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.
7. Right Hand Is Preferred
As in most of Southeast Asia, avoid offering or taking anything with your left hand. See my tip #3, above. However because the Philippines has had so much influence from the U.S., using the left hand is not as culturally awkward here as it is in Indonesia or Malaysia. Even so the right hand is culturally preferred .
Taxi Drivers Always Have an Angle
First, you can tell that the taxi drivers of Manila have a good sense of humor -- just look at this sign that they have painted on the back of their cabs. What a joke! You would take down the Manila telecommunications infrastructure if you called or texted anytime you saw unsafe driving by a taxi! But you will also find that the cabbies are amiable once you start talking to them. However, you will also notice that many of the drivers tend to use their 30 minutes with you as a chance to sell you on something. Most of these guys have some affiliation with a night club, and they'll try to persuade you to go there -- and obviously they want to drive you there and come in with you so that they can get credit for you. If you are asingle male or a male with another male colleague, these bars wil usually be strip clubs or places where you can buy women -- at least that's what we mostly heard touted. I have no idea what happens when you take a cabbie up on such an offer.
- Road Trip
Stop and smell the flowers
The Flores de Mayo celebrates the beauty of youth... in flowers and in beautiful young people. barangay or local neighborhood has its own version of the celebration with a large presence of 33 major districts converging on the Greenbelt/Glorietta Mall on May (this year).
The parade of young women and their male escorts also can double as a beauty contest or have other competitions. In Barangay Bel-Air , there was a beauty contest and a dance contest from the local clubs.
But regardless of the content, the dress trends towards the formal and ornate, which means long gowns for the ladies and high end barong tagalog for the men
You can see more beauties by clicking here
- Arts and Culture
Go to the mall.
The Philippines really seem to have a thing with malls.
There are dozens of them in Manila and they are all packed.
My guess is that because of the heat in Manila people prefer to go shopping and dining in a place where there is air condition.
- Luxury Travel
- Food and Dining
2. Always have a handkerchief
2. It is a good idea to carry a handkerchief at all times. Often in a public restroom (called 'comfort room') there is no paper towel or air dryer; the handkerchief is used. There are other fascinating uses, such as spreading it on your back under your shirt/blouse on very hot days in order to keep cool, to wave as a signal from afar, or to cover your mouth and nose in dusty areas.
6. Eating at Foodstalls
Eating at open-air, night foodstalls may be picturesque, but do so at your own risk. You may not have the antibodies that protect most Manilenyos! The problem is not the food preparation, but the way eating utensils are 'washed' for the next customer...
A Catholic - Chinese community
Contrary to popular notion that Chinese are either Buddist, Taoist or other Easter religion, a lot of Tsinoys (Filipino - Chinese) of Manila are either Roman Catholic or Christians. Shown in this photo is the Sto. Cristo de Longos (I forgot the English translation) at the corner of Ongpin Street (the main thoroughfare of the Chinatown area) and Tomas Pinpin Street. A fusion of Chinese (incense burning) and Filipino traditions are depicted here.
- Religious Travel
Hanging Out With Friends Is A Great Day
In Manila, the most common leisure time activity seems to be to hang around outside with one's friends. Everywhere you go -- the Lunta, the Baywalk, Intromuros, Makaiti -- people are relaxed, socializing with their friends, maybe sharing a little food and drink. Shade trees are almost always surrounded by smiling, chatting people enjoying each other's company. After dark, the hanging out increases, as it starts to get somewhat comfortable to be outdoors.
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
San Agustin Church by Night
I had the chance to get this picture of San Agustin Church during one of the visit at Wow Philippines Intramuros.
San Agustin Church which is located inside the walled city in Intramuros is considered as the oldest stone church in the Philippines
- Historical Travel
3. Public Restrooms (Comfort Room)
In a public restroom check to see that there is toilet paper before you commit yourself! If you are travelling in rural areas, there may not be Western-style toilets. The customary method is using a can of water instead of toilet paper. If you are squeamish or unskilled, make a mental note to use the facilities before you leave your hotel or other urban location.
Balut - wanna feel biting their organs?
Balut - an unusual Filipino delicacy that needs a simple courage in order to appreciate the mystery behind its taste!!!
It is a half-boiled, fertilised duck egg. You can feel those crunchy tiny feet, beak, feathers and claws in your mouth but don' forget to put few drops of salt to make it tastier.
Huh, but why Filipino loves to eat "balut"???
Rich in energy as they say...but it also increases your sexual desire!!! True or not...eating "balut" will always be a part of our Filipino delicacy that can be bought during night times.
How about YOU??? Wanna try this "embryo" to satisfy your lonely nights??? Or to increase your strength in love-making? Or even to satisfy your curiosity about this irresistible taste? Try and have some fun biting those undeveloped tiny creature!!!
- Budget Travel
- Arts and Culture
A Cross in the Corner
Being a predominantly Catholic country, even Chinese settlers have to adapt to the Philippines local customs. Through their ingenuity, the Chinese were able to reconcile their religion with Catholicism. Hence, it's not surprising to see small altars along the road where people offer flowers, light candles, and pray.
- Religious Travel
The Importance of Catholicism
The Filipinos of Manila take their Catholicism seriously -- more seriously than I ever did growing up in Connecticut! On the feast day honoring Jesus' presentation at the temple (something we never even noted in Catholic School), there was a 2-mile long street-clogging procession filled with floats and bands and banner-carriers. All of Roxas Boulevard -- the main north-south artery along Manila Bay -- was closed from the Convention Center to the Luneta, lined with gawkers and revelers of all types. We had to stop and watch.
The strength of the Catholic Church manifests itself in other ways, too. The Philippines is one of the few countries in which divorce is illegal. The Chuirch has a strong influence over the government, as shown by Jaime Cardinal Sin's role in toppling the Marcos regime. One of the main gripes thatthe Muslims in the south have is the power of the CAtholic Church over central government decisions that get promulgated (though often ignored) nationwide.
- Religious Travel
5. Drinking water: health and custom
While tap water in Manila is generally potable, it is advisable to use bottled water. For Filipinos water comes at the end of the meal and signals that the individual has finished eating. This may cause some confusion for foreigners accustomed to drinking water during the meal. It is usual to drink other beverages (beer, juice, tea) and ask for water at the end.
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