Photographs. On The Road: Philippines. Vol. 1

I remember my first day in the Philippines: we were walking around in Mandaluyong with a friend, and every single person I met on the streets smiled or greeted me. “Helloooo. How are you today, sir?” Same was on the next day, and on every single day of the 6 months I spent in the country. Hitchhiking around the north of Luzon Island, the largest of 7107 islands that make the Philippine archipelago, I came to realize one important thing about people here: no matter what happens, they always smile.

Interesting fact: According to 2009 data from “The World Factbook”, the total length of roads in the Philippines is 213,151 kilometers.

Leaving Manila. On the Road to the Mountain province, Philippines.
On the Road from Manila to the Mountain province of the Philippines.
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Any Road Will Take You There…

Before January 2007 my life was all about studying, working and earning money to be able to live a decent life. Then I hit the Road for the first time, hitchhiking from Moscow to St. Petersburg (the ones in Russia) with a close friend of mine. It was all spontaneous. But it changed my life completely. Since that very first hitchhiking trip began the part of life I would call life on the Road… The Road became part of me. I guess it was always in there, hidden somewhere deep down in my soul in the form of a vague idea, waiting for the only kick to burst out. Many a Roads I had taken since then, yet many a Roads are still to be traveled one day. “You may not know where you came from, may not know who you are, may not have even wondered how you got this far… For if you don’t know where you’re going, any Road will take you there…”

On the Road to Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Early in the morning. January 2009.

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Manila, Philippines

From the top of Manila Fo Guang Shan Buddhist temple, where I’ve spent about a month during our 4-month temple stay in the Philippines, you could overlook the country’s capital, and the sunset time was the best. If you were lucky enough and the evenings weren’t cloudy, you could see how the sun sinks into the waters of Manila Bay. I wasn’t that lucky.

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Sagada: Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins

SECOND PART
read the first part here:
Sagada: Echo Valley & Hanging Coffins, First Part

It’s not hard to guess why the Echo Valley is called so.. Many tourists come here and standing on some cliff they shout out loud to hear the echo.. I personally find it very rude! What would you think of a person shouting at cemetery for his own pleasure, to enjoy the echo?! While for most of the tourists Echo Valley is a place where they can have fun, for locals it is a sacred site where they used to “bury” their ancestors..

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Sagada: Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins

FIRST PART
read the second part here:
Sagada: Echo Valley & Hanging Coffins, Second Part

I arrived in Sagada late in the evening on a minivan I hitchhiked on the road from Banawe.. I wasn’t sure if could make it from Banawe to Sagada that day, because I left Banawe around 5 o’clock in the evening, and knowing the conditions of the road in the Philippine Cordilleras, I was expecting an overnight stay somewhere on the road or in the jungles.. But the Fortune’s wheel was on my side that evening.. First, on a motorbike I reached a military base on some mountain top.. That was the best ride on a motorbike I ever experienced: we had to drive through clouds and sometimes even above the clouds; that high we were above the sea level..

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