So, I'm here in the Philippines visiting family & living life here as an adult as compared to my last visit where I was just a naive teenager at sixteen just coming of age. A few observations so far during my first week here:
- There's an OFW, foreigner, & local Filipino line at Nino Aquino International Airport. Warning that the foreigner line is really long. My Dad got frustrated, used a calling card, asked one of the locals for his cell, called my uncle back in Toronto to page his friend who was a superior working at the Airport. Within minutes, they called my Dads name & we were escorted out of the Airport without having our luggage, Balikbayan boxes, or hand carries checked.
- The jeepney & tricycle are unfriendly to average North American sized Filipino people like myself.
- Bring something that you can wipe the sweat off yourself because it's really hot & humid in the Philippines. It's thirty degrees celcius & humid! The first thing you notice is the humidity coming off the airplane!
- TFC dominates the local airwaves in Toronto, but their rivals, GMA have some pretty decent programming. Watched Eat Bulaga! for the first time & was impressed. Appearantly, Wowowee has been hit by a few scams and are right now embroiled in a few lawsuits that have unsettled.
- There's no Tim Hortons here which really sucks because I hate Starbucks which dominates here in the Philippines. Appearantly, if you shop at Starbucks, you're rich!
- It's a good thing Debit cards work at the local ATMs because I didn't bring much cash, much to the suggestions of my overbearing Father. Major credit cards also accepted.
- Be careful at the nightclubs/spots in Manila because a vast majority of the women are friendly to you because of the expectation of money. Two words: "GRO", "Hostess"
- Traffic on the Don Valley Parkway, eh? Try getting around in a taxi here in Manila. Good luck!
- My overbearing Dad has paid my relatives to watch me, almost like a Prisoner. I'm really curious to experience the culture, but contradicted that my relatives watch my every move.
- You think Toronto is overpopulated? 4+ million people, try living in Manila/NCR region where there's an estimated 12+ million people. There's way too many people!
- Vaughan Mills Mall in Toronto Area a big mall? You haven't seen nothing yet! Go to Mall of Asia! That place is frickin' huge! Put Square One, Scarborough Town Centre, & Pacific Mall all combined into one.
- I like the sense of family I get here from my relatives. It pales in comparison in a negative way in North America, where mostly everything revolves around work. You're more prone to seeing people here sacrificing & sharing with their families as compared to North America where people do "their own thing" & difficult to sacrifice themselves for others.
- Go to Quiapo for some really good deals. Be wary however of pickpocketers & people who raise the price too much just because of your North American accent.
- Privacy? No such thing where I'm staying. Outside, there's always something going on. Too much noise.
- Having an awesome time so far! Will write about Grandfather & post pictures of the Mall of Asia in another blog.
Allan (Lan Lan)