Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Manila in the Eyes of a Davaoeño

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“Horrendous traffic. Very dirty. Crowded. Stressful way of life."

These are some words that my friends use to describe Manila. Some of them discourage me of visiting Manila; they keep on insisting that I should visit Baguio, Batangas or Laguna instead. But I always have this urge to travel and explore Manila. Behind the towering skyscrapers of Makati Central Business District, and the heavily polluted waterways and highways lies the soul of Manila, curled up in her own bed, crying. One misunderstood soul.

Armed with only Php 1,500, I flew to Manila in search of her soul while braving its chaos.

As a Davaoeño, I am already used with peace and order. Streets are wide and traffic is bearable, lots of available spaces and of course, a laidback lifestyle. Manila is the exact opposite hence it is beyond my comfort zone. But I was determined to explore Manila because I am adventurous and a risk taker (He-he-he).

It was a good thing that my flight to Manila was not delayed. Because we were on a tight budget, Shane and I took the shuttle bus and dropped us near the LRT 1 EDSA Station. It was a Saturday thus the train was not that crowded. We stopped by at the United Nations station and walked a few hundred meters before reaching Luneta.

Luneta is big and I was relieved upon seeing those big trees lining the main entrance of the park. I also had the chance to tour the famous walled city of Intramuros. Seeing those guards wearing their old-fashioned uniform reminded me of my Sibika at Kultura (Civics and Culture) lessons back in grade school. I thought of its grandeur and the dark secrets of its past. Too bad I did not venture to the interior of the walled city; it was raining hard that time.

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We stayed in a budget hotel (Friendly Guest House) located at Adriatico St., Malate, Manila. There are a lot of different accommodation options in Manila but we chose the dorm-type air-conditioned room for only Php 375, considering our budget. Shane and I were the only Filipinos inside the room. There were two Koreans, both teachers in Seoul and an American named Travis. They were here too to experience Manila like us.

Together with Shane and Tin, I continued my journey to the busy streets of Manila. The streets were filled with cars, trucks, buses and people. Because we got hungry, we settled on eating kwek-kwek, calamares, squid/fish ball and deep-fried isaw along the sidewalk near Universidad de Manila. I didn’t mind the sweat dripping from the forehead of the vendors nor the particulates coming from the emissions of the vehicles – all I ever cared was how it answered my gastronomic need during that time. At a minimum amount, I was already full.

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From a syano’s viewpoint, I can say that Manila is a promising city. It used to be the model city of Southeast Asia from 50s to 70s. Despite the radical changes that occurred on this metropolis, people living here have already adapted to its ultra-fast lifestyle. People are already used with the limited spaces of the city. I surmise Manileños still love their beloved city despite the image portrayed by international media.

I really can’t compare Davao and Manila. It’s like comparing McDonalds and Jollibee! Both are fast-food chains and offer almost the same menu (of course with different names). Like the two fast-food chains, Davao has its own share of stories, as well as Manila. There are a number of reasons why Manileños love Davao and there are also few things why we Davaoeños love Manila.

If you take a closer look, Manila is still beautiful. Never mind the horrendous traffic, crowded places and stressful way of life – people are used to it, and I enjoyed the experience of commuting through the busy streets of Manila and mingling with the locals.

Manila is beyond my comfort zone but I’d still go back to this place and relive the experience. And oh, I’ll still continue searching the lost soul of Manila. Maybe she has more clues for me.

And the best thing that happened during my overnight trip in Manila? I survived with only Php 1,500 in my pocket. Terminal fees included.


This is my entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for the month of August 2011 on the theme “Manila In Focus” hosted by Angel Juarez of Lakwatsero. 
Link to the previous Pinoy Travel Bloggers' Blog Carnival (July 2011) hosted by Estan Cabigas of Langyaw.

61 comments:

  1. thanks for visiting Manila! hope to visit us again!

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  2. Yey! congrats Renz.

    It was nice meeting you din.

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  3. @Don Trivino - Hello! I've been to Manila several times na but this particular trip was memorable kasi I braved the streets of Manila on my own. I just rely sa mga instructions ng mga tao. It was a great experience too. And oh, don't worry, will definitely go back to Manila. ;-)

    @Darwin - thank you!!! Nice to meet you din! Really enjoyed the Bagets Night Out!

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  4. glad to have finally seen you in person after 4 years! hehehehe..... im happy to know you enjoyed your stay here... ang galing nyo pumuslit sa LRT ha... di kayo nahuli magpiture hehehe.... till next time renz.... and hopefully its me discovering davao! yey! hehehe

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  5. hi Kuya Ian! I thought suplado ka in person, palibasa napaka serious mong tingnan sa mga primary photos mo. Hahaha!

