give the city a chance. Sure,...
give the city a chance. Sure, everyone (even the locals!) can't wait to get out of Manila and head off to the more attractive destinations the Philippines has to offer...but if you look long and hard enough, you'll be in for a pleasant surprise. I call Manila home...my friends and family are here, so I guess that's the best thing about it. But I've found that every time I leave Manila, I miss absolutely everything...the chaos, the crowds, the traffic, cable TV...
Fact and about Manila
Capital of the Philippines and home to 12 million people, Manila is a massive modern city, which plays host to just about all the attraction you’d expect to find in a major metropolis. Not only is it a highly cultured town with a varied program of events, including opera, ballet, concerts and recitals by local and foreign artists, but its various theatres also offer English and Tagalog plays, dances and musicals. In fact music is the main form of entertainment in Manila and some unusual groups can be seen, such as the Pangwat Kawayan bamboo orchestra and the Rondalla group. But there is much more than music. Manila is a paradise for those who like to shop. If quiet away from the town, then remember that the Philippines have the world’s longest coastline and are rich in superb beaches.
Metro Manila, the country's business, trade, industrial and government center, sits in the heart of Luzon. Manila, the nation's premier city of 12 million residents, is as urban, teeming and raucous as any major city in the world.
Nothing Happens on Time -- Not Even Close!
If you are a clock-watcher used to North American-style punctuality, Manila will quickly reduce you to a boiling cauldron of frustrated stomach acid. People and events aren't just a bit late here, but WAY late. I'm not talking about 15 minutes or even a half hour, but hours. Some examples:
1. For our first day of work, we were sent a driver to pick us up at the hotel (even though we only had a ten-minute walk). The driver was an hour and a quarter late (how he managed that we have no idea).
2. We met a Filipina colleague three times. She was never earlier than an hour late and once was over two hours late.
3. We showed up at the Heritage Hotel for a 5:30 p.m. Chinese New Year party at 5:30 p.m., causing great consternation to the hostess who said that nothing was ready. She sat us at the hotel bar and bought us beer, appearing every 15 minutes or so to say "Please don't leave -- we're almost set up" as other guests (all North Americans or Europeans) gradually filtered in. The doors for the party opened at 6:30, and after a half hour or so Filipinos started arriving.
Of course, I had read things would be just this way, but I never really understood Filipino Time until I experienced it. I could never get used to being that late myself.
Photo shows our traditional...
Photo shows our traditional brooms, used during cleaning the house...
Basic respect for others is regarded as very important by Filipinos, who are often concerned about potential loss of face. So common courtesies should be observed. Shaking hands is an accepted form of greeting. It is considered very rude to point and to raise your voice. When dining, try to remember to keep your hands above the table and if you are eating with local people, note that they are unlikely to start their meals until you have had a bite or two of yours. It’s also polite to leave a small portion on your plate to indicate that you have had enough to eat.
Thank you Salamat
Call the police Tumawag ka ng pulis!
I don't understand Hindi ko naintindihan
Do you speak English? Nakakaintindi ka ba ng Ingles?
How are you? Kumusta ka?
Good morning Magandang umaga
Good afternoon Magandang hapon
Good evening Magandang gabi
Good bye Paalam
Who are you? Sino ka?
What is your name? Anong pangalan mo?
How much is this? Magkano ito?
What is the time? Anong oras na?
Foreigners will do well to wear decent and fashionable clothes if you plan to spend time in Manila's "posh" and classier areas such as the Makati City malls (Greenbelt 2, 3, 4, 5; Rockwell), Global City at Fort Bonifacio, Serendra or The Bonifacio High Street.
Decent & fashionable means no beach attire. Despite the heat, you're not in the beach but in a CITY so dress accordingly. No shorts except dress shorts. Jeans are a staple here. Trendier women will opt for skirts, minis, lightweight dresses, dress shorts, pants, etc. You can take a look at how Filipinos dress in malls and try to blend in.
If you don't blend in, people will really STARE. :) Tampax - generally, most Filipino women do not use tampons so it'll be very hard to find these in supermarkets. (You probably won't find any in the provinces/rural areas!) You will find an assortment of feminine napkin pads in different shapes and sizes. If you're apt to use tampons, do bring enough for your stay in the country.
Mosquito Repellent - if you plan to walk in the city, you WILL need this. But if you're the businessman who shuttles from one place to another in an airconditioned car, you won't really need this.
If you need medical supplies, a good and reliable store is Mercury Drugs. You can ask your hotel concierge for directions to their branches. You can also check it out in clickthecity.com (a guide to Manila).