  25. Chris Simons

    You’ve captured more than just amazing photos for the eyes. I feel like I just experienced the culture and beauty of the Philippines through this set. Absolutely beautiful and inspiring Andria.

  26. Kelsey

    What a treat it is in the middle of a drab workday to come here and feel like I’m actually in the gorgeous Philippines.. Thank you so much for sharing.

  27. Sarah

    These are absolutely stunning. Coming from a person who lives in the Philippines herself, they just perfectly capture the essence of these islands and the joy of the people who live here.

  28. Anja

    Reading this post almost felt like being there. Yet, I’m sure the actual feeling of being can’t truly be described. But, your captures are THE closest thing. Stunning, Andria.

  29. carissa

    hi andria, these are incredible photos from my country, will religiously read your blog for more surreal photos. I’m glad you enjoyed and appreciated the beauty of the philippines and my country men.

    • Marv

      Holy shztini, this is so cool thank you.

  30. Josh

    This is amazing!! Thank you for visiting my country! Come back soon!! id love to tour you around next time haha! x