Loading Map...

The Thrilla in Manila

Written on: Friday November 7th, 2008

Arriving to the Philippines I decided to spend just one night in Manila before traveling South, where I hoped to do some diving.  I found a cheap room in Malate and decided to wander a bit.  First stop was food: I had a sushi craving and was happy to locate a wonderful restaurant just two blocks from my hotel.  Both the sushi chef and the other patrons were quite outgoing and we happily chatted throughout dinner.  The food was remarkable and really made appreciate being out of Malaysia.

After dinner I strolled about to get a feel for the neighborhood.  My initial impressions held true for the entire trip: Philippines is dirty and loud and dangerous and sleezy.  The streets were filled with trash and roaches and human bodily waste.  Traffic was plentiful and diverse, ranging from busses and trains to the more local metheds of transport, such as jeepneys and trikes.  Beggars were everywhere and of every age.  Kids would approach with hands open asking for money...and they wouldn't leave.  I literally had to push a couple away from me, as they were quite eager to feel inside your pockets as well!  Old women were equally annoying.  Appropriately, the first words I learned in Filipino were "ola", which means 'no', and "alis ka jan", which means 'go away from me!'.  But it was sad too, as they all literally lived on the street.  You would see people everywhere laying on the sidewalk, covered with newspapers.  Their clothing was rags and they would wash in the puddles that accumulated in the street.  Strip bars lined the avenues, and whatever your perversion, everything seemed to be for sale.  It was a very uncomfortable place to be.  But, it was home for the night, so I made the most of it, having a few beers before heading back to my 10'x5' cubby hole of a room.