Legazpi: In the Shadow of Mt. Mayon    

Sunrise and Mt. Mayon
Legazpi is much nicer than Manila. This morning I woke up to the light coming in through the window. The sun was rising and the sky turned pink. I went back to sleep and woke up to someone making a lot of noise walking either down the hall or outside and singing badly. We got up and it was only 6:30. So we decided to hike up Kapuntukan Hill (means sleeping lion and come to think of it, the 2 connected hills do kind of resemble that).

Tricycle stop

Jeepney passenger
It was already hot and muggy. We walked along the Embarcadero-- a work in progress set to open in September-- perhaps for the 50 year anniversary of Legazpi City. Mt. Mayon rose impressively across the town from us with a cap of clouds covering the top.

Since we couldn't get to the hill via the closed waterfront, we went behind the curious wall which sheltered this newly developed area from the village behind it. Beyond the wall were tiny winding streets lined with shacks made from a collage of materials: wood, corrugated metal, bamboo, thatch, concrete, and blue plastic. The people we passed smiled and said, "Good Morning". Rowshan's photography was met with enthusiastic approval by both kids and adults. As Rowshan was taking photos, a woman at a shop introduced herself and asked me where I was from . Everyone seemed helpful and friendly-- even the tough looking guys with their handmade tatoos. Outside the shacks, roosters were tied by leashes to their legs as if they were watch dogs. They boisterously crowed to one another.

Boy and his rooster

Kids from behind the Embarcadero
We got to the path up the hill, the start of which was a barbed wire fence which had been pushed open from large numbers of people going through it. The cow who occupied the area didn't seem to mind us climbing up the well trod dirt path.

It was still only around 7AM but we were drenched with sweat making me think hiking anywhere on Mt. Mayon is completely out. Fortunately the trail wasn't long. We emerged at the top of the lower hump of the hill into a small cleared spot surrounded by bushes full of purple flowers. Then we followed the trail down and back up the other hill. The hill not only gave us a view of Mt. Mayon, we also saw the harbor and black sand beaches stretching north of the town. Green tropical hills and fields rose up over the other side of town. It is so beautiful compared to Manila. I'm so glad we left Manila as soon as we could.

Mt. Mayon from Kapuntukan Hill

After coming down from the hill we walked through the village neighborhood past some basketball players (a popular game here-- we see it played but soccer isn't played anywhere.) In the fish market we saw lots of exotic fish-- swordfish, parrot fish, flounder, and friendly fish mongers who laughed as they posed with their wares.

Basketball is a popular sport

Showing off a squid

Colorful fish

Pouring some fresh fish onto the table
In the afternoon, we decided to walk up the beach. The beach was accessed through another neighborhood of shacks, some of which were constructed right on the beach.

We encountered more friendly people and Rowshan with his camera was like the Pied Piper and soon he had a crowd of kids following him and posing for photos. Kids swimming in the water (which was terribly dirty and had a dead pig floating in it) called out, "Hello! Photo!" Kids came up to us asking, "Where are you from? Where do you go? What is your name?" One kid came running up yelling, "Hey, My name is America!" The teenagers and young adults would say things like, "Hey, Joe!"

Friendly residents of the beach front houses

Kids on the beach

I'm not sure about swimming in the water

Which camera should we look at
One group of kids were playing beach basketball using a coconut for a ball. Rowshan tried to impress them by shooting a basket with his foot but missed (several times). Sill, he acquired an enthusiastic group of fans.

Coconut beach basketball
Another group of guys called to to take a photo of a guy climbing on the roof of a house. By the time Rowshan got there the focus of attention had moved to a game of "pool" which used wooden chips instead of balls (on a wooden chalk covered table). Unlike Nepal, however, they had a cue. It seemed like we'd walked quite a ways but back on the city street we were soon back in the center of town.

A game of pool
On our way back to the town we passed a house where they collected scrap metal. One guy wanted a photo. He'd been playing a small tambourine from the metal cart. Rowshan asked him to sing a song but he broke into an American pop song. Rowshan objected and eventually he sang a snippet in Tagalog.

In the evening Rowshan went out to take photos of a storm and was welcomed by the people we'd met earlier at the beach. The kids were having a lantern parade.

Lightning and lights

Lantern parade

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