What.. marriage?

Once arrived there, the father was already waiting to receive me. It turned out quickly that he wanted a conversion of my faith so that I could marry his daughter as soon as possible. He was visibly disappointed when I told him that it’s not so urgent for me.


Let’s get lost

As we left the car, I was, dragging my bags behind me, guided through busy streets until we finally reached her apartment. Everybody personally knows each other here, these „remote areas“ are inhabited by the poorer classes, what let me stand out even more in my pack mule lining.


Dare to explore

I joined fully loaded with camera gear, kites, laptop, underpants and my other essentials the still unknown lady into the car. I have to admit that I initially had reservations about whether we really go to her apartment. Through the window of the car I could see as we drove further and further into skid row in which I probably would not have come without accompaniment.


Arrival in Manila

Indeed limitless anticipation.. my second trip to Asia to the Philippines! When I arrived in early December on the island paradise I was greeted by a nice internet acquaintance at the airport. I wanted to explore the capital, not as a tourist, but as Manila seemed too dangerous alone, I liked the idea of ​​having a local guide through the heart of the city.


Simply divine!

I said farewell to this fully active, vibrant country. The beauty of unspoiled countryside, the isolated loneliness, the unfamiliar silence, the acceptance and unconditional trust, the remarkable selflessness, the living faith in the good things, the contentment and satisfaction with minimalism, the lasting coziness of countless moments and the welcoming warmth of the people combined with the hustle and bustle in streets and snickleways, the wild, so different chaos, the timeless intense activity and the unbridled, adventurous disorganization aroused a great deal of interest and sucked me into a maelstrom of unexpected human fullness, divergence and complexity, handcuffed me, took me under it’s spell and burned the experiences infinitely deep into my heart. I let myself get carried away, started to love it and want no longer to be unleashed. The white sand islands surrounded by turquoise sea, which pile up fruit palm-lined avenues give the perfection only its deserved context.


Secco Island

Unfortunately, we left the Robinson Crusoe Island to my taste far too hasty. A few hours later we arrived at Secco. A crescent-shaped, white sand strip in the South China Sea. While we pitched our tents in the sand (mine was a thin blanket and a backpack as a pillow), the boat crew was already busy preparing fruits, salads, tuna, shrimp and chicken for the BBQ. The captain who became a chef – or better – the cook who turned into a captain. His food was definitely divine. Bloated with food and surrounded by the sea in the sand under the stars next to a warming fire i felt more than satisfied asleep..


Shipwrecked

After about an hour inclement pitch and toss, another sailor passed, towed us and brought us to his island . Whether we have been the first „aliens“ here? Our captain, who turned out to be an zealous businessman, exchanged his nutshell for a still floating boat, which was just smaller than the first one, but we were safe for traffic again. Meanwhile, I wandered around the island as a child magnet and enjoyed the delightful sight of self supply households. A rice field as basic food source plus fish, pork and chicken, mango trees, coconut palms and banana shrubs. Delicious. Hmmmm … masarap! What with perplex views begins, converts quickly into warm greetings. Everybody is immediately willing to give a smile. I love this country and the people. Mahal nito!


Open water

We began our trip before sunrise early in the morning with the tricycle, switched on the boat and transfered to a minibus, which took us for a few hours through philippine plains until we reached a small village, where we finally started. The boat,.. rather, the nutshell broke the first time after assumed 50 feet creeping-sprint. The „captain“ and his „crew“ remained unfazed and brought the engine by cable after several attempts back to life. „Overheated“ was his implausible analysis, that made ​​me smile a little though. After the boat began moving and we’ve sailed two hours over the sea the engine died again and „Overheated“ sounded somehow rather plausible. However, this time it was completely broken, which made moving on impossible. The scenario let me reminiscing a bit about the movie „Open Water“ – lost somewhere in the sea. But thanks god, it didnt happen.


Surprising concert

I was just on one of the nearby islands of Boracay when I got to know some filipino children who came along the beach walking home from school. As hospitable as filipinos are they wanted me to bring to their village. Off course i didn’t hit this invitation off and followed over rice fields and trails to their small village. Once there, they proudly introduced me to about forty family members. The grandma of the association tried to catch the fish (me?!), showed me four girls and told me i should pick the prettiest for a marriage. The four filipina lined up standing in front of me I must have looked a a proper charlie bit – declined politely – and was fortunately dragged out of the misinterpreted folks by the children to explore the rest of the village. They showed me their favorite things, pets, homes, washing, – and cooking places, presented me their pastor and church and gave together with him a charming concert for me. A few hours later and a bunch of kids in tow, who accompanied me, I went back to get another boat transfer back to Boracay.


Banana Island

I flew to Palawan, a region in the west of the Philippines. From the airport in Busuanga I took a ride over rain forest-like countrysides and provisionally applied villages and wooden house areas to the port town Coron. From here we transferred on a petite boat with which we cruised over to beautiful, unspoilt island groups. The steering filipinos brought me skillfully to the long-awaited „Banana Island“. The dream island consists of a few bungalows, palm trees and white sand banks surrounded by turquoise sea and coral reefs. If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I would doubt its existence. I am thinking whether there are still more beautiful places on the planet or my feet are right now on the best piece?


JONAS MERLIN

PHOTOGRAPHER
AND
FILMMAKER.

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