Philippines Travel Stories, Page 14

Baguio to Vigan Philippines Bus

Baguio to Vigan Philippines Bus
We took a 275 Peso bus from Baguio to Vigan, Philippines it was a fun ride however not for the impatient traveler. It took 6.5 hours to travel 105 miles, what is that, hmm, it is 16 miles per hour. I had better check, yes it is 16.15 miles per hour.

I can travel faster in East or West Africa.

Vigan, Philippines
Southeast Asia
Wednesday, August 5, 2009


You can budget 2 hours travel time Baguio to Bauang another four to five hours from Bauang to Vigan. I know a few Backpacker friends who came to the Philippines, turned around, and flew out within a week. Not because of the travel times, because of the cost of Hotels.

Cebu Pacific is my designated savior of the Philippines, the country is extremely lucky this Airline started when it did.
Cheap Philippines Flights
(Cebu Pacific, send me 150 for that perfect SEO link.. hehehe)

I like all countries, they are all fun in a voyeuristic way and the Philippines has more to see than any other country I know and truly is a Backpackers nightmare. A Backpacker can travel in Europe for about the same price, there is very few ways to travel dirt cheap in the Philippines. To do so, you must do incredible amounts of research and call ahead to make sure the price of Hotels is correct and move slower than a snail, the faster you move the more it cost.

A Backpacker must be willing to pay 25 to 50 U.S. dollars per day per person.

I just explained how far we went in Kilometers; she gave me a big lecture, on a public bus in Thailand the same trip would have taken three hours for what we did in six point five.

I know this, I know this, I know this, and I am trying not to think about it. I do not care that is primitive, I just want everyone to stop telling me it is modern, I am here because I know it is primitive.

Traveling to many countries is an absolute hindrance to enjoying the Philippines. I can only say that traveling to West Africa, Togo, Benin and Ghana is about the same, or an analogous trip.

When in Europe a person can travel by the cheap book online airlines from city to city and avoid the expensive trains. I truly recommend a Backpacker forget the idea of overland travel, you must focus on Cebu Pacific Airlines and try to get 100 dollar a pop trips and learn how to make a fake onward ticket.

We visited 20-25 Hotels here in Vigan looking for Internet WIFI in the room. Guess what, the cheapest Hotel; a room we could find for 495 Pesos has Internet in the room. The better the room, the worst the internet access, tourist industry is backwards on services, the more you pay the less you get for your money.

Baguio to Vigan Philippines Bus

Burnham Lake Park

Burnham Lake Park
Baguio, Philippines has a lake in the center of the city; if you walk down hill from Session road, it would be hard to miss Burnham Park and the Lake. Session Road is the center of everything in Baguio; it is the starting point of all understanding of this large city, find Session road on the Map.

I said large, because we took a taxi for 100 Pesos to La Trinidad a city 2-3 kilometer north the other day and never left the city

Baguio is destined to become a megalopolis, one of the targets of immigration. Presently the people of the world are moving to the city, and off course, they must choose a city, Baguio is one of the chosen cities in the Philippines.

Baguio, Philippines
Southeast Asia
Tuesday, August 4, 2009


This is the lake in the center of Burnham Park, a family place; I suspect a good place to girl watch.

I would recommend you walk down Session Road, buy some cheap bread, walk to this park, sit and watch the Philippine culture it is the better half.


There is an intangible, untouchable quality about Philippines girls and young people this can maybe be explained with these Duck Boats. Philippines people are playful, they say yes sir, hello sir, they can be extra ordinarily polite. It is difficult to explain, hard to touch, I can walk by 10 staff workers in the hotel and not one will say hello, they may never start a conversation. I can try to buy something and they will say no, they do not have it and I am looking right at it, there is no desire to work.

This is a no win situation for me, however the Philippines culture is childlike, best appreciated when you treat the people like children. Do not expect too much, do not hope for them to be responsible, however if you wanted to go ride on a Duck Boat, this is the perfect culture to share the ride.

There is a balancing act that needs to be done in the Philippines; you need to take a triple dose of Duck Boats daily and one dose of reality here to enjoy the country. This is not the place to do business, it is nuts, way over the edge crazy, the Philippines is a cultural amusement park. Take your triple dose of Duck Boats and keep your mouth shut, not an easy thing for me to do.

Burnham Lake Park

Working in Baguio Philippines on Internet

Working in Baguio Philippines on Internet
I want to work, I cannot say I need to work, my income is passive, however if I was able to have a 24 hours, seven day a week Internet connection in my room I would feel safer.

I am worried, I am both excited and panicky at the same time, and this graph of the last 30 days of traffic on has me nervous.

Baguio, Philippines
Southeast Asia
Monday, August 3, 2009


The internet in the Hotel stopped working about three or four days ago, they say it will come on today, however
“Welcome to the Philippines.”

There is no reason to explain why the internet is on or off, or why, I just know I am nervous. I got myself upset yesterday, hollered at my Thai Girlfriend for truly no reason. I apologized and she starts talking about the internet. I minimized it, but maybe she knows me, I am happier when I have a connection. I can use my BlackBerry Storm from Verizon with a great data connection to write this Travel Journal, I can do mild surfing, however to control keep my finger on the pulse of this 13 million page website I would feel safer with an internet connection in my room.

I have a page called Mobile Office where I try to explain how to work on the internet and travel.

I am going to update the Mobile Office page and explain, if we want to travel and work in Hotels, we need to have two Hotels, when things get stupid in one Hotel, we can switch. I cannot find Hotel number two here in Baguio. I have yet to find a second or alternative Hotel with unlimited, 24/7 Free internet connection that works inside my Hotel room. I cannot just walk down the street to an internet café, there is no internet café close.

What is needed to work on the internet overseas?

1. Two Hotels with 24/7 internet free in the room and in the same city that rent room for less than 1000 dollars per month. Can you believe it, I sometimes pay up to 1000 dollar per month. This is how much it cost for me to not sign a lease on an apartment and to have freedom to travel anywhere. (I do not pay by the month, what do I do if the connection breaks, I need the freedom to change hotels.)

2. One or two Internet cafes within 200 yards or meters of the each of the Hotel that stays open 24 hours.

3. Verizon Data Connection so I can reply to emails and deal with normal business correspondence on the BlackBerry.

Most executives stay in the Hilton, Marriot and pay about 3000-4000 dollars per month to stay in Business.

I truly wish Hotels cared about their Internet connection.

I could upgrade the budget to 2000 US Dollars per month Hotel room cost here and keep a Mobile office running easy enough; however, at 1000 it is difficult. Employees enjoy when things break, this means they do not have to work… The Duck Inn in the Manila in the Malate - Ermita area is the closest to ideal I have found in this country.

I do not think a person can travel from place to place and keep a 24/7 hour connection in their room for less than 3000 dollar per month Hotel bill. There is a reason business people stay in Hiltons, Marriott and Sheraton Hotels. (The boss is paying)

If you do not move, rent an apartment you can minimize the problems, but you better not call yourself a traveler.

I wrote this post on my computer, loaded it on my BlackBerry Storm and sent with a Verizon Global Data Connection, including the graphic.

Working in Baguio Philippines on Internet

Camp John Hay

Camp John Hay
Baguio, Philippines is the home of Camp John Hay, what used to be a USA Military Camp. Moreover, as best understand now is a Philippine Government ran real estate investment. The shining star of this camp in my opinion is the Manor Hotel. Located on the edge of a small mountain with a fresh outlook over the hills and valleys of Baguio this is Heaven, it is clean.

Baguio, Philippines
Southeast Asia
Sunday, August 2, 2009


This man made fountain in the Manor Hotel inside Camp Hay is one of truly magnificent, and a needed reprieve for weary travelers.

“May the lord bless you and forgive you for the places you visited in the Philippines.”

If you are the least big introspective, if your brain has a teeny sense of self-awareness, you have to ask yourself,
“Why go to Baguio?”

Truly, in my opinion, there are no tourist attractions in Baguio, if you lined up on a list of tourist places to visit in the world, this is zero. Then why are so many foreigners living in Baguio, why do many come and visit, I would propose this, they want a reprieve from Hell, they want mercy. Try to consider and think of hell as confusion and chaos, and heaven as clarity. Then after you live the good life, we are rewarded.

What is the reward for being a good person in the Philippines?
“They send you to Baguio.”
For the Saints, they you get to immigrate to the USA.

Manor Hotel Baguio Philippines inside Camp Hay

After you walk by the reception, after you walk by the fine dining, after you confidently express you are a foreigner, you can stand around on the Veranda area of the Manor Hotel and feel very clean.

Yes, the Manor Hotel in the camp is priced correctly by world standards, what a reprieve…

Hmm, off season prices, truly a tricky country.
2,900 Peso for one person
3,150 Peso for a double room.
Manor Baguio Hotel

Ok, this is rather good deal for the rainy season, I truly do not want to dig into this further; it is not wise to understand too much in the Philippines, a good deal today, is only a good deal today.

Hmm, I have yet to stay in one Hotel room that is priced properly by world standards, these are the Philippines is the champion of giving you no value for too much money. However, for a couple, on vacation, who needs forgiveness for going to Manila, the Manor Hotel is the place, it is forgiveness, and it is beautiful.

Hmm, if the Manor is leading you to Heaven, the Real Estate is temptation to enter Hell. I am a real estate expert, I sold about 80-100 commercial and residential properties as a Broker in Indiana.

1. 37 Year lease, what is remaining of 50, truly a deal which is less attractive by the year.
2. 300 dollar per square meter, about 200,000 to 400,000 for a lot.
3. You then probably need to pay 200,000 to bribe, push, and build a house
4. Then to boot, you must pay 125 dollars monthly maintenance fee.

Bottom line, do not buy in the Philippines, I have never seen any reason to buy in the Philippines. I personally am not going to invest in Pesos, and do not trust the powers that be to keep their hands out of my pockets. There is something genetically hardwired into the brain of an American, the first thing they do in life is try to buy Real Estate problems overseas.

Learn this:
If a property is selling for 500,000, it should rent for 5,000 dollars, if you can rent it for 500 dollars, this is windfall for a rental and a disaster for a buyer.

Well, anyway you do, if you got the money, if you need two days, maybe two weeks remission from the Chaos of Manila. If you are in Angeles city and want to wipe the sleaze off your pants, this is good place to bring a girl in tow. If you are tourist who never leaves the resort and wears rose colored glasses, this is the place to be, the Manor Hotel inside a military camp with no military.

Funny how the Brits saved the wild animals of East Africa by making places for the Kings, Queens and Nobility to hunt. This spot of land was saved by war, now it is an oasis of peace with a lot of noise outside.

If you are a saintly traveler, I suppose you choose a good path and a good hotel while surrounded by many bad choices.

Note, I often give you sketchy, dodgy information about touristy crap, I do not want you to blindly trust me, I want some open gaps in my story. I want you to take a good long look at the girl, feel her belly, interview her friends, talk to her mother yourself before you purchase a temporary wife or home.

Camp John Hay

The Culture Punishes for Asking Questions

The Culture Punishes for Asking Questions
Many cultures punish people who ask too many questions; unfortunately my Thai Girlfriend is from one of these cultures. I have been trying for the last couple of years to explain this to her, instead of talking about the Thailand culture the conversation ends in her pouting.

In Africa, I knew I could ask two or three questions before they overheated.

In India, asking a question is often the prompt to get a lecture for the next half hour.

Asking a British person a question is their prompt to make fun of you for the next lifetime, this is called “Taking the Piss,” they especially like to wind up the Americans. I call them,
“My mean older brother.”

Baguio, Philippines
Southeast Asia
Friday, July 31, 2009


There is a face made by both the Thailand and Philippines girls that is classic. It is a scowl, the Philippines girls have a little more lip action, and the Thailand one is more mean spirited. It is about control, as everyone often feels powerless; they enjoy tweaking out any small sense of power they can pull out of people.

I learn maybe 25 years ago to be aware when I get angry, or when another person gets angry, there is something we want to change. I can change my clothes; I cannot change people, places or things.

The difference between a developed nations and underdeveloped nations is their ability to solve problem. Thailand the Philippines will tolerate a problem for their whole life. They can be abused emotionally by their family and feel this debt for being born, I cannot imagine wanting payback for having a baby, but this is a common way of treating children on the planet.

A functional person or culture will try to find solutions to problems, while a dysfunctional person will endlessly talk about the problems, never once offering solutions, they think the solution is talking about it, which is a start, I personally watch for movement, I want to see the person move, not talk.

As for me, when I feel myself overheating, starting to cook, I start to think of solutions, I do not stew, I guess I do stew until I find a solution… hehehe

Noise in Hotels is the reasons for Air Conditioning, landscaping, large curtains and changing rooms or hotels. Street traffic, these incredibly smoke belching, loud jeepneys, the transportation throwback to World War II are a noise hazard. She was angry this morning because of noise, but she was not going to tell me.

I have been looking for Apartments and Hotels, it is hilarious, and generally, they have the Hotels on the noisiest streets. They do not have much choice, build in a ghetto, or build on a noisy main street. Well, truly the solution in the Philippines is to go up, they have tons of high-rise buildings, up is the only quiet place.

Well, I asked the Thailand person,
“Why are you angry?”

She does not want to answer, I cannot change Thailand people, I cannot change a culture, and I must accept and guess what the problem is. When I see the scowl on her face, I am supposed to be sensitive to her, and allow here to control me.

Fun crap, and ridiculous to me, I am uncontrollable, but I am sensitive, I know I have a personal problem with the Thailand culture. Just think, I can be thrown in jail in Thailand for talking or commenting about certain people. Here in the Philippine some 60 plus journalist have been killed in this administration as I understand.

Burn the books, do not ask question, truly an interesting culture this punish us for asking questions.

I was one of them annoying kids; I asked so many questions of my Mom she would finally say,
“Just because.”

I learned at an early age to not ask too many questions, I was surrounded by overheating parents, teachers, and friends, truly everyone around me, all of them. I now distribute my questions, I will only ask about three of any one human, it is not fun to be punished for being smart, I learned to be an oversensitive kid to stop the punishment, I can feel overheating people around me.

As Chuck says,
“The first rule of Thai Club is to not talk about Thai Club.”

Note, I am not supposed to explain cultures because I do not have a degree in cultural studies.

The Culture Punishes for Asking Questions

BlackBerry Backs Up My WIFI Connection

BlackBerry Backs Up my WIFI Connection
Travel Tip

The internet connection here in the Hotel has been down for about 36 hours. My Thailand girlfriend has been using my computer to type Tagalog words into a database. My Thailand girlfriend has been using my computer to write emails to her mother, chatting with friends, aagh; I am sharing my computer and internet connection.

URGENT, I need an internet connection now! Janelle, an Advertising Broker wrote me an email yesterday,
“We have a person who wants to advertise on your sites.”

Baguio, Philippines
Southeast Asia
Friday, July 31, 2009


Whose turn is it to use the computer?

I am sharing that stupid rock called a computer with another person. However with the BlackBerry by Verizon, I can still check my Emails, do minor surfing and read CNN, BBC, and all the other ways the news is misrepresented.

NOW, please, I want to request my readers to GROW UP and get your head out of the box. I know the minute I say Verizon your ability to think stops, you are mad as hell at Verizon because they make you pay a monthly telephone fee, you cannot be grateful for what they do give you.

Nobody is grateful for Telephone Bills, Water Bills, Cable Bills and Electric Bills until they do not have Telephone, Water, Cable and Telephone.

GROW up and get your head out of your A…………
(I can say this, I am the writer, and you say it and I delete your comment.)

The world is not fair, except it, and get on with it.

Today, if I did not have the Verizon BlackBerry Storm Global Data connection I would have to walk in the rain here in Baguio, Philippines, and search for an internet café. It would take me about 2-3 hours of jacking around in Baguio to respond to a request to advertise on my sites, post this report and walk or take a Jeepney or Taxi back. It would cost me about five USA dollars to get this urgent word done, get a life, having the BlackBerry Data connection that works in 177 countries is the Eighth Travel Wonder of my life.

I am annoyed with all countries on a daily basis; this BlackBerry Storm by Verizon has removed one of the reasons to never leave home. I have tripled or quadrupled my ability to stay connected.

Most of you cannot be without your wife, your job, your family for half a day without checking in, this connection allows you to feel safe. Truly most of you do not realize how insecure you would become if you did not make contact with your friends and family every day.

Check out Travel Writers in Africa, they are lucky if they write one time a week, I did it every day.

Try to live without a telephone, internet connection, news report, television for a week. This is travel on 80 percent of planet earth, and truly Europe and the USA are more difficult than here to find a connection if you do not live in one place.

Go look for an internet café in your USA city, is there one? All those Japanese people on Greyhound are truly annoyed.

Hmm, I sent Boy Genius in India five jobs to do today with my BlackBerry, the bottom line, I am still in business. I am not on vacation, I am traveling enjoying the planet while you are tied to your life, an indentured servant of the culture.

Blackberry, -
Cell Phone for Travel, - Communications, - Electronics for Travel, - Internet, -

BlackBerry Backs Up my WIFI Connection

My Old Fat Ugly Face on Camera

My Old Fat Ugly Face on Camera
There is zero advantage to getting older, it is propaganda put forth by older people as an excuse to get fat and ugly.

I am playing around, my friend Phil here in Baguio took a photo of me and published on the internet. I have keep threatening to do this, just cannot work up the vanity to take photos of myself. I have been teaching Phil how to Blog, he is an excellent student.

Baguio, Philippines
Southeast Asia
Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Here is the Photo… ooops; I guess you need to go say Hello to his site to view.

Phil at

Let me explain, I know I am fat and ugly, every time I look in the mirror that tan farm boy, the beach bum of 22 is not there, no bulging muscles and the eyes are not as blue, some new character has taken his place. The good part is I still expect to see and demand to see that young man in the mirror.

Phil is one of the many Veterans who was introduced and made friends with the Philippines while overseas serving his country as a young man. These men fell in love with Southeast Asia and many continue to wander around in the land they love, they still see the young man in the mirror. Phil and a gentleman by the name of Victor have sailboats, they are going to sail to adventure. An adventure starts in the mind, lives in our dreams and is realized one day at a time; Phil is walking the walk, talking the talk, and will surely find his adventure. I hope Victor enters in and post his links below in the comments so we can understand the whole story…

Phil at

My Old Fat Ugly Face on Camera

Learn Tagalog in Baguio Philippines

Learn Tagalog in Baguio Philippines
I found a great reason to learn Tagalog, the common language used in the Philippines. I can text message Transient rooms or Apartments using Tagalog and the owner will text back closer to honest prices.

If I write an email and the price is 4 times higher than the the Philippines people pay and normally they do not reply.

If I call talking in English, I wlll pay four time more, the English speakers tax.

To get them to lower their price is almost impossible, some Philippines culture goal, I need to make the foreigner pay mentality.

Send a text message in Tagalog by cell phone, get a few replies in Tagalog, then after you know enough to proceed, you have a Philippines person call on the phone to nail down the price before you go look. I feel this is the best way to rent anything in the Philippines, there is almost zero transparency.

Baguio, Philippines
Southeast Asia
Tuesday, July 28, 2009


How to learn to text message in Tagalog

This is Paul sitting in the Red Lion Pub and Inn teaching me Tagalog for Free… He is married to a Filipino girl who can also kick butt on rental calls. Paul was a linguist in the US Military, he speaks both Tagalog and Korean, and he is truly an expert, not just a local with no education teaching a language. I speak three languages, English, Spanish and French fluently, this man has more knowledge about languages than I have ever met on planet earth. He knows how languages work.

How to get a cheap apartment or room in Baguio?
Example, I text messaged a Transient Room number I found on the Internet in English. (Wrong way to start) The person came back with a daily price of 2000 Pesos or 60,000 Pesos per month. We then text messaged in Tagalog, and the person instantly replied back.
“Call me.”

Funny, the person wanted to learn whether they could rip us a new one, or they had to be serious, does this person speak English? We had Paul’s wife then call the Apartment or Transient room, it was too funny. The price went from 60,000 Pesos per month, 1200 US Dollar down to 15,000-20,000 or about 300-400 Dollars per month. I am now looking around and will only text message in Tagalog, I will never call or show my face, I need to get the price down to reality.

I do not have a little Philippines girl in tow to do this, I am with a Thailand girl, and we are soft target, but not now because of Paul’s expertise in the Tagalog language. I want to do this in five days, not five weeks, this all feels incredibly scammy.

Note, he needs a project, he says he is teaching free, I think a person needs to give a donation, or buy plenty of beer. To find him ask around in the Red Lion Pub and Inn. I would give you the email or cell phone number, but better if he writes a comment to do that.

Learn Tagalog, a great way to understand a culture, I truly do not believe you understand the nuances of a culture until you speak the language. I speak French that gets most of Africa; I speak Spanish that covers Central and South America.

Stop paying the English Speakers Tax here in the Philippines learn enough Tagalog to get the price down from rip-you-a-new-one status. Do not be the next stupid foreigner to enter Baguio…

I am now walking around in areas where I want to live, I am writing down the telephone numbers and I will text.

Tagalog on Wikipedia

A two bedroom apartment as best I can suss out, should rent between 10,000 and 15,000, if close to the center 15,000 and if far away 10,000 per month. I think JD has his finger on the pulse of the correct values.

Learn Tagalog in Baguio Philippines

Hobo Members save 1000's of dollars by joining HoboTraveler and asking pro travelers questions on the Hobo Talk Wall.