June 23, 2010

Even without nightclubs and bars, there is life in Manila. Is there?

There are contradictions in life, and you don't have to look far. Whatever it is, there is still more in life then anything else.

A truly unique destination in the galaxy can be found in Southeast Asia. If you're from the Americas - across the vast expanse of the pacific. If you're from the Asia mainland - beyond the South China Sea. Covering 636 square kilometers of land area, the pearl of the orient seas has been left untouched for thousands of years. So be prepared for a deep breath. Let's dive and get it.

EDSA, Metro Manila - An Aerial View

May you have a nice stay here even if the airport is not that good, as recent flights to the city has been rerouted to the Clark Field due to faulty navigation equipments in the NAIA. I know it will be fixed soon. If your taxi driver does not care that you'll be late with your appointments, just smile and say “how you doin?”. The traffic in the nerve center of the more than seven thousand island should not ruin your day. Look out and ask the driver to lower the window of the taxi. The sight may be untidy, as garbage piled along the way. But you can also see fine-looking men and gorgeous women who speaks like British and walks like an American. Sounds may be so noisy, videoke singing is everywhere. But everyone wants to be a rock star. (I also tried to be...and the microphone likes me...). American Idol has a huge following here. And the aroma may not be so good, as scents of smoke from cramped buses and WWII jeeps with stench of garbage and sewer along the way. But folks you'll meet do have fresh breath, smiles well, and smell well because they do take a bath everyday..

So this is it. I say the place is unique. There are shanties of city dwellers and slums that you can see. But there are also huge billboards along EDSA and thoroughfares. The people love to see these sights even if it is the skin that they can only see. What is left to advertise if not for the underwear. And if you'll have to pee and poo, at the gas station you can do it...but not all the time. Shoppers fill the malls even if its the window that they only shop. You may not wear your jewelry if it's fake. If you want to...achtung!..at owner's risk. But if the policemen are not so friendly all the time...probably because there are hidden cameras installed to watch. If have to ride in the bus or train be prepared to stand all the time. It isn't now a fad for a man to share a seat to a woman. Not then, but now. Why? But during Sundays, more and more people go to church. Jollibee is filled by families dining together and so with with McDonald's and Chow-king. Movies can be watched in every mall, with the best from SM i-max, of course. Life is full and vibrant here. At night you might forget what these contradictions really mean. Having good times in bars and nightclubs here is beyond compare.

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The Filipina Painting by Fernando Amorsolo
So this is Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. This day the city goes  on  a holiday to celebrate its foundation day. It has a rich cultural heritage because of mixed Malayan, Chinese, American and European influences. You call the city dwellers, ManileƱos. They are known for being hardworking, neat and honest. Sadly, though on a broader extent, that if you'll search for “filipina” and “pinay” in your Firefox or Safari web browsers, the hits would be very revealing but grossly disappointing...online dating, sex scandal and maid.
Images from:
The Filipina Painting by Fernando Amorsolo


JollyPrincess said...

Yes, there is life in Manila at night. There are many of us who work at night. I work at a call center for electric company in one of the States in the U.S. Yes, I talked to America every night getting no less then 30 calls a night. That could even be a 100 depending on the nature of calls I get. I had been in this kind of work for quiet a number of years. I wrote America because I get to talk to anyone not only Americans. Life in there is not very comfortable at this time because of the present economic situation. Filipinos in there however survived as we are trained to work like a horse. :)

Melanie said...

I haven't been back in twenty years!

Love the city, and the people!

Thank you for stopping by!:)

Opelova said...

I love cities like that -lots of life, optimistic people and the old mixed with the new. I would love to see that with my own eyes. Thanks for the article.

Jill Wellington said...

Nur, my college roommate lived in the Philippines for 3 years after school and married a Filipino. I really enjoy learning about your culture.