Three of my favorite perspectives of life in the Philippines are those perhaps often overlooked by the foreigner or tourist. One of these views is that from the street level as a passenger or driver of a pedicab. Another is that from the water level from a simple bangka boat (outrigger canoe... I'll post photos from that later) either off-shore or going up a small tidal river in the provinces. A third perspective that I've always enjoyed, particularly in the provincial towns, is that of the rooftop or water tower, often approached by concrete stairs and then finally a steel set of stairs similar to a fire escape. The views and perspective up there are often unequalled. The nostalgia-evoking smells of coconut husk charcoal from people cooking and fresh saltwater breezes coming up from the ocean are really nice, as is the effect of the cooling breeze gained from the higher elevation. One of my favorite things is getting a great view of the varied tropical fruits growing on trees, depending on the season, with the ever-present coconut trees swaying gently in the ocean breezes. The activities of the people down below on the street are still very evident and noticeable, but the noises are a bit muted from the height of perhaps 20 meters, and in many ways one becomes a silent observer. I'm not a voyeur, but there is a certain anonymity and ease of observation while watching the day-to-day activities and the beating pulse of a relatively quiet provincial town (in comparison to Manila or Cebu) in a market below.
I've posted a few photos from a rooftop in my wife's home town in Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental, Mindanao, just to highlight this birds-eye perspective, although of course I cannot convey the senses other than sight. Interesting and beautiful views of the mountains and the Holy Rosary Church, I believe built in the 1880's. Four photos can never do justice to the views from the rooftop water tower perch, but hopefully readers of this blog will enjoy these.