After graduating from UCLA with a BA in linguistics, I spent 10 months in the Philippines doing language surveys with the Summer Institute of Linguistics. My first stop was Manila, a busy metropolitan area with about 9 million inhabitants. There are about 30 distinct languages spoken in the Philippines, all of which are of the Western Austronesian branch of the Austronesian languages. Before Western colonial expansion, Austronesian was the geographically most widespread language family in the world, extending from Easter Island off the West coast of South America, to Madagascar, off the East coast of Africa, and from New Zealand in the South to Hawaii in the North.
The Philippines is an amazing country composed of over 7,000 islands, with beautiful beaches as well as rugged mountains and tropical rainforests. I had the privilege of visiting many different communities in the Philippines, from Zamboanga City in the South to Apari on the Northern coast of the island of Luzon. The picture on the left is of a mountain home in Bikol provice and the one on the right is a beach on the Island of Caluya in the Western Visayas.
The most amazing part of the Philippines, however, is the people. In true Asian fashion, family and hospitality are very important values in the many Filipino cultures. Though Filipinos have struggled under various dictators and occupation forces in the last century, there is still a deep joy and hope that is evident everywhere. The Philippines is one of the few countries of the world in which ordinary people, using non-violent methods, were able to overthrow an entrenched and militant dictator. This was the famous "People-power" revolution of 1986 that set an example for non-violent revolution in Latin America and Eastern Europe in the early 90s. These are a few photos from my travels around the Philippines.