philippines_guard.jpegI lived on the island of Cebu, in the Philippines for a year, splitting time between Cebu city and the little divers tourist town of Moalboal.

The armed guards with shotguns everyhwere add to a perception of violence – but they are not a sign of violence. I felt safe in the Phils. The baggage checks for weapons as you enter shopping malls and the armed guards in front of burget joints are not violent. Several times I would walk the streets of Cebu City, in the middle of the night, alone, even through poor areas. During my year there I read of one armed robbery crime in the city. No shots were fired.

On the other hand I was told that one should have a weapon while there. Boats can expect to be pirated, and people get killed at sea. Prostitutes can expect to be shaken down by local gangster toughs if they wander to a disco in a new town. Foreigners are treated in sly ways; what we don’t know won’t hurt us. Women are far too available. The upper and middle classes are too small a percentage, and are not yet bored with wealth. A party atmosphere burbles below all surfaces. It is the wild wild west, latino style. Dangerous, musky, sexy.

Some of my happiest days were spent in Moalboal. Wake up in the morning, make love with my incredibly attractive and romantic girlfriend, feed from offered plate of eggs and mushrooms and tomatoes. Snorkle in the fantasmic psychedelic reefs that stretched all around as far as I could swim. Read and write and work. Drink at the local pub, play pool, thrill to the electricity in my spine that my mate always provoked. Be too wasted. Sleep. Repeat.

On Saturdays the little village attracted many locals and people as far as from Cebu city for the Disco night. Some Cebuanos can shake.

The main reasons I’d not want to go back have to do with the Jeepnies. Incredibly loud horns, and incredible volumes of soot belch from them, making any place with roads unbearable.

I’m i Bali now. I prefer the sly Filipinas, and the undercurrent of Latin passion of the Philippines, but when I dream of being in an airplane, it is always of coming to what feels like my safe home, Bali. This is the most beautiful place.

I will likely bring my little girl/daughter/wife type woman here.