Sunday, October 11, 2009

5 Things I'd Definitely Recommend When you are in Manila

Philippines. It's just truly awesome. I mean, Just being in Manila alone, one would need a long time just so they can absorb what Manila really is like behind the fanfare of the politics.
Being in Manila for more than 2 decades, I guess that would leave me with tons of personal experiences and with that, I present you 5 of the must-do's when you are in Manila. (I am so sorry that this won't be your usual list of tourist destinations. These are the real sights-and-sounds of Metro Manila)

1. Be a Human Sardine
> No, I am not kidding. You have not experienced the real Manila when you haven't tried riding the MRT and LRT -- on a rush hour. By rush hour, I mean around 7-8am and 5-6pm. Experience first hand on what other people are saying and feel what a sardines in can feels for several minutes.

2. Ride a jeepney, rush hour style
> Of course, tourists can ride jeepneys in several tourist destinations like Intramuros. heck, they can even ride horses a.k.a. Calesa in Ongpin, Chinatown. BUT, what visitors must try is riding the jeepney the rush hour way. This is what I meant by the "rush hour way"...

3. Eat Balut. Eat Dirty Ice Cream (Not really dirty). Eat Isaw. [Street Foods]
> Street foods! Well, Balut is one of the most famous street foods here in Metro Manila. It was even used as a stunt in Fear Factor! Other must try if your tummy can handle it are, isaw, addidas (chicken feet), baticulon (gizzard) , corazon (chicken heart), betamax (pork blood) and helmet (chicken head?). Dare try it? Post your experiences in the comments section :)

4. Rent/borrow a car and try to drive around the Metro.
I know this sounds crazy (and stressful) for a tourist to do but, when other countries, for example, when in Vietnam, crossing a street itself is an adventure, when in Manila, driving around the Metro using the jeeps as "natural" obstacle courses may be compared to sky diving or bungee jumping in other foreign countries. Actually, doing the 2 latter activities might be even safer. Watch this...(Disclaimer: Not all jeepney drivers drive like this. But most of them are really very bad drivers.)

For more videos, please read my older post >> (click here)

5. Last- not the least, but the best...
> You've lived all your life in comfort. You've lived your life at it's best. At times, you can even say to yourself, "This is life!".
What I want you to try out here in Manila is.. how hospitable Filipinos are. This might pose as a big challenge as this is not very easy to do but, the challenge is, find a family who can adopt you guys for a night or two. Live with them. Do what they do. Eat what they eat. I know this is crazy but, this way, you can compare the life you live full of complaints with the life they live simply yet happily.

Maybe sometimes, you complain to your wife or mom about the food she cooked. After living with them, you might appreciate whatever you have on your table.

Maybe sometimes, you complain because there is no hot water. After living with them, you will appreciate having the privilege to have electricity and, even just plain cold water.
Maybe sometimes, you complain too much about the bad traffic, terrible economy or bad weather. You go home and get angry at your wife, your mom, your dad or even your dog. After living with them, you will appreciate how God truly blessed you. Despite them living in the shanties, they still find a thousand reasons to smile and be merry. You might be even surprised why they are thanking God when sometimes, you still get angry with God because you didn't get your dream car or what.

So next time when in Manila, thank God because this is where you can appreciate your life more!

This blog is an entry for When In Manila's blog contest for the Maven Secrets scholarship. The ideas and wordings are all from the author and not copy-pasted from any other websites or blog.

I want to win the Maven Secrets because not only could I help the world appreciate their lives but, I can help spread what the Philippines has to offer -- bad or good. This is not a paid commercial or blog post. We are in a democratic country and everyone should know of the real situation and not just cover up and show them the good stuffs. In this post, there are also negative things about the Philippines but, nevertheless, I still love this country and let's just take the negativity as criticisms so we can have more room for improvement!