"Manila- The craziest city on earth! Exciting!" City of Manila by matt10gonzalez
City of Manila Travel Guide: 3,078 reviews and 8,735 photos
Manila is crazy. No doubt about it. It's like a bargain: Where in the world can you find a city that has crazy traffic jams, a crazy weather, and finally, some of the craziest and most charming people on earth? Manila!
MOM: (A local who lived there for almost all her life:) "It gotta be one of the craziest cities I've still seen."
So what makes Manila crazy? Let's find out!
Virtually all major cities around the world have traffic jams.
But Manila has crazy traffic jams- though not as crazy as Cairo's or Calcutta's. With a population of 12 million plus people, it's no surprise that the city's streets can be super congested especially during rush hours. 5 kilometers can take 1 hour+. But what makes it even more crazy is the Filipino driving style. It can pull all your hairs out!
When you drive in the Philippines, take note that the word 'Rules' here is almost absent. Most drivers here are impatient (Including my dad), So:
-Cars just cut you when they feel like.
-A two lane road here can suddenly become a three lane road! (How in the world?!)
-The fast lane here sometimes becomes the slow lane and vice versa!
-Some of the Jeepneys brake lights are broken! And they can just suddenly stop without you knowing it!
-Warning in Manila where there's highways and exits: In the rush hours, sometimes some people will try to crowd all at the SAME time in the SAME exit! The result is amazing: A traffic jam. Don't always expect people will line up orderly for an exit!
-Finally are the stoplights. Here's what they mean: (Thanks to Ryanmervsferrer for telling me this!)
GREEN- Move it!
YELLW- Hurry up!
RED- Go! GO! GO!!!
Take note: That this doesn't apply only in Manila but in the entire Philippines.
In short, this may sound cliched already but it's still really the best way to put it: The happy go lucky Filipino suddenly turns into one of Satan's employers the moment he or she (The girls can drive just as bad) enters the car. Although there are always exceptions! Take my mom for example.
MOM: (Who follows the rules) Sometimes I feel like shooting all their tires. They should follow the rules when they drive here!
Philippine driving can be intimidating at first if you're used to following the rules. But you know what? Once you get used to it, Philippine driving can be fun! It can be an adventure! After all, even though Manila has a wonderful MRT and a lot of jeepneys, you still kind of need a car there. It's like Los Angeles: Many parts like the Fort, Quezon, Marikina, the beautiful outskirts and so on are best assesible by car. That's why many Filipinos dream of getting a car one day- it can be really useful.
Like many parts around the Philippines, Manila's weather is crazy. An awful, hot day can suddenly turn into a violent storm in just 5 minutes! A day can go like this:
Morning- Awfully hot
Noon- Getting Cloudy
Early Afternoon- Thunderstorms
Afternoon- Awfully hot again!
Late Afternoon- Thunderstorms
In short, although it may seem like a clear, hot day at first, it's very wise to bring an umbrella or a rain coat because you'll never know!
Take note too: That Manila's roads, like Cebu or Bacolod, floods up really quick. Even with just little rain, a road can seem like a flood in split seconds! If you're a pedestrian and you need to cross the road, the only solution may be that you'll have to jump across. Like a frog! I saw a Korean lady in this situation one time and I swear, she sure didn't look so happy!
THE TYPHOONS (Hurricanes)
As for the typhoons, Manila seems to be more on the typhoon belt rather than the earthquake belt: Many typhoons hit Manila in a year. When a typhoon hits, there's good news and bad news. Sometimes the good news is, there's no school and work. (There are times there's school and work when there's a typhoon and none when it's gone!) The bad news is, it's a nightmare: Trees fall down, properties get destroyed, some houses get swept away, blackouts occur everywhere, the water becomes dirty, floods clog up many parts of the city, people get hurt and some die, it's a nightmare. Most people are sad or annoyed, yet, despite all of these, you will still see some kids dancing in the rain, some people canoeing the floods with their wooden boats, (like Venice!) and some naughty kids rejoicing that school's been cancelled. Once again, the bahala na attitude of many Filipinos, their attitude to disasters is amazing: They still know how to have fun.
THE BEST PART ABOUT MANILA
The everyday traffic, heat, weather, pollution of Manila can drain even a local out. But it's the fun- the vibe, the liveliness and the energy of Manila that resurrects that local!
All Philippine cities are fun, but Manila is probably the most exciting of them all. Perhaps even more exciting than Kuala Lumpur and Singapore at times! It offers a lot of entertaiment: Clubs, cafes, golf clubs, horse back, bars, red light, casinos, malls, shopping and so many more. Manila people are hard working; Time is money for them. So they work hard and play really hard! (But of course, not all! Take note!)
Simply put it:
Manila is a city not to shy away. It's a city to chit-chat, enjoy and have fun!
