Ladyboys vs. Dwarfs

Filipinos really know how to entertain.  A basketball showdown between dwarfs and ladyboys is not something you get to see every day! And you thought the Harlem Globetrotters were impressive.

As luck would have it, this event has long come and gone, so I guess we’ll have to give this piece of high culture a miss.

Who Cares about the Food?

I’ve been debating how to broach this subject for some time. Hmmmm. Let me begin by saying I love Filipinos. They are amazing, warm, friendly, hospitable people…

But they can’t cook.

Many travelers claim that the food here in the Philippines is the worst in Asia. I wouldn’t go that far – in my book, that honor goes to another people I love: Tibetans. But when I recently heard that Obama’s White House chef was a Filipina, my first thought was, “God, I hope she did her training somewhere outside the Philippines.”

So what is Philippine cuisine? It might best be described as Oklahoma Continue…

Choose Wisely

OK, you’re taking a bus across Negros and the bus stops at a small roadside place for lunch. You have to go to the bathroom NOW, so you run through the thatched hut-restaurant into a courtyard full of chickens. Off to the right, you see the sign “CR” in front of a small shack. You waste one second laughing at “comfort room” the Filipino euphemism for toilet, then you race towards the tiny structure with two doors. The doors are labelled “lalaki” and “babae,” which one do you enter? Continue…

Tiny Tarsiers

Our recent trip to the tarsier sanctuary on the island of Bohol was an excellent complement to our explorations of the underwater animal world. The Philippine tarsier, an endangered species that can only be found in the Southern Philippines, is one of the oldest and smallest primates in the world barely reaching the 16 cm (6 in.) mark. The only primates smaller than these shy creatures are Continue…

Happy Birthday Thomas

That makes four birthdays on the road!!! Can you believe this trip started when you were 37? And you are now a respectable 41 years old. Wow, 41! Perhaps I should start addressing you as “sir” like the Filipinos do.

Screw This!

When I pulled a piece of clear plastic out of my Spaghetti a la Puttanesca during lunch today, I was just reminded of all the odd things we’ve found in our food throughout the years.

There was the sizable screw in a piece of corn bread I bought in Thailand or the spiral metal shaving embedded in my doner kebab in Germany. Imagine Tony’s surprise when he discovered a cockroach in his sticky rice in Cambodia or a freakishly long nail in his mutton biryani in India. Not to mention the occasional rock, piece of barbed wire, band-aid, match, fingernail or hair (and I’m not talking about the silky, straight ones).

Nutritional values aside, this is mostly stuff that should stay in tool boxes, first-aid kits or people’s pants. I can’t stop wondering how these things make their way into dishes. It can’t all be accidental, can it?

Racing through the Chocolate Hills

Of course, the requisite visit to the Chocolate Hills view point is on everyone’s itinerary when they come to Bohol. Called the Chocolate Hills because the hillocks go cocoa-brown in the dry season, the site is one of the most famous natural attractions in the Philippines, especially for Filipinos.

But we thought the tempting landscape of 1776 conical karst formations merited more than a quick snapshot from a viewpoint. So when a couple of locals offered to give us a motorbike tour of the scenic backcountry, we quickly hopped on – without considering the fact that it had rained heavily Continue…

Hey, Joe!

There are many memories of World War II in the Philippines: the sunken fleets of Coron and Subic Bay, old bunkers and forts, and the destruction of old Manila, a once legendary colonial masterpiece.  One of the stranger remnants of the war is “Hey, Joe”, a greeting from the past that has been carried over into the 21st century. The name “Joe” given to the many nameless American soldiers who were stationed here, has become synonymous with male foreigners – any Joe Schmo or Average Joe who is visiting the country. Yes, the memory of G.I. Joe is very much alive in the Philippines.

It’s not unusual to hear the greeting several times a day. Whether from kids or adults, it’s usually accompanied by a wave and a fair amount of snickering. At first, I was like, “No, no, my name is Thomas,” but that only caused hysterical laughter. Now, after several months, I’m used to it. What I haven’t figured out, though, is how Western women are greeted in the Philippines. Do they get a “Hey, Jane”? Interview

Right on the heels of our recent interview with comes our latest interview with Transitions Abroad. Here we focus more on the art and business of blogging, the importance of social media, and how blogging has affected our lives.

TnT in the Nubra Valley in Ladakh, India

Tony Eitnier and Thomas Arnold, authors of the Contemporary Nomad travel blog, are two of the most adventurous travel bloggers around. Eitnier, a former language and communications trainer, and Arnold, a former chemist, are drawn to less-traveled destinations—like Sudan. Their travels have resulted in an impressive >> Continue Reading on >>

Schools in the Black Forest

The Black Forest dive site off of Balicasag Island is one of the most breathtaking underwater locations we have visited in the Philippines. Located a short distance from Alona Beach, the underwater slope boasts a rare forest of black coral growth featuring all the favorites: hawksbill turtles, scorpionfish, lionfish, bright yellow leaffish, tall-fin batfish, and giant white frogfish. But what really blew us away were the huge schools of swirling Jacks.

Since our temporary replacement underwater camera can’t be used while diving, I’ve embedded another diver’s Youtube video featuring the schools. Enjoy.