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The Last Ifugao Weaver of Batad

Rita traditional weaver in Batad

Rita in front of her home, a few moments before we said goodbye.

I met Rita in Batad, one of the small villages perched among the 2000-year-old rice terraces of the jagged Cordillera mountain range on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.

No roads reach the mountain village. To get to Batad my friends and I hired a jeepney in Banue and rode an hour along a windy dirt road to the trailhead where we disembarked. We hiked an hour down the steep rocky trail into the village.

Most of the villages in this part of the Philippine Cordillera can only be reached on foot.  Continue Reading →

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Philippines Adventures PT5: Scuba Diving With Sharks and on Malapascua Island

After swimming with whale sharks on the island of Leyte I spent two days traveling by bus and ferry to Malapascua, a  tiny island about 5 km from the northern tip of Cebu. There is really only one reason that people visit Malpascua: to dive with thresher sharks, enormous sea creatures that can grow up to 500 kilograms and are easily identified by their long whiplike tail. Continue Reading →

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Philippines Adventures Part 3: The Loboc Tarsier Conservation Area

During my visit to Loboc I visited a well-known tarsier conservation area that I had looked forward to seeing for years only to later learn that in doing so I had unwittingly contributed to an unethical business. Read on to avoid making the same mistake I did. Continue Reading →

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Philippines Adventures PT2: Mud and Serendipity in the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras

We arranged our accomodations in advance without knowing anything about the area that we were visiting, which is a perfect way to mess up your vacation before you even arrive. Continue Reading →

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Philippines Adventures PT1: Manila to the Banaue Rice Terraces

About Manila

The Philippines is awesome in almost every way. It’s cheap and exotic. The locals are charming and kind. The beaches look like postcards and the jungles look Indiana Jones movie sets. And there is rum, smooth delicious rum, for less than $2 USD per bottle. Go to the Philippines. Go now, go often, and go for a long time but, for the love of God, after you get off the plane get the hell out of Manila as fast as you can. Continue Reading →

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