MOM: But you'll really enjoy Manila. I had lots of fun when I was living there. I was always at the clubs! Life there is hard, but it's really fun. Just as long as you have money!
And finally there are the locals. What makes Manila more exciting sometimes than Kuala Lumpur or Singapore are its locals. They are some of the friendliest and craziest, fun loving people on earth that make Manila truly a fun and exciting place despite the traffic, heat and pollution! Manila people, like any Filipinos elsewhere in the Philippines and the world are fun, loud, and noisy. Even in a classy 5 star restaurant! (But there are always exceptions!) This can be a little culture shock (Or a blessing) if you're used to a place where it's more quiet, peaceful, and reserved.
Nevertheless, they can be really charming and since almost everybody can speak in English or Taglish (Tagalog mixed with English) in Manila, it won't be hard to make a friend. (Of course this all depends on your personality, and the person you met!) When you make friends with a Filipino, it's likely to be genuine: If they really like you, (Or hate you) they will likely remember you for a lifetime. They will even help, talk about your personal problems, marital problems, (If you're open about it!) and may share theirs too! Being open-minded is the key.
Take my first VT Manila meeting for example.
When I first met the VTers in May 1, 2008, Wow! They were really fun and exciting!
Aida (Asianbelle), Monina (Monina), Jane (Kisses&Co), Barbie (Barbskie), Ryan (Ryanmervsferrer) were really fun, jolly and exciting!
We just met them (And some of them just met each other that time too!) and you know what the topics they already talk about?
Mom looking more beautiful in real life than the net, marriage plans, Ryan's graduation, their work, their lives, poo-poo (I opened the topic!), them not being murderers or pedophiles, (Because mom thought people on the net are murderers) and so on! It was a blast!
Even Nasser, a Pakistinian and the only foreigner there noticed how happy the Filipinos are and how late they are!
Manila, it's a crazy city: Its traffic can pull your hairs off, its weather and pollution can make you sick. However, it compensates because of its jolly, outgiong and happy go lucky people. (Though not all, take note!) Many Filipinos in Manila and in the Visayas told me that they would rather live in the province where it's more peaceful, laid back and green. But they also told me that Manila is very exciting. (As long as you have the money!) It's a love and hate relationship.
Manila, okay, so it may not win a beauty award, but it may win a fun award! Make a lot of friends here and go exploring with them! Ride the MRT, the jeepneys, go adventure in Chinatown, watch the beautiful sunsets of the Manila Bay, party with them and so on! You'll soon find the beauty of Manila not only in the beautiful airconed malls or the legendary sunsets, but that it's fun. It's a city that will quickly grow on you as long as you don't shy away from it.
MOM: You should try staying there for a while when you're young. It's really exciting! But now that I'm old already, I rather live in the province where it's more peaceful and laid-back. But if you're young, you should try life there!
DAD: Manila, wow! They have the best girls there! That's where your mom comes from!
COUSIN ANNA: That's where all the hot guys are!
MICHAEL: I always get excited when we land in Manila! I don't know why some don't. Maybe it's because we come from the province!
Most memorable experiences:
-When there was a typhoon and we still flew! (Cebu Pacific, Manila to Bacolod.) It was so cool! The turbulence was awesome!
The water in the glass would fly straight into the air! (No joke, that's how rough the flight was!) And boy, you should have seen the looks of my entire family- they kept on praying the rosary all over and over and to make things worse- I had high fever in this flight!
-Getting sick, sick, fever, fever, high fever, high fever when I was still young! Right here in Manila! (Because of the pollution maybe?) Oh..that was a nightmare! I sure tortured my mother!
-Halloween here in Alabang! Oh, that was the best halloween I've been to! People were giving lots and lots of Crunch, Hersheys, imported chocolates (Yum!) and amazingly, I didn't get any cavites at all!
-Everytime I land in Manila coming from Bacolod! It's so exciting! I always scream and scream in the plane and take dozens (Usually blurred) pictures of the city! After staying days in a peaceful (Hence boring) place, it's so refreshing to breathe the smog!
-When I arrived Manila from Kuala Lumpur at 5 in the morning- it was so dramatic! The sunrise was perfect pink, then I saw a house burning from the skies and the city lights were sparkling. Very dramatic, it sheds tears in my eyes!
-My friends here in Manila- what's nice about Manila is that even though the city is not so great but the people, even though many are poor, are sweet, warm and they have dignity: (They don't ask for tips, bakheesh, they have pride) So it's lots and lots of fun here in Manila! Which is why it's one of my favorite cities in the world!
- Pros:It's lots of fun especially if you have friends here! Don't shy away from it!
- Cons:Try to learn to love the typhoons, the floods, the pollution, traffic and crime and the bureaucracy (the hardest to love! Easier said than done!)
- In a nutshell:One of the craziest cities on earth! Exciting!
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