Hanging Out in Tagaytay


An hour’s drive from Metro Manila will take you to a cool place. In fact, in my beginning Tagalog textbook it shows up often in connection with coolness, as in, “Alin ang mas maginaw, ang Tagaytay o ang Baguio?” (Which is colder, Tagaytay or Baguio?) Both are mountainous areas known for providing relief from the summer heat. Both have terrific views. From many parts of Tagaytay, you can see the Taal Lake its volcanic crater, as well as the mountain ridges and forests where revolutionaries hid out during the 1896 the war against Spanish rule. Tagaytay is … Read More

At a Filipino Soup Kitchen

He wants to remain anonymous, so on his Filipino Facebook pages he’s Mang Urot and on his English pages, James Braddock, in a previous post. (Link) His crusade has grown.

On June 23, I followed him and his friend around while they brought supplies at the Divisoria Market, cooked, set up the soup kitchen in a bank parking lot, fed the hungry and cleaned up afterwards. For this event more of his family and friends were involved. About sixty people waited two hours for a hot meal, most of them children. These are people who live on a … Read More

A Walk in a Chinese Port Town

Xiamen, 1985

You’re standing on the shore near the docks, watching an artist paint the passenger boat which used to go down to Hong Kong but which now serves as hotel and nightclub.

In the nineteenth-century, Westerners called this harbor Amoy. It’s now called Xiamen [pronounced approximately shamen], meaning the “lower gate” to China. The two islands of Xiamen lie in Fujian Province across the strait from Taiwan. It was from here in 1661 that the seventeenth-century pirate-turned-patriot, the Ming loyalist Zheng Chenggong, trained his 990 ships and 25,000 marines and then drove the Dutch out of Taiwan. Later … Read More