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February 01, 2008

More Philippines pictures ...

Overpopulation and pollution have turned Manila Bay into an open sewer. It used to be said that if you fell into the Thames, you needed full decontamination and probably innoculation against every known disease. That isn't the case any longer, but Manila Bay is filthy and the stench, particularly when the wind is off the bay, is unbelievable. Falling into this would, I think, result in the instant contracting of every known plague!

I did have the opportunity to sail on a forty footer in a race held on the bay and the most remarkable thing is the clear delineation that is visible in the water as you cross the point at which the tides form a barrier to the outflow of the filth in the bay. On one side you are floating on dirty, brown and stinking water, cross the line and the water is clean, clear and blue green.

A ferry in Manila Bay, built on traditional lines. this one runs from the city out to the Cavite peninsula. Other ferries run to Corregidor, the fortified island which forms the stopper in the neck of the bottle that is Manila Bay.

Fishing boats on a beach on the Cavite peninsula - note the detritus on the beach ...

I expect that with several million people living in Metro Manila, and an infra-structure that is less of a structure and more of a political football, it is hardly surprising that very little actually functions and that which does, is inadequate to meet the needs of the population it serves.

Outside of the Manila area the countyside shows its volcanic origins and the soil is very fertile - but again, the population levels mean that most families manage on a little subsistence farming and trade like fury for anything else they may need. The large farms all belong to a very small group of families - "Hidalgo" style nearly all the wealth rests inside the few "families" who did well under the Spanish - and the only option for the less well connected is to take employment from the Hidalgos or scratch a living in some other way.

It amuses me somewhat whenever I hear the Green accusation that we in the West are "raping" these countries and destroying their ecology. WE aren't, and the populace of these countries don't give a damn. The Filipino wants a BIG gas guzzling engine in his Jeepney and doesn't seem to care much about the impact throwing rubbish into rivers, lakes, the sea or anywhere else, has on the future of the planet at all.

Paradise it most certainly could be - away from the politicians and the cities, but at the moment, I rather think it fits the description of a paradise in danger of being permanently lost.

Posted by The Gray Monk at February 1, 2008 05:26 PM

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