A different side of Manila

Trip Start Jul 03, 2008
Trip End Aug 11, 2008

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Where I stayed
The Linden Suites Manila

Flag of Philippines  , Luzon,
Monday, July 7, 2008

I left Bianca's in a taxi.  After about 20 minutes of convincing the driver that I am positive I do not want a girl, no matter how beautiful or cheap she is, he finally gave up and we chatted the rest of the way.  One thing that stuck with me from that conversation is the fact he only made it to grade six in school as his father was no longer able to afford sending him there.  I guess childhood education is another one of the things we take for granted.

Driving through Malate really exposes you to the immense amount of poverty that is present here.  The shacks and homeless are everywhere and the sheer amount of space that these neighbourhoods cover is what really blows you away.  There are 11 million people in Manila, and a significant portion of that 11 million lives in third world conditions.

Metro Manila is composed of a number of cities, although there is no visible seperation when moving from one into another, the amount of poverty begins to reduce as you start moving out towards the suburbs.  At first the shanties and street families begin to thin out until they disappear almost completely.  By half way through Makati, the buildings are less run down and the city skyline is visible.  After spending a few days in Malate I was suprised to see the amount of skyscrapers present in this city. 

By the time Pasig City rolls around, the surroundings are very respectable.  Skyscrapers and office buildings rival many business districts I've been to and chain restaurants and fast food joints are everywhere.  The personality of the city is mostly gone.

One thing that is present all throughout is the Jeepney.  This unique vehicle visible everywhere and accountable for a major portion of the chaos on the roads is the stand out icon of the Philippines.  Left over from the american army post world war II, these things are part Jeep and part school bus.  They are a very cheap means of transport and are always completely overloaded with passengers as they terrorize the roads.  Their drivers take great pride in their steads, covering them in crazy stickers and outlandish accessories.  Honda Civics eat your heart out.

My new home is a high end business hotel that lacks the personality of Biancas.  My room could be in a hotel anywhere in the world, but it does have some nice creature comforts, like reliable water pressure and constant temperature in the shower.  Today, I get to meet up with my local contacts.
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