One hundred and twelve. The book enthralled me, while I was flipping its pages. I smiled at the familiar images. Looking back at places that I have been to and experienced and marveled at the places that I still have to visit too. The book, Journey Through the Philippines, An Unforgettable Journey from Manila to Mindanao authored by Kiki Deere is a delight. Not too thick, not too thin but a great introduction for those who want to visit the Philippines. But it’s also a book for Filipinos who love the motherland. It is something to remind us how beautiful this country is as the beautiful photos attest.
Tuttle Publishing (since 1832) has come up with this book. Journey Through the Philippines is part of a series of Asian titles that also includes Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and other books on this region. It’s a handsome tome full of colored images and informative texts that makes for light but engaging reading.
Two parts of the book
The book is divided in two parts: Part 1 informs the reader about the country and its people. It has sections from culture to food to festivals. There are several photos of delicious Philippine cuisine ranging from bounties from the sea to, of course, lechon. From main course dishes to streetfood and desserts. Festivals highlights the country’s rich religious heritage and the various fiestas that are marked around the regions. It also includes the natural wonders of the country with images of unique species like the tarsier and teeming marine habitats. This section takes up a quarter of the total pages.
Part 2 is all about exploration. It starts with Manila and its surrounding provinces. Then features Northern Luzon with stunning photos of the Banaue Rice Terraces. Southeastern Luzon comes alive with Mayon Volcano, the Caramoan Peninsula and the butandings (whale sharks) of Donsol. Colorful images of Mindoro Island follows, focusing on the area as a ‘popular getaway for divers and nature buffs.’
The Visayas, Mindanao and Palawan
Boracay and the Western Visayas not only features the beautiful beaches of the famed island but also the popular festivals like the Ati-atihan and Masskara. There’s even a sidefeature on a folk healer from Siquijor too! The next few pages focuses on the allures of Cebu and Eastern Visayas. From the Sinulog to pristine diving destinations, to a historical monument in Palo, Leyte and the chalk white cliffs of Sohoton in Samar. Mindanao features ‘safe’ destinations like Northern and northeastern parts of the island. There’s the cowboy activities of Malaybalay in Bukidnon, the surfing mecca of Siargao and the white water rapids of Cagayan de Oro City. And lastly, Palawan has a separate spotlight with a few pages of beautiful images of white sand beaches, the soaring karst mountains of El Nido and the shipwrecks in Coron.
Beyond the features and focus in the book, what makes Journey Through the Philippines interesting are the stunning imagery that Tuttle Publishing is known for. Couple this with Kiki Deere’s easy to digest and informative write ups, it surely whets the reader’s appetite in visiting and experiencing the country.
The author, Kiki Deere, has first visited the Philippines in 2003 and has traveled extensively. She is widely published and has written other books including country guides.
Journey Through the Philippines, An Unforgettable Journey from Manila to Mindanao