The first time I came here when I was seven, I threw up on the bus because you have to go through these roads that wind around the jagged mountains; at times you’re perched on their spine, and imagining the neverending fall below is enough to seize your stomach. I swore I’d never go back, but now that I’m old enough to appreciate the beauty and vibrancy of an arts scene both ancient and contemporary, I don’t want to leave.

There are family friends and new friends here, photographers, cinematographers, painters of canvas, jeepney and mudguard. The sensitivity and skill in watching their works unfold is incredible; photo above from Lhudz Mudguards, run by two extremely talented brothers.

Food is an art here too, as strawberries, cabbage and other hard to find vegetables grow in the cool mountain climate; the restaurants Hill Station and Cafe by the Ruins are incredible examples of this. Sarah’s been cooking up all of the greens we don’t have back home; we eat from coconut shells harvested from the market, ideal little bowls. The mornings have been sunny with an afternoon fog that rolls down the hills. An enormous moon is rising behind the cathedral now, and the colored lights of the jeepney flash behind the trees.