Home Random Shots from Vietnam and the Philippines
March 2014

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Walking along the street of my hotel in Saigon, I peered into the front door of a house

found this big family gathering

they invited me to hang around, fed me a little

and I sang They Call the Wind Mariah for them

Along that street (and many streets) are lots of ad hoc food shops

Thanh, a friend from two years ago, runs a popular sidewalk coffee shop

My first morning there I hung out for about 3 hours

Viet had brought his guitar, and he sang and played

I contributed several songs

with Thanh

Next to Thanh's shop is a typical street cafe

fast food at its best

Thanh's shop consists of very minimal apparatus

enough to make coffee, tea, smoothies, etc.

Right in front of Thanh's shop is a one-woman newstand

run by Linh (on left)

seen here with Van, who also has a street shop for breakfast

After a few days in Saigon I moved on to Mui Ne, where I'd spent a month, two years ago

right on the South China Sea

Here are some photos of my hotel from two years ago)

In 2011 I met Nguyet, who teaches English to students, after their normal school day

She lives in Phan Thiet, 10 km from Mui Ne

She has set up a primitive classroom in her home

As before, I came and conversed with the students and sang songs in English for them

In response to my songs, Hang sang a couple of very lovely songs

Phan Thiet has a most colorful fleets of fishing boats

The Philippines

In 2011 in Cambodia I met Ivar, a Norwegian man who had married Maribeth, a Philippina

They live on Camiguin Island in the Philippines

I flew from Saigon to Cebu City

then an overnight ferry to Camiguin Island

Dormitory style sleeping

I was amused to see this innovative use of sheets

to make a hammock

Ivar and his family  live 7km up the mountain from the main town on Camiguin

Their son Lars is 4 years old

Anna Sofia is 7 years old

They put me up in their lovely guest house

they've developed the property lovingly and profusely

They've created quite a variety of structures on their dramatic hillside

connected by concrete walkways

with a dramatic view out to sea

While there, we did a day trip to Mantique Island

idyllic setting, with dazzling white sand

To get there, we waded out to one of these boats


and chugged away for 10 minutes

then enjoyed a little frolic in the pristine water

When I asked Ivar what I should see in the Philippines

he suggested Vigan, on the island of Luzon north of Manila

it's a  World Heritage Site, one of the few towns in the Philippines where many Spanish colonial buildings are still intact

Ivar was interested in the lamps/lanterns on these buildings

so I hung out in Vigan for a week, shooting many photos for Ivar

and soaking up the ambiance

al fresco dining every evening at Cafe Leona

including a lovely time with fellow travelers

Rohan, Ferdnand, Roberto, Lolita

The Philippines has a lot of jeepneys like this

They run regular routes

Base fare typically about 8 pesos
(.20 usd)

Tricycles are also popular in the Philippines

t's a motorbike with a sidecar

there are many variations 


these, on Camiguin Island, are quite open

and can haul a half dozen passengers with relative ease  

the ones found in Vigan, though, require that you first get into the fetal position, then slide into the tiny compartment 

Many of Vigan's tricycles are also noted for their ornate and inventive ornamentation

(this one is also roomier)

A variation on this theme is the pedal tricycle

this one in Cagayan de Oro 

 they're also ubiquitous in parts of Manila

In Manila, waiting for the bus to Vigan, this tricycle rolled in 

Padal tricycle

yes, pedal

haven't they heard of center of gravity? 

and as you might expect, there are cargo versions also 

Vigan also contributes the galesa to the transport mix

an elegant way to tour the town 

which I did in this one


with two Philippina ladies 
Back in Cambodia now

In Battambang

down a small country road

is a train station

The Bamboo Train

Each car consists of a simple bamboo platform

sitting on two pairs of steel wheels

powered by a small engine

All aboard!

(I think I heard that, but I'm not sure)

At any rate, we're departing right on schedule

for where?


After a scant four or five minutes we see an obstacle ahead

Another train approacheth

clearly someone has to yield

so they do

Their bamboo platform is lifted off its wheels

set aside

and then the wheels

and we're on our way again

leaving them to the re-assembly (a 30-second job)

on the way back, we again passed others who had to "dismount"

Safe and sound, back at the station

the toy train ride is over
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