    Oh? Bawal palang mag picture sa LRT? :)) Anyway, yeah! Hopefully we'll meet soon! Sana sumama ka for Kadayawan next week :)

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  6. glad you enjoyed your stay in Manila. I hope nxt time I get to meet you na din. :)

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  7. Hi Gael! Of course I enjoyed my overnight stay in MNL, especially nung bonding moments with the Bagets. Diba pupunta ka sana sa night-out? :D Hehehe sana nga, I hope to see you too soon! :D

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  8. whoa! I know that place. We stayed there before (just last March)-Friendly Guest House =))

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  9. sorry, that was last April pala. hehe

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  10. Hi Mai Yang! did you know na dati, they're not accepting Pinoy backpackers, strictly for foreigners lang talaga, pero ngayon, due to demand na rin, they allow Pinoy backpackers na to spend a night sa Friendly Guest House ;)

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  13. mice photos and write up! "you already!"

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  14. Mai Yang - Haba ng hair mo teh! Hahaha, pero likewise, enjoy naman maghalubilo sa mga foreigners eh. :) Regarding that French dude, matanda na ba siya o hindi pa? :))

    Jerome!!! Ako na talaga! HAHAHA. Kitakits this 19!!!

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  15. hihintayin namin ang pagbabalik mo. and you are always welcome here :)

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  17. haha! anu ba yan, dami ko na nakwento..pasensia na =))

    ^____^

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  18. @Adventurous feet - Thank you! :D

    @Mai Yang - That's okay. Everyone of us has its own share of travel story. Yours is hilarious. ;-)

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  19. Hi Renz. Next time you visit Manila be sure to go inside Intramuros. I was able to tour the Walled City when I was still working in Quezon City. It sure was an educational experience. Would you believe that it was Mama Lo's playground when she was still a "batang kalye" together with her cousins?

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  20. Waaaw sayang talaga I didn't tour the Walled City 'coz it was raining :(

    Hahaha really playground yan ni Mother Aloha? Waw lakwatsera pala siya dati :))

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  21. Galing ng lakwatsa, tipid na ang dami mo pang napuntahan :)

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  22. Claire! Todo tipid talaga tong trip na to. Kung kakain ako, either street food or yung budget meal ng 7-Eleven :))

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  23. Tipid! Kewl! I hope to meet fellow PTB soon :) mukhang ansaya nung trip nio :)

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  24. sorry! n.removed ko nalang yon comments ko kc nagguilty ako na eshare yon =))
    I hope you don't mind..hinanap pa kita sa fb, d ko kc maalala to'ng link mo eh..pasensia na tlaga =))

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  25. Renevic - Super tipid talaga and yes, Tagumpay ako sa mission ko. Lol. Masayang kasama ang mga Bagets. You're in KL diba? :)

    Mai Yang - No problem dear. ;-)

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  26. very good composition :) i really like it. and now i know that despite the situations here in the capital, you from way down south of the country still appreciated the city :) i would like top visit Davao one day, like what you did, just the opposite. :D and i never thought 1,500 would get you so far. bravo! :)

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  27. I really enjoyed your post! I work with a lot of folks from other parts of the Philippines and I've experienced the inevitable comparison of their hometown to Manila. I grew up here, but my roots extend far beyond it, so in my own way, I can't help but do my own comparison. I love-yet-hate Manila... or should I say, I hate how it's often being abused. It's a beautiful city, but yes, so misunderstood.

    It's also nice to see places to stay in that aren't posh hotels that cost more a night than your budget. You've given me, a born and bred Manileña, a fresh perspective. Thank you.

    I hope to visit Davao soon. I have family there, and they're always saying it's beautiful. I want to see it for myself. Cheers!

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  28. @Ian Cruz - Hello! Yeah, Actually dapat nga may extrang Php 500 pa ako but our flight back to Davao was a bit delayed and I had no choice but to eat dinner at NAIA 3. So expensive! :( Thank you for reading my post.

    @Kat - My exact sentiments! I always believe that Manila can't be like Davao or Davao will be like Manila in the future. It's like, both cities didn't have a same story. They're independent with each other.

    I do hope you visit Davao soon! Thank you for reading my blog post! :D

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  29. Wow! I love this post. It's full of heart! :) I'm a new follower! :)

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  30. Dahpne and Angela, thank you very much! ;)

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  31. wow! your blog actually made me want to do those stuff that you and your friends did - stay in a ultra-cheap place and discover (in my case, rediscover) Manila :)

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  32. Wow. I admire your writing :)

    And thank you for such a very pretty cover of Manila miski overnight ka lang dito :) And! I was surprised madami dami pa din pala akong hindi napupuntahan miski andito lang ako sa Manila. Meron palang Orchidarium?? Haha

    It was really nice meeting you, Renz :) See yoo soon!

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  33. Gelamerce - There are lots of places in Manila na worth-it bisitahin. :)

    Cai - Hehe. Actually, I'm planning to make another Manila post soon, pero puro adventures ko naman sa North (Quezon City, Ortigas, Mandaluyong). Hahaha.

