Jonathan Rowe is in Manila:
"I spend much time when I am here, wandering the alleys, chatting with people. There is something about a setting such as this that invites interaction, even with a caucasion visitor such as myself. The last time we were here, my son and I (he was a little over one at the time) would wake up around 5:00 AM, in the heat, and take a walk to the park where the fighting cocks are. We got to know the trainer -- this is serious business -- and his early morning pals. That led to chats about politics, the Muslim rebels in the South, and on it goes.
Today I took my son (who now is three) and two of the cousins to another little park in the barrio, this one for kids. The swings and slides are vintage 1940s, iron and metal and not the better for wear. There is concrete under the swings and the rest is dirt. My son had a great time. He loves to be with his cousins; the equipment was less important than the interaction and the play. We Americans are so rich in stuff; sometimes we forget the life, and the kinds of settings that promote it."