Letters from Manila

Two weeks have passed already since I arrived in Manila, one more to go. I think this has been the hottest November in my life, around 30 degrees everyday, 90%+ humidity, short sleeve all the time.

Food as always the great danger, trying to stay healthy is a bit of a problem with so much good food around. And of course we did Spanish food 6 or 7 times, yes it’s not the same as in Spain but it’s close enough, specially after months away.

The language is getting easier, Tagalog has no mystery for me now 😉 I know all the bad words and some of the good ones, so I’m pretty covered. The fact that most foreigners don’t even try makes them be very impressed with just few words. Philip and Brett are trying to catch up, but I think I still know better my way around.

Philip had the stupid idea of renting a car and driving around one day, really really stupid, no only the idea of driving in Manila but just thinking of him driving. So he was trying to switch lanes and couldn’t and a policeman pulls us over, "reckless" driving he said, 5000 pesos / 120USD and takes his driver license. After some arguing and pointing out the fact that we are not Americans, helped by the usage of some Tagalog words to make the cop laugh, it got reduced to 500 pesos bribe, that’s what I call the "puti" tax (puti = white), Philip drives like a old woman compared to the other people here.

It’s still amazing how much fun they have around here with foreigners, people staring at you and laughing, saying things in Tagalog, like "he’s white" and laughing thinking that you don’t understand, a boy saying "he has a pointy nose, he’s so white!", even I got a marriage proposal. Sometimes you feel like you are being stalked, but in general is pretty funny, you get a lot of stories to write in the blog.

And after the alerts for the Typhoon, nothing happened other than strong winds, until just now when we were hit by an earthquake, 6.0, that while being in the 27th floor makes it a bit scary, the building was swaying for a while.

Ortigas, Manila Panorama

Manila panorama from Ortigas business district

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