    And oh, ang cute ng website mo!!! :D

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  34. Hey! You stayed in Friendly's?! I stayed there for 10 days last year and thought it was a good hostel and the atmosphere was really great. Seeing you arrived in Manila on a Saturday did you get to join the free wine & cheese? Anyway, having lived in Laguna almost all my life, Manila has its own beauty and quirk. And the Malate area is so well-connected to a lot of places, as well. There are still a lot of improvements that needs to be done in the city, though. The culture and the energy you get from Manila is one of a kind although the roads and some infrastructures still needs to be developed. Also, enjoyed your article very much!

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  35. Whoa, congratulations that you survived the chaotic Manila. But by missing out Intramuros, you missed the better part of the city. If it happens that you return in MNL, be sure to explore the walled city.

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  36. This is how we should tell other countries about our country!

    Nice story you have here. I'm from Davao too but living here in Manila for almost 20yrs na =D

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  37. @Giselle Santos - Yep, I stayed at Friendly's. They were all accommodating. I didn't had the chance to avail their free wine and cheese though. Thanks you for reading my post! :D

    @Nicky - Hopefully it won't rain the next time I visit Intramuros. ;-)

    @Chi Busque - Wow, you're from Davao? Nice to hear that!

    @Anonymous - LOL No.

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  38. aww youre in pedro gil. i shouldve treated you for coffee sa rob place :)

    i love how you stood up for manila. ive lived here since forever and it breaks my heart when a filipino describes it like its the worst city in the world. kahit ito pa lang naman napupuntahan nila. - Yehboi

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  39. Every city in the Philippines is unique and is beautiful on its way. ;-)

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  40. i was also trying to create an entry similar to this in Cebu. i wanted to compare Davao and Cebu.

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  41. Kulang ang 1 day to roam Manila.:p Ganda ng mga kuha mo pre!:)

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  42. pang-blog carnival 'to.. sali ka na!

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  43. Nice blog you got here. Just subscribed. What I love about Manila is that it is chaotic. I love it when I walk along crowded streets, bumping people here and there. Might even try to do some sight-seeing just like what you did.

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  44. Glenn - go go go! Try it! Masaya 'to! :D

    Killrfillr - I know. :( But I tried my best to maximize my overnight stay in Manila. ;)

    Ivan! Ito na yung entry ko for the blog carnival.

    Will - Thanks for subscribing! I know, that's what I like about Manila. The crowd.

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  45. Aww, it's refreshing to see Manila from another person's point of view! I have been practically living in Manila all my life, your blog has been a great reminder of how lovely the city is despite all its chaotic drama. Definitely not something to take for granted. :) Who knows I might also drop by Davao someday! When you decide to come back here and you need a guide, feel free to let me know. Keep it up!

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  46. Hello Blessy! :) Sure, gonna contact you if ever I'll go back to Manila. :D thanks!

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  47. Ahahaha.. Nice post. I like the way you told the story.
    So..You are a risk taker huh? Well that's good. I admire your passion to see Manila. Kasi most people would have negative conotations agad when they hear it.
    I am glad that you survived. Congrats and have more journeys to come. Kami naman ang dalhin mo sa Davao.. :)

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  48. what font did you use for the Manila Philippines? :)

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  49. Very nice, Renz. Now, you know why I chose to stay here. He! He! He!

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  50. Iamzennia - Yeah, even my parents who always visit Manila dislike it. Dirty, horrendous traffic and a whole lot more. But I guess one shouldn't brush off its negativity because one will discover Manila's realy beauty.

    Anonymous - Lobster :D

    Tito Ariel! Hahaha! Yeah, Now I know! :)

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  51. A couple of months in Makati, I was homesick. But after adjusting to the environment, language and pace I stayed for almost 3 years. I can now easily switch to province mode to city mode every now and then. Driving also has been relatively easy now if you get to experience driving through Manila traffic. Great blog here btw.

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  52. amazing! i never thought you can survive Manila with just 1500! well written, as usual! :)

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  53. Thanks to the travel bloggers out of Manila like you, I'm beginning to realize that maybe the city I was born and raised from is really an astonishing place. I'm actually taking Manila for granted. I always choose to go out of the city whenever possible. Maybe I should take a good look and see its real beauty and not only the chaotic atmosphere. oh well. nice post.. you really have a unique way of telling your stories. keep it up.

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  54. nice. very similar experience when i first visited manila. from that time on, unlike most of the syanos (first time to encounter this term - astig to), i felt like it was cool to stay and work here. thus ending up finding a job here.

    we're looking forward to your return. as it said sagot ko na yung binondo at sagot na ni ivan ang tour mo sa intramuros (revisit).

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  55. Maraming salamat, Tatay Dong!!! :D Will let you know kung kelan ako pupunta diyan ulit. :D

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  56. I wonder (based on your comparison - McDo and Jollibee) which is which? Hehe.

    Glad you enjoyed Manila. ;p

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