It’s been more than six months ever since I departed from the Philippines. But, I am still breathing the memories. Philippines has truly captured my heart. I admired, discussed, deciphered, and written about many times before, and now again. I disbursed almost a year there; and, it was one of my best years despite my reluctance to continue with the company I was engaged with. There are millions of things can be uttered about the Philippines: Its culture, beauty, and of course the people.
With thousands of islands, over 7,107, to choose from, you can spend your life there and never see it all. Every country has something very unique and what unique about the Philippines is its people apart from its beauty off course. Filipinos are incredible; they are at par excellence.
You will be amazed, I am sure when you bump into them. They are extremely friendly and hardly getting angry, at least I never saw. I reminisce spending my weekends around Manila and making good friends in no time. I was treated like family most of the time.
Greetings are very usual there and they greet like singing a song: Goooooddd morrrrrrnnniiiingggg Sirrrrrr. Using “PO” each time. Po is simply a way of respect. “Salamat Po”, which means “Thank You, Sir”. It’s a poverty-ridden country, living standard is pretty low due to insufficient monthly income.
People are forced to find work abroad chiefly in the Arab Gulf region. Makati, the business hub of the entire country is full of people who have worked abroad once in their lifetime. Honestly, I’m convinced that everybody should go to the Philippines at least once in their life. You will learn something about yourself. You will appreciate things that you didn’t pay attention to before.
In India, we are not really very humble, Unfortunately. We don’t say even “Thank you” most of the time, and personal space is very less.
There are two things that will always put you in distress while your sojourn there: traffic and Typhoons! Philippines is flood-prone country because of the 20 or so typhoons that hit it every year. Metro Manila is particularly prone to flooding because of its low altitude.
I can’t forget my 3rd night in my apartment located on the 19th floor of the building. Doors and Windows of my flat were shaking at midnight because of the heavy wind and rainfall. I literally felt that my flat was swinging. I immediately called, out of fear, one of my colleagues and explained. Calling him at mid-night was pretty awkward though! He burst into laugh the following day and uttered that He had been experiencing more than a decade. It is just a very usual kind of thing in that domain of the world. Well, I spent that night “sitting.”
Secondly, traffic, Once I got stuck in the traffic jam for six hours despite that I called a taxi for price three times more. Fifteen kilometers can take sometimes extremely long particularly on weekends. So, I always carried my book in Manila. I was always ready to face the killing traffic in the Metro region enduring a painful daily commute on clogged roads. Interestingly, many have adopted work from home just because of avoiding traffic.
According to the internet, Filipinos in Manila spend an hour and six minutes each day – or 16 days a year – stuck in traffic, costing them about $2,663 a year in lost income opportunities.
Unfortunately, there are no metro or local trains in Manila. Bus connectivity is also not very sound in fact. Grab (similar to Uber) is now readily available there! It is hand’s down the best way to get around Manila, the price is locked in on the app so you can’t get ripped off and it will always work out cheaper than traveling by taxi or rickshaw.
Nevertheless, booking a taxi on grab is next to impossible when you are entering into a weekend. You will see all around in Manila, people keeping their eyes on the Grab application while attempting to find a taxi. This exercise can take a little or very long sometimes.
The next alternative for short commute is historical Jypnese, similar to our tempos, that are the kind of small buses used by the locals, they are highly affordable and safe. You just pay 10 pesos and you will have your destiny at your disposal. But, it should be within a few kilometers as Jypneses do not cover elongated distances. Philippines is now among the fastest-growing economies in Asia—which means more Filipinos are able to buy cars which lead to horrifying traffic jams.
About food, Philippines is a pork dominated country and therefore I could not enjoy much of the food culture. I am sorry I don’t like Pork! In fact, I had a bit difficulty finding the food of my choice, I was mostly eating at Mediterranean, Arab and Mexican restaurants. You can find all kinds of food there, but of course Chinese and Koreans are the most dominated ones. On handy occasions, I was visiting local food courts like Jolley Bee, which is a perfect substitute of McDonald.