'Three years ago I'd never have given a thought to visiting the Philippines. It wouldn't have appeared in even my top hundred places to visit. Come to that, I'd never thought of re-marrying.'
So begins his travelogue, A VIRGIN IN THE PHILIPPINES, more a diary than a guide book, describing Johnnie's marriage to a Filipina (by the way, he tells us that they met through neither a dating agency nor ebay!) and his visits to the country. Lest there should be any doubt, the author says, 'I am the virgin in question though only in a figurative sense. In fact I'm 80++ years of age Englishman and I don't feel a day over 75!'
The book is an account of the greenest green of the rice fields; of nightmarish criss-crossing traffic, managed it would seem by some master choreographer; of traditional family reunions; of Johnnie's being refused entry to a Subic Bay hotel room on moral grounds along with his 65-year-old nephew-by-marriage; of advertising hoardings the size of tennis courts; of the eventual sale, after much peasant dealing, of one of his wife's rice fields; of his self-election as Life President of the Husbands' Escape Committee; of life in a country town; of being inveigled into having a tooth extracted; of visits to the family mausoleum; of the most charming and pleasant people you'd ever meet and that's just for starters. Johnnie Johnson loves the Philippines, the place and the people and it shows in his writing.
- W H Johnson, April 2012
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