Saturday, August 25, 2007

Traveling round Zambales, Vigan, and 100 Islands

I drove north of Manila to Zambales, Vigan and the 100 Islands.

Zambales for a few days cos a friend offered a fab house overlooking the ocean:

And then Vigan cos I'd often planned to go there, a trip never realized. The city has the best preserved Spanish colonial 'bayan' (town centre) in the country, with 'kalesa' (horse-drawn carriages) functioning as taxis.

This CBD is full of rather grand old mansions:

And more humble houses:

Some of the former have been evocatively re-furnished. You have the sense that this 'frozen' scene could suddenly come to life, with the original C18 or C19 owners walking in and asking what you doing there:

The lighting in two and three, remeniscent of C17 Dutch interior painting, is as much the product of the photographer as the moment! Calculating art-ster!

Finally, on to the 100 Islands and something much more athletic. Though the act of traveling round is, in itself, not for couch potatoes!!!

So, the hotel restaurent there, set over the ocean:

And a vantage point for the islands:

The start of a day trip round the islands:

Landing on a deserted beach, and climbing for a view back over where we landed and our boat:

Followed by snorkling and kayaking. And eating and sun-baking.

Post Script

In Vigan Zoo, I realized a life-long dream - getting up close and personal with an orangutan, a couple in fact:

They were so gentle, fixing my gaze with theirs and spontaneously holding my hands and stroking my face. I was totally blised out. And I mean totally.