Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Travel and Culture’ Category

Read Full Post »

Today I leave for Thailand.  I’ll be spending the weekend in Bangkok, four days in Koh Penang, one night in Chiang Mai, and four days in Pai before returning to Bangkok for four more days.  On April 4th I fly to Rangoon in Myanmar for a ten-day trek through the kingdom.  I will be updating the blog whenever I get a chance.

Read Full Post »

“If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose- because it contains all the others- the fact that they were the people who created the phrase to make money. No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity- to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created.” – Ayn Rand

Wine on the beach tastes better when it's stolen.

I read this week that the victims of supervillains Bernie Madoff and R. Allen Stanford have joined forces to lobby congress to compensate them for their losses.  There are few people I have less sympathy for than the wealthy victims of a Ponzi scheme.  These are not people whose homes were destroyed in a flood.  They are not women whose husbands have died unexpectedly, leaving them widowed and poor.  Rather, they willingly gave their money to a crook who duped them into believing he could do what anyone with a basic understanding of the stock market knows is a mathematical impossibility.  With consistent annual returns of 10-12%, why bother with a savings?  Whether or not they were greedy, they participated in something called the market.  And as sure as day becomes night, the market rises and falls.  The victims knew this.  When it all came tumbling down, I’m sure it was a tough pill to swallow. (more…)

Read Full Post »

One side benefit of coming to the Philippines has been that my music consumption has skyrocketed.  Here are the ten albums making the rounds lately:

1.  Percy Hill, “Color in Bloom”

(more…)

Read Full Post »

When I first arrived in country, I stayed at a hostel in Manila called Friendly’s Guesthouse.  There I met a British ex-pat living in Malaysia that has been on the road for the past twenty years.  He was at the end of a three-month trip through the Philippines, and he really hated the food here.  When we talked about the typhoon, Ondoy, that hit Manila last fall, he said the streets were so flooded that the government had difficulty getting food to the inhabitants up north.  “You’d think they’d be celebrating,” he said.

This is usually the first and, more often than not, the second and third impression of foreigners in the Philippines.  For one thing, the food in the Philippines is much less spicy and flavorful than its Southeast Asian counterparts.  Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, even Cambodia use a wider array of spices, giving to food a kick unlike anything you’d really find here in the Philippines.  But the reality is that food in the Philippines is delicious, if you know what to order. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Check out my latest photos from Bantayan Island, Cebu City, and Boracay.

Budyong Beach, our resort.

Learning to juggle. I'm a natural.

Distributing knowledge...

Read Full Post »

The ubiquitous "Principles of Dungganon" sign.

This weekend I went to Cebu, an island east of Negros, for the Kiva rollout in the NWTF branches.  I traveled as part of a five-person team, including Massah, the photography consultant, Raymond, the research manager, Jubert, the IT manager, and Presy, the Kiva coordinator.  Pocholo, a friend of Raymond’s, needed a lift to Cebu and caught a ride with us.  The six of us loaded the infamous red van and left at 7 AM on Thursday morning.  The road to the port in San Carlos normally takes 3.5 hours, but we chose to take a shortcut through the mountains on a winding two-lane road cut neatly into the side of a cliff.  Unfortunately, by the time we arrived at the port, the ferry was full.  The next ferry didn’t leave until 2:30 in the afternoon, so we drove three hours south along a coastal road to another port in Aclan, where the ferry leaves every hour and takes 30 minutes to cross.  Once on the other side, we had another three-hour trip back up north.  Twelve hours later, we arrived in Cebu City and checked into a hotel.

Our route, highlighted by the black arrows